Sunday, 31 July 2016

Cooking in Provence

Gosh it already feels like ages since we holidayed in Provence even though it was just last month.
We were lucky to attend two different cooking classes/demonstrations and this watercolour was created from memories and reference images taken there. Unfortunately the reference photos were not that brilliant as we were in a basement kitchen in a hotel and the lighting was not good. Between photography and trying to concentrate on the cooking the camera settings didn't get enough attention but this was a good thing for me as my painting required lots of choices and artistic input from me rather than be a slave to a reference so I could just go for it.

Cooking in Provence
Arches Hot Press 300gsm
56cm x 38cm

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Step by Step - Camellia

Having been back in my studio properly now for a couple of weeks I feel I am just getting my hand back in. I have tackled works requiring drawing along with the free style of just throwing paint around and building from there. I love the freedom of this way of working even though they are not always a winner. Today I thought you might like to see one of my throwing paint around paintings  I started yesterday and this morning tweaked that I am really pleased with.

Reference Material: 
A few shots taken on my Ipad of a potted Camellia in my garden, not a really healthy specimen but it has now has one open flower and lots of buds. It caught my attention on my way to the studio so it became my latest subject.

Paper:     Arches 300gsm Hot Press
Size:        1/2 sheet 56cm x 38cm
I chose to use Hot Press paper simply because I had a half sheet left already in my drawer and as I like using both Hot and Cold Press I did not give its characteristics any real thought for this painting.

I gave most thought to the colours having tested a little with the Pinks choosing a few for variety
Colours:  Pinks/Reds
                Rose Madder, Opera Rose, Quinacridone Magenta, Winsor Red
                Cascade Green, Indigo
                Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Gold
                Burnt Sienna, Flinders Violet

Step 1
I wet the paper on the back and laid it flat on my board and easel. I sprayed the front so I had some dry paper left as this makes it easier to not have colours totally merge together and gives me a little room for stop and start sections.

Step 2
NO DRAWING - Using a mop brush add colour randomly but trying to keep some areas light and pink glancing at the photos to get the feel of what might work. If you find this too scary you could always do a bit of pre planning and then lightly draw in where you might have the blooms. I prefer the excitement this way of painting gives me - living dangerously and seeing what happens.
The leaves do not need drawing as they will appear as you build and add colour

Step 3
Whilst the paper is still wet (it will stay wet for longer because of wetting the back) you have plenty of time to add more colour - I added some splattered paint too and the start of branches and stems where all the edges will be soft giving you plenty of choice for sharpening in the next stage.

Step 4
At this stage I had to stop and let it all dry because a friend called in and once the paper starts to dry it is hard to add more without creating watermarks unless of course you want some. Stopping for coffee was a good idea anyway as it have me time to see what the wet into wet had provided me leading me to the next step. This is really working intuitively and there is no right or wrong here you just have to trust your choices.

Step 5
When all was dry I lifted colour out in some centres as I did not leave white paper for the stamens. I could now add some yellow. 
I lifted colour and added more pinks and reds to give the blooms some form.
Greens and blues added making some positive leaf shapes and suggestions with negative shapes
The branches were tidied up and more little twigs added.A little white added to lead my eye through the darks.
At this stage I decided it was complete. This is always the hardest part knowing when to stop. I signed it so really that says to me Stop. 

Step 6
Take a photo, leave it alone and go cook dinner. Look at photo after dinner and decide to tweak in the morning.

Step 7
New day with fresh eyes, I decide to extend the dark to the upper left hand corner. Add a little more yellow here and there, tweak some of the blooms. Time to Stop and call it done!

Hot Pink, Cold Day

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

My return from Tuscany and Provence

Ian and I have returned from our best holiday ever. The first 10 days in Tuscany where for 7 days I painted at The Watermill along with 10 other watercolourists and tutor Sarah Yeoman. What a brilliant start to our trip this was. The grounds and rooms in The Watermill were fabulous as was the delicious food. We were taken on some trips to nearby villages and also to eat in some local family owned restaurants.
Painting was so relaxed, everyone did their own thing and joined in for demos if they wanted too. I did not see many of the painters during the week as they were scattered around the complex busy painting what inspired them. Sarah did demo outside a couple of times but also in the comfort of the wonderful studio. I did paint inside most of the time. She was very generous with her time and advice and I came away with more knowledge to help me in my journey. The last afternoon we had an exhibition where we got to see what everyone had been up to and Sarah also enhanced it with some work she had brought with her. I was thrilled that Phyllis from the USA asked to buy one of mine which finished the week on a high note.

Of the six or so paintings I did I think two were worthy, The Borrowed Umbrella above which sold and one of an old lady busy doing crotchet which was inspired from an image by Phil Jenkins that I had saved to my ipad some weeks earlier. I painted it from my ipad , dancing along to music from Hozier and Adele playing in my ears, my headphones plugged in so I didn't bother any one else in the class studio. I tweaked this in my studio yesterday and it will be framed soon so I can hang it in my studio gallery as open studio weekends are coming up in August.
Future blog posts will no doubt have inspired paintings from our beautiful three weeks in Provence.

A Stitch in Time
Unframed size 28.5cm x 38cm