Summer fun: Art workshops in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains

Are you still looking for an exciting art-centered summer getaway?

Ringling College of Art and Design is offering a series of continuing education courses and workshops this summer at their Wildacres facility in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

Summer session A runs July 14–20. Summer Session B is set for July 21–27, while Fall Session C is scheduled October 21–27.

Painting En Plein Air with Brook Olivares-Caloiaro and Transparent Watercolor with Dwight Rose are 2 enticing offerings in the early session. The second session includes Artist’s Sketchbook Journal with Don Brandes, to help sharpen your skills at translating sketchbook recordings to studio-finished work. Peter Brown’s Observational Painting workshop offers a chance to work in a contemporary realist manner.

The intriguingly titled Powercolor Painting workshop with Caroline Jasper introduces the concept of the dual-hue palette. Michael White’s Dramatic Art of Drawing in Color is another option from the autumn schedule.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Headlines and deadlines

A tiny white wildflower on a rocky hiking trail.

Spring is here! The first wildflower of 2013, spotted on the trail while walking with Nevis.

Some fun and interesting news you can use:

My friend Artl8dy has begun offering workshops in mixed media and art journaling. Contact Sharon Hendry Designs through Facebook, or @artl8dy on Twitter for more details.

Val Webb of the Illustrated Garden has a new schedule of classes, both online and real world. The most exciting workshop is Botanical Drawing: Splinter Hill Bog and Beyond, held April 25-27 at the Mobile Botanical Gardens in Mobile, Alabama. This is a great opportunity to see exotic pitcher plants, orchids and other unusual wildflowers in their native habitat while improving your observational drawing skills. Bill Finch, noted conservationist and executive director of the Botanical Gardens, will lead the tour and instruct participants in botany.

Daniel Atha, of the New York Botanical Gardens, has an interesting blog post about herbaria in today’s botany.

The anatomy of sight: An interesting article on tetrachromats, people with four types of cone cells in their eyes. These individuals can often see many more separate hues of color than those of us average folks with only three cone cells.

The New Indian Express reports that at least 168 plants are threatened with extinction in the Eastern Ghat Mountains of the Indian state of Andra Pradesh. Deforestation and mining are destroying the forest habitat of these plants, many of which are used in traditional Indian medicines.

Maria Coryell-Martin is an expeditionary artist specializing in polar regions. She and scientist Kristin Laidre are currently documenting the Arctic narwhals.


Color theory: The white to black of yellow, part 1

The start of an occasional series about practical color theory for the (watercolor) artist.

Yellow is a difficult family of colors to work with in the studio. No other color is so easy to contaminate as yellow. Just the tiniest grain of another pigment will turn a creamy butter yellow to a rotten egg green or muddy tan.

Rendering shadows and dimensionality is another challenge. Just what color should you use to paint the shadow of a yellow object? The unthinking choice of black will turn the shadows an olive lime green. Color theory states that the complement of a color should be used to mix the shadow tones, but mixing yellow with its opposite, violet, results in a muddy brown.

Yellow hues found in fruit, © 2011, Wren M. Allen

Your eye sees yellow fruits, but the eyedropper tool reveals many different hues.

This photo of some yellow fruits shows some of the range of hues in both the shadows and the specular highlights. I used the eyedropper in Photoshop to pick out the different tones. Notice how the green color of the unripe fruit is still apparent in the ripe specimens.

Some yellow hues found in eggs, © 2011 Wren M. Allen

From greenish ochre to orange tan, an egg is more than just yellow.

Eggs, butter and cheese are more examples of objects that we think of as yellow, but which contain many other hues within the main color. As measured by Photoshop’s eyedrop tool, the objects below fit our preconceptions of the shades found in the yellow color family.

Eggs, Butter and Cheese: A color chart © 2011, Wren M. Allen

Do the colors of these dairy products really match our idea of what is yellow?

Some shades of brown are deep, desaturated shades of yellow. Other browns are actually in the red family.

Always observe the colors in your subject matter. The actual shade is not always what your intellect tells you it ought to be.

Next: A look at some yellow watercolor pigments and their value ranges.

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