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


  1. That's a lot of challenges Lorraine! Well done, and silver and gold are very exciting. Love your studio too!

  2. Beautiful work Lorraine! I love seeing the work in progress shot set up in your studio space. Silver and gold is difficult in any medium and I love the street entertainer idea.
    I am happy 2015 is off to a wonderful creative start for you, I just caught up on some of your older posts too! Love the puppies waiting, too adorable!

  3. Oh Lorraine so unique and creative. Love it. Really enjoyed reading this. I don't use my easel enough either. Very inspiring to try new things.

  4. I tend to work fairy flat too but strangely enough also have started working more upright I find it helpful when running workshops as of course people can see so much better but having the paint running everywhere isn't always what I'm looking for.I am also pushing out of my comfort zone... for me it's landscapes and in particular a bluebell wood....will see!!

  5. So interesting to read this post. Don't know if you know, but Arches makes a watercolor board in three surfaces. I like the's formulated differently to regular illustration board and hold up well.

  6. I work mainly upright, and enjoy the happy accidents that happen with this approach. Interesting subject! I love your studio too.

  7. You certainly set yourself some tough challenges for this one. Nice work. Never tried illustration board but have been meaning to for some time. I prefer Daniel Smith quinacridone gold to Windsor and Newton. Try it and see what you think.

  8. Love hearing about your challenges-January is a great time to plunge into new things. Intriqued by using silver! Thanks for the tips. And wow, what a studio!!

  9. You challenged yourself, and you did an amazing job, LOVE this ...very inspiring too !

  10. Its so nice to read your comments as I know you are reading my posts which are sometimes quite long. Thanks so much to "my regular" blogger friends and welcome Linda and Christy. Thanks Maggie for the Arches WC Board suggestion, I guess it will appear in our art stores sometime and I will check them out

  11. Congratulations on challenging yourself...and getting such nice results! It is so hard to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. This came out really nice!

  12. Why to we get up tight with a piece of paper. Considering these challenges were well out of your comfort zone you are right to be pleased with the outcome


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