Sunday, 13 March 2016

Opposites Attract

It is said that opposites attract, well same for me in painting in watercolour. My last post I spoke of how I go about painting when some careful drawing is required. Well as a complete opposite this painting has no drawing and not a lot of composition planning.

My initial preparation included:

  • Picking a couple of roses- one little bud and one bloom which had already started to wilt. 
  • Choice of paper and size - I wanted to try and fill a whole sheet and therefore decided it needed to be a bit heavier so went for the 425gsm Saunders Waterford Hot Press.
  • I chose my colours which included Cascade Green, Quinacridone Violet, Quinacridone Gold, Permanent Rose and a little Indigo. The added red at the end was Winsor Red.
  • With a big leap of faith I started dropping colour in wet into wet and as colours were merging I thought of where I could leave clean or light areas to add some main blooms.
  • Whilst the background wash was drying I continued to work adding stronger pigment building up some darks around the blooms.
  • When to stop - well this time it was when the sheet of paper was full.


This type of painting is very rewarding to me, I love the freedom of not having pre planned shapes to paint. Its down side is that not every painting is a winner but the process for me always is.

With a Touch of Red
76cm x 56cm unframed size


Sunday, 6 March 2016

My steps for A Toddlers Delight

A Toddlers Delight
56cm x 43cm unframed size
I had a reference photo on file (from Pixabay) from last year of a toddler with just one dandelion. I wanted to paint only monochromatic for the child and use colour just for her muse as I have already created a few this way for my series called "Precious Littlies"
My steps:
  • I started with the a drawing of the girl on plain paper scaling up to my required size, no drawing for the flowers. This way all the corrections and rubbing out is on the sketch paper and the watercolour paper is kept pristine. I like to paint without drawing when I can but when something has to be more real I do the minimal amount of drawing to help me with accuracy. Basically just the outline shape and placement of the eyes, nose and mouth.
    When I was happy with the drawing I transferred it to my watercolour paper using a light box, I use a very light touch just enough to give me a guide. Before I start painting I ran a kneaded rubber over my drawing to lighten it even more. 
  • Knowing how I wanted the paint the flowers using the experience from my recent dandelion commission I first completed all three flowers - a simple palette of French Ultra Marine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Green Gold.
  • Time now spent on painting the toddler using just two colours for my grey, French Ultra Marine Blue and Burnt Sienna. Using these two gives variety and texture because of their granulation and this helps me render some form.
  • I spattered lightly to balance the bottom right
  •  Paper - Saunders Waterford 425gsm Hot Press, Pigments - all Winsor & Newton French Ultra Marine Blue,Green Gold and Burnt Sienna


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A New First

A week ago I was offered my first commercial commission by a graphic designer some thousand kilometres away who found me via facebook and my website. My commission was to paint a watercolour of his specific vision of a dandelion for a clients company branding. I painted three versions which were all liked but in the end the designer chose elements from all three to form one flower that met his brief.  I have seen the final presentation (but not at liberty to share at this stage) and felt so pleased at how my washes and brushstrokes were used in this way. The original paintings were not required and are mine to use if I wish as only high resolution files were needed.