Free Art Lessons
Susan Harrison-Tustain has been published in numerous national and international magazines, online publications and books.
She has written the selection of articles below to help fellow artists on their journey. You will also find great inspiration, advice and more articles in the SusanArt Forum. Have fun!
When painting folds in anything you need to observe your subject and break it down to what you are actuallyseeing. As the fabric weaves in and out, different light affects what we see.
Did you know that no matter which medium you use, a large percentage of the success of the work, is determined before you put “paint to paper”? Surprised? It’s true. I’ll tell you why and how you too can create even more captivation artwork:
Two key elements in the success of a piece are planning and observation. Let’s deal with planning first
Okay – so we want a painting that is more than just a ‘pretty picture’ – a wall decoration – right? How do we do this?
Well, it begins with thought. There are two essential ingredients to this recipe
Below you will find instructions on how I love to stretch my watercolor paper. It is interspersed with many hints and tips to ensure you don’t come unstuck by the ‘traps for young players’. I never have a problem stretching paper – so if you do experience something – then it will be something simple. The most common of these is using the wrong board to stretch the paper on. Or using the wrong tape
The age-old question – which is best and why? It is a little like “the chicken or the egg scenario”. It isn’t a black and white answer. It depends on the individual. Let’s discuss the benefits of each
I love to share what I have discovered on my painting journey. My painting style can best be described as naturalistic realism. Many of my paintings include people in a pensive or thought provoking pose. Part of the feeling of reality is due to the way I use my watercolor. I am able to create paintings where the viewer of the painting can become lost inside the world within the frame
As a watercolour artist, it’s important to recognize that all colors have a bias towards either ‘cool’ or ‘warm’ – as this will have a great influence on the process of mixing colors and ultimately on your final painting. On a broad level, we can say blue is cool and red and yellow are warm – but within each of those groups there is also a spectrum from cool to warm. Alizarin crimson, for example, is considered cool and cadmium red is warm in the way that they relate to each other within the red group of colors
I developed my Priming Method over a period of many years, and I now teach this watercolor technique to all of my students. It is a simple but very effective 3 step process: The first step is to apply water to the region you wish to paint and then allow the moisture to be absorbed into the paper .
My Priming Method gives a magical transparent glow to my watercolors. It allows soft gradations of color which help to describe the form of my subject in such a way that it feels as if the subject has a true substance. Things you need to know about this watercolor painting technique: Your pigments must be transparent or semi transparent
When learning to paint flowers in watercolor, initially choose a flower with very few petals or even choose a bud that shows a predominant large piece of petal – as opposed to a flower with numerous petals. Multiple petals can be overwhelming and feel like a maze to paint … more
I happened across a wonderful window as I wandered the cobbled streets of one of my favorite ancient Provencal villages: Saint Paul de Vence. The decaying shutters and time-worn paint on the windows spoke to me of the rustic character so very evident in this evocative part of the world. The amusing thing was that there, in front of the window, was a rubbish sack – which I hastily moved along the path
My style of painting is all about feeling – emotion. It’s about capturing that magical moment in time when the truth and sheer beauty of nature makes you catch your breath. You know the one – I think as artists, we have all experienced it
What is it about a painting that inspires you to take up your brush, or urges you to seek out watercolor lessons? Do you feel a rush of excitement when you open the latest issue of your favorite artist’ magazine? Does a shaft of light falling across a still-life fire your imagination?
How do we capture the intangible: a fleeting expression, a character that is revealed in the sparkle of an eye or an emotion that can fill a room with atmosphere? These are not things that you can touch so how can an artist paint such things? How can we achieve a richness and depth of emotion and feeling in our paintings?
I am often asked about underpainting. I am a big proponent of underlayering with yellow. Since writing my book (1997-99) I have subsequently refined my palette down to just 12 colours. All transparent or semi transparent hues. I now only use two yellows: Schmincke Indian Yellow (warm) or Schmincke Aureolin yellow(cooler). I underwash every subject with either of these yellows.
You will have seen in my Watercolor DVDs or read in books or magazines or in the articles on my website that I often begin my paintings with a ‘tonal map’ using underwashes of yellow. This allows my colors to glow and also gives a realistic ‘substance’ to my work. Now let’s discuss mixing and layering …
How to paint light skin tones – how to compensate for too much red in skin tone – how to paint shadow areas – shadow color mixes
All of the pigments I use are used in fine washes so they could all be described as being transparent. The Schmincke pigment is very finely ground and it is dense in the tube so we only need a tiny amount to color in our washes …
This is not a step by step guide of how to paint this subject. What I want to highlight are a number of points using this study as an example.
This Parrot Tulip study will be an ongoing tutorial where I will teach you many of the invaluable lessons that will help you create form – no matter which medium you choose.
DVD’s and Video Downloads
Order Susan’s highly acclaimed and popular instruction DVD sets below.
DVD: Watercolor Masterclass Volume One: “Painting Life-Like Leaves and Vibrant Greens” – for all skill levelsUS$54.50
One-on-One Watercolor Workshops with Susan Harrison-Tustain – for all skill levelsUS$54.50
Painting Watercolor My Way with Susan Harrison-Tustain – for all skill levelsUS$54.50
Watercolor Portrait Workshop with Susan Harrison-Tustain – for all skill levelsUS$54.50