Tag Archives: watercolor

Bikes Inspired by Michael Valenti

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Michael Valenti has been creating images and advertising campaigns as an Art Director, Designer and Illustrator for more than thirty years.

Michael Valenti works for Fortune 500 companies as well as small wineries in Michigan, creating advertising and design solutions for clients like Allstate, McDonald’s, Eli Lilly, Hallmark, Disney, Morgan Stanley, Pillsbury, Kraft, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble.  Valenti has also worked with smaller clients, including Timberland, Carnival Cruise Lines and the Round Barn Winery.

This summer, Michael Valenti plans to follow the Tour de France and draw each day. He will post daily on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Students did a great job drawing their bikes and creating the landscape background. It’s time to go out for a bike ride…

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Turner Inspired Sunsets

“Light is therefore colour.”

– J.M.W. Turner 

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Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in England on April 23, 1775.  His family lived above his father’s barber shop and young Joseph began to sketch pictures at a young age. By the time he was 13, some of his drawings were sold from his father’s shop. At the age of 15 he became a student at the Royal Academy of Art in London. He continued to sketch and work with watercolours. While he mostly sketched buildings and architecture, he  started to draw some pictures of the sea.

Turner painted his first oil painting in 1796. It was called Fishermen at Sea. Critics loved the painting and Turner gained a national reputation as a talented artist. He was known for being solitary, silent and totally devoted to drawing with a reputation for eccentricity.

In 1807, Turner accepted a position as professor at the Royal Academy, where he lectured until 1828. He grew increasingly eccentric and secretive, avoiding contact with virtually everyone except for his father who lived with him for 30 years.  Turner continued to hold exhibitions but begrudgingly sold his paintings. And later in life became so fond of his paintings he called them “family” and refused to sell them.  In his will, Turner asked for all his paintings to be displayed in a public gallery – as they are today- at the Tate Exhibition.

Known as the “Painter of Light,” he was fascinated by the power of nature, especially the ocean and the sun. In the painting Snow Storm which critics called “soap-suds and whitewash,” Turner claimed to a friend that he had actually been tied to the mast of a ship in order to experience the drama of a storm at sea firsthand.

Students used many different techniques to create their Turner inspired sunsets. They painted watercolours wet into wet and used tissues to blend the colours. The sea had an under painting of watercolours and was finished off with layered acrylic paint.

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Spring Landscape – Inspired by Edward Hopper

“If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.  

Edward Hopper



Edward Hopper was born in 1882 in Upper Nyack, New York and was encouraged from an early age to pursue his love of art. Throughout his career he became famous for his iconic imagery and austere style. His most famous piece, “Nighthawks” shows four patrons in a café and came to epitomise the feelings of Americans in the Second World War. He became known as a ‘pictorial poet’ who recorded the starkness and vastness of America. He painted hotels, motels, trains and public places where people gathered. His paintings stress the theme of loneliness.

We used many techniques to paint these landscapes. The fluffy white clouds were created by pulling the blue watercolour off of the paper with a tissue and letting the white of the paper shine through. I love the the colours and perspective that the students created.

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Fall Silhouettes

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Our focus for this class was on silhouettes. We learned that a silhouette is the image of a person, animal, object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject.

I love how the sunset background for our fall landscapes turned out. Students learned how to create an even watercolor wash for their sunsets and practised their tree painting skills with a variety of brushes. Lastly we added fall foliage to the piece with a fan brush.


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Albrecht Durer – Rainy Day Flowers

   “What beauty is, I know not, though it adheres to many things.”

-Albrecht Durer

Albrecht Durer was born on May 21st 1471, in Nuremberg, Germany.  He was one of the first artists to become famous throughout Europe in his own lifetime.

He was a painter, designer, draughtsman, goldsmith, musician and a writer.  He also studied anatomy, mathematics, proportions, perspective and he completed a manual of geometry. His vast body of work also includes altarpieces and religious works, numerous portraits and self-portraits and copper engravings.  He engraved metal plates which were then inked and pressed onto paper to make many black and white prints which sold well throughout Europe.

We were inspired by his watercolour botanicals and created a rainy background to showcase our spring tulips.


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* This project was inspired by  a wax resist painting on A Faithful Attempt*

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The Great Wave of Hokusai

“I have been in love with painting ever since I became conscious of it at the age of six.”

Katsushika Hokusai

Today we were very busy creating our own renditions of the famous woodblock print, The Great Wave, by Hokusai.  Salt and watercolours were used for the background and then the students carved their very own waves and printed them over the background. Take a look:

You can almost feel the salt spray on your face as the waves crash down.

We had a great time…

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