Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Framed versus Unframed

The benefit of painting a watercolour on paper, taking it to the framers and paying for a nice frame means once you have a finished a work it is just that - finished. However choosing to finish a painting so that it can be hung without glass (or frame if desired) means there are many more hours required to seal a work that can stand up against the elements and it is also a bit scary. I used to be nervous about spoiling a painting that was really going well and now this fear has moved on from that and focused on the varnish process. Each step requires thought, practice and patience and a lot of fingers crossed that the varnish will dry evenly without brush marks, has the desired sheen etc. The cost of painting on a panel or canvas is not cheap so this is always at the back of my mind as I am in the sealing process. I have now completed the varnish process on six paintings and each time it was very different and I think it is going to take me many more to feel comfortable with the process. Snag being I don't intend on painting for varnishing anywhere near as often as just on paper for framing so I think my varnishing apprehension will be with me for some time. The overall costs of this type of presentation is about the same as framing so the reason for doing it is simply for variety. Guess the best thing is I can never say I am in a rut!
Wine and Song Series painting number two has been created on a 3/4" Cradled Panel 18" x 24"
This mixed media work is done directly onto the panel not like Wine and Song number one where I painted on 300gsm paper and then adhered it to the panel. The sides were painted with black acrylic. It has then been sealed with several layers of varnish ready to hang as is.
Wine and Song II
18" x 24"

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Black & White Leggings

Black & White Leggings
Watercolour 60cm x 40cm

I have painted three Zebra paintings before but I was drawn to this Caroline Williams Photography image back in February and just found the right time yesterday to use it to paint. When I painted the black stripes on all previous occasions I used masking fluid for the white stripes and then painted freely using many layers to get the depth of black and removed the masking fluid when the right depth had been achieved.

My process this time:
No masking fluid
1. Draw outline of leg shapes ( not the stripes) to required size on cartridge paper so it can be used again, I have in mind to use this image again. Transfer to 425gsm Saunders Waterford Paper

2.Wet entire background and add colours Quin Gold, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna,FU Blue and some texture tools ie. Clingfilm, wax paper and gauze. Let Dry, remove papers and gauze

3. Next I did the tail with some of the colours grayed down and also some strokes with watercolour pencils

4. I mixed up and small pot of very dense black using Alizarin Crimson, Viridian, Paynes Gray and a touch of Phthalo Blue. I painted the black stripes in a single layer with this rich paint by looking at the image on my monitor and with no drawing on my paper, sometimes a bit tricky as my eyes went out of focus from looking at all the shapes. Luckily Zebras have a unique pattern anyway so any stray from the reference stripes did not matter. Form and shadows were created by allowing some bleeding from the black stripes into the white and also sometimes adding a bit of the warm gray from all the puddles on my palette.

Its great to use different ways of creating a similar subject as this really adds excitement to the painting process and that thrill when you stand back and look at your finished work.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Gang Gang Cockatoo

 Watercolour on 
300gsm paper on museum grade panel 14" x 18"
I fell in love with a photo of this gang gang cockatoo I saw on facebook by photographer Tim Corbett and was so pleased he allowed me to use it. This is a pure watercolour and I don't know if it is because I painted it after doing the sheep mixed media piece but I so loved how beautifully the paint glided over the paper. It may also have been due to the paper being glued to a museum grade panel which had an unsuccessful work on it. I painted it out with thick acrylic paint and applied a couple of coats of gesso and was going to paint on that. I have been wanting to experiment attaching a blank piece of watercolour to a board too so decided to use the panel for that instead. How pleased I was as I tried it for this watercolour. Maybe the joy and ease of flow had something to do with it remaining completely flat. Anyhow as always there are so many variables its seems near impossible to consider it will be like this next time. Maybe I should stick with one thing and do several works using all the same ingredients to test all this out but I am always so keen to try out something new to me. The background has been textured using clingfilm and then I just hinted at real foliage around the bird. Colour palette of Winsor Yellow, Prussian blue, Scarlet Lake, Winsor Red and Alizarin Crimson. I will be adding a wax varnish to this so it can be hung without glass either frameless or with choice of frame.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Once Upon a Time...

Winter Collection
Pure Aussie Wool Series
Mixed Media 38cm x 57cm

 on 425gsm Watercolour Paper
Once upon a time seems apt for this mixed media piece I have finally considered done.
This is another for my Pure Aussie Wool Series and I have called this one "Winter Collection".
Once upon a time a couple of days ago it started with 14 sheep inspired by the references we took last year in a local shearing shed. Of course those sheep had already been shorn so whilst I used their poses and faces I added back their winter wool in my painting. So lucky this is not just watercolour as I decided to reduce the number to 13 yesterday morning and by yesterday afternoon they had been reduced to just 7. The process was the most radical adjustments I have ever done. My background colours were started with pastel tones and as my arty friends said it looked a bit nursery room. How far from this could I take it, well last night at about 5pm and after more than 15 hours over 2 days on this piece I thought this is far enough. I am really happy with my playing into somewhat semi abstract aspects. I always knew I wouldn't give up on it as I was engaged by the eyes looking at me especially the top left sheep.