Monday, 30 May 2016

Ready to Hop

I am taking a blog break during June as we are ready to hop to Italy and France on holiday.
I am taking a weeks painting holiday first in Posara, Italy with USA watercolourist Sarah Yeoman before we head to Provence for a relaxing time. See you back here in July

Ready to Hop
Unframed size 28cm x 28cm

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Surviving the Garden Hose Wash Off

I have never destroyed a finished painting to such a degree and then brought it back to life again.
Oil and Acrylic artists get to paint over but we watercolourists have to be more imaginative if a work is not to end up in the bin.

Yesterday I thought I was happy with my full sheet (76cm x 56cm) abstract mixed media of watercolour and collage using an artichoke for my inspiration.
After I signed it, photographed it and looked again there were parts I did not like and my first thoughts were to just start again.
Instead I took it outside my studio door to the garden hose and hosed off much of the colour and all of the collage elements (textured papers) something I have never ever done before. It felt quite liberating but I hope it is not something I will have to do often. Hours of work flowed down the garden path along with any hope of just a bit of tweaking.You can see from the images below the extent to which the original painting had disappeared.

This morning on entering the studio I was not sure what the surface might be like to restart on given it once had glued on papers but it was fine and suited the earthy, scruffy texture of the artichokes.
You may well have liked the first painting but of course there is no turning back just an opportunity to construct another original. If only we could have the best bits in the one watercolour but that just is not reality.

We learn more from our challenging paintings and the opportunity to think of a fix than we do from those that just happen beautifully.

Here are my steps:
On a full sheet of Saunders Waterford 425gsm Rough

Adding Collage - rice paper, Japanese papers for texture before painting

Creating a background leaving white for some main artichoke globes
Just about finished - should have looked at it for longer before the next step

Artichokes in Mixed Media
Finished - or so I thought

After its radical Garden Hose Wash Off

Adding new colour and changing the composition slightly
No collage added this time

A Rich Source
Watercolour 76cm x 56cm

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Planning and a Step by Step - Trout

With just a couple of weeks remaining for students in my current studio watercolour course, this week they get to paint any subject of their choice using washes and texture techniques learnt over the past month. In my handout this week I share my "check list" which I use for each of my paintings, it saves me paint, paper and frustration as all the important decisions are considered before the very first brushstroke.

Think before your first brushstroke
  • Composition, don't be a slave to your reference image
  • Paper size, type and Orientation
  • Colour choices for a unified work, will it get me the darks I need
  • Wet on dry or Wet into Wet
  • What texture could I use
  • Background first, after or at the same time

Rainbow Trout
Step by Step
  • I google a few rainbow trout images to give me the colours and shapes to ensure my fish will look like a trout. 
  • I make a simple outline drawing of a fish
  • I choose a square format and use my fish drawing to make my composition
  • I play with some colour choices and settle on Indigo, Undersea Green, Burnt Sienna, Permanent Rose

  • I decide on painting the background first and mix pools of indigo and the green and paint around my drawn fish varying the colour from the two pigment pools. 
  • When this was dry I decided to add a very weak wash of Burnt Sienna to all of the water to muddy it up to be more like a stream.

  • I wet a fish and drop colours in wet into wet using the same indigo and undersea green with Permanent rose for the stripe area with letting it mix with some indigo for a greyed mauve hue.

  • After each fish had its first pass of colours I strengthened in areas with some additional thin glazes.added some irridescent medium thinned with water to give some fish scale texture. 
  • Next the eyes were started
  • Whilst the eyes were drying I added the spots and fins using a dark mix of the indigo and green
  • I added the finishing touches to each fish including adding a highlight to the eye with a white ink gel pen
  • Using a the white ink pen I added some small bubbles around my focal point fish

I Quit
38cm x 38cm
Saunders Waterford Cold Press 425gsm


Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Free Range

Free Range
unframed size 56cm x 43cm
Saunders Waterford 425gsm Hot Press Paper
I cannot believe I have been absent from my blog for three weeks. I am experiencing a very busy art schedule which has been going on since the beginning of the year and sometimes something has to give and it looks like for me it is keeping up with my blog. We are going to Europe for the whole of June so it will be quiet again then but for now I will endeavour to write a couple of more times before we leave.
This chicken painting amused me not just for the subjects but for creating my imaginary backgrounds, I love the freedom to forget the subject and just play with colour and texture.