Thursday, 29 January 2015

Connection, it Shows

How many times have we heard it - a connection is a must to be able to create a work where the viewer can see that the artist has had a joy and emotional connection whilst painting. How evident this is for me these past few days. I have mentioned before that I don't paint Cats because I have no connection or joy with them due to an incredible fear of them. I also told myself that I would try and overcome this by painting them. Well after a couple of tries I quickly discarded each as Ok but hide in the drawer results. Thing is they are no harder to paint than a dog, cow or chicken but when your heart is not in it it becomes a chore and a bore. This week Isabella Kramer (one of the Washing Girl Artists) shared a photo of her cat on facebook and it had all the makings of a good painting with its lights, darks and nice composition. I asked her if I could use it to paint and she said "yes lets both do it". Well I easily made a couple of pencil marks to get the eyes and nose in the right spot and then started to add paint. Within 5 minutes I wanted to scribble all over it or tear it up. It lays unfinished staring at me just like a real cat would, saying I'm sure - I win, I win all the time!
Different story now with painting a dog. This is Bella, a Maltese/Shnauzer(I think) cross who has a funny little underhang bite. She has brought such delight to my friends who recently adopted her as she is only 7 but her owner had to go into full time care and could no longer keep her. They have only ever had large breeds of dogs all their lives but have quickly found out how a little dog can easily make the rules, just like my poodle Rosie does in our house.

Watercolour 38cm x 28.5cm
Arches Rough 300gsm paper

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Many Layers

Pink Blush
Watercolour 28.5cm x 38cm
300gsm Saunders Waterford CP Paper
This is titled "Pink Blush", Gum Nuts and Leaves created with many layers and a limited palette of Antwerp Blue, Permanent Rose and Burnt Sienna.
It was supposed to be a simple example of negative painting that I could later demonstrate in one of my classes but I was really enjoying the colours and process that I couldn't stop and lost count of the many layers so it left being an easy study and became a finished painting.

Monday, 19 January 2015

It's all Go, Go, Go

Hair Highlights
Unframed 38cm x 28,5cm
$175 AUD includes postage worldwide
I have taken the plunge and offered an 8 week watercolour class for a small group of six starting Feb 10 and so pleased to have a full class already signed up to start. I have been spending time juggling painting for me and putting together lesson exercises and studies which includes painting some images using the palette of colours I have chosen for the course so I have at least tested them all out. Three are colours I have used a lot Winsor Yellow, Perm Rose and French Ultra MBlue but the other 3 are not normally in my palette- Scarlet Lake, Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue (green shade). These 6 colours were recommended by Winsor and Newton for a 6 colour palette so thought this was a good start. It can be costly expense gearing up for a good watercolour kit so this way colours can be added in future to expand the range. I am also committed to posting once a week for the Washing Girls Wash a Week Challenge blog and really enjoying the study I am doing in preparing posts for this. I have discovered some new colours and combinations I can use in future paintings.
This weekend I worked on another Emu watercolour and she looks like she has just had a session at the salon having her hair streaked!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Street Entertainers

Another from European holiday snaps of a Street Entertainer and his little helper. I was drawn to this image as it was basically a grey photo except for the bright sign on a building and I could mix yummy colourful greys in my palette.
I am not sure whether he is Charlie Chaplin or Hercule Poirot??
The Little Guy collects the Cash
Watercolour 38cm x 28.5cm on 300gsm  paper

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Setting a really BIG challenge

Yesterday I decided to up the stakes and really set myself one mighty big challenge.
Not one new thing but at least four in the same painting!

  •  Paint BIGGER than ever (75cm x 50cm)
  •  Paint UPRIGHT using easel
  •  Paint on UNUSUAL SURFACE (Illustration Board)
  •  Paint using watercolour SILVER and GOLD

The idea behind this was to help me tackle a street scene that was a little more complex for me. By setting the challenge so big I felt no pressure for it to succeed because after all I had stacked the odds against me.

Whilst this may not be my best work I am really pleased with it on lots of levels because I not only finished with a credible try but I learnt a lot.

  • I enjoyed painting upright - I often angle my surface slightly but nowhere near to the extent of the degree in doing this work on the easel
  • I made a light drawing using a Derwent Light wash HB sketching pencil which was great as it could be washed off with water as adjustments were made, drawing and scaling up to size directly from observation off my computer monitor.
  • The Illustration board was never meant for watercolour but providing you kept the water away from seeping under the edge it was great for lifting, and light scrubbing which was very beneficial as I made big perspective corrections at the end
  • Use my Week #2 Wash a Week Challenge colour study of silver and gold
Conclusion: Whilst another try at this scene on proper watercolour paper and more work on the silver and gold effect could be a good idea at some stage, I will move onto a different scene but remember valuable lessons learnt in this challenge, Relook at holiday photos for street scenes previously discounted as too tricky and always remember it is only a piece of paper!

Cropped size 60cm x 39cm

Monday, 5 January 2015

Get Out of the Studio - More!

I am ever thankful to my husband Ian who not only still works 2 or 3 days a week, rows on the river at least 2 mornings a week but also manages to do our grocery shopping several times a week keeping our household with supplies. He was going to visit the Strawberry and Cherry farm on Christmas eve but I decided to do this shopping myself the day before whilst he was at work. I am so glad I did. Not only did I get some fabulous photos of two Labradors patiently waiting in the car for the return of their owner who was shopping at the Mt. Compass strawberry farm but when I drove on to the Cherry Farm a few more kilometres down the road I asked whilst buying my box of Cherries if there were any pickers out and was told not at the moment. I explained I painted and was hoping to get some shots when the owner was so obliging and asked his son to take me down to the orchard to photograph the cherry trees and the friendly lad picked so I could have some action shots. If I had stayed home or worse just gone to the supermarket I would have missed out on two really great experiences.
 - Note to self: Get out of the Studio more!
Hurry Up Dad
Watercolour 38cm x 28.5cm

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Send me some Fairy Magic

Nearly Ripe
Watercolour on Arches 300gsm Rough Paper
28.5cm x 38cm

When we moved into our home a few years ago I was very excited to have a beautiful plum tree in the back garden. We pick and stew the fruit which takes us a couple of days to finish. As I look out of my studio window today I see it over laden with fruit nearing its ripe for picking time. Whilst I look forward to having the delicious stewed fruit over the next few months I don't want to give up my studio painting time to do all the work. I need a sugar PLUM fairy to magic it done.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Welcome 2015 - Shall we Dance?

Happy New Year dear blogging friends and followers of my art.  I am looking forward to making new milestones in my journey this year and its so important to have you come along.
Today the new "Washing Girls" blog starts and you can find the link over on the right.
Tomorrow I get back to my studio after a hectic holiday break. This painting was finished just before Christmas.
Shall We Dance?
Watercolour 28.5cm x 38cm