Thursday, 27 April 2017

Too Fast

I am so surprised to see that I have not written on my blog since early March. You may think I am not painting or away on holidays but no here I am with so much arty things happening and the time going by all too fast. 
I have had a whirlwind exhibition program since January, am now a month into giving my second watercolour foundation course this year and still wanting to paint every day. With a little mini break away followed by Easter celebrations with family I now have my studio routine back on track.

Black and White in Watercolour:
Yesterday for week 4 for my class the subject was how to paint black and white. I painted my demo with just three colours - Permanent Rose, Burnt Sienna and French Ultra Marine Blue. This little Boston Terrier appeared in less than 40 minutes, seemed too fast, but no fuss just lovely colour fusions happening before our eyes. 
The most asked question in my classes is what should I do with the background. I normally advise that it be considered as a whole with the subject rather than a scary afterthought but here I was in that scenario as this was only meant to demo the subject colour but after falling in love with this little guy I wanted him to be a finished work.  I left it on my easel overnight loving its simplicity but knowing I wanted something for the background but puzzled what it might be. 
This morning I added the simple shapes and the puzzle was complete.

42cm x 32cm

I have changed the cover picture on my blog to my "Lest We Forget" in celebration of it being awarded a merit for a contemporary work by the judges in the Flagstaff Hill Rotary Art Show on Saturday.  Another of my entries - a large abstract "Key to Winning" was purchased by the Onkaparinga Council for its own collection so I have certainly been on a high this week.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Testing the new Daniel Smith Colours

There has been much hype around the new Daniel Smith colours released last month and I resisted adding more tubes to my huge collection but I succumbed to the pressure of having to be sure I'm not missing out on something spectacular.
They arrived a few days ago but sat on my desk until today when I put them to the test.

Paynes Blue Gray PB60, PBk6
Aussie Red Gold PY83, PR101, PV19
Raw Sienna Light PY42
Burnt Sienna Light PR101, PO48
Quinacridone Lilac PR122
Wisteria PW6, PR122
Rose Madder Permanent PR209, PV19, PR202

I use good watercolour paper for my test strips so that when I use a pigment in a work it should react the same as in my testing.

Each strip has 10 rectangles.
7 are used for a value scale so I can see the colour in its full strength, grading right down to the lightest value being just the white of the paper.
I add a waterproof black texture line on rectangle 8 so I can test in a heavy consistency how transparent the pigment is
Dry paint is lifted with a damp brush in rectangle 9 telling me how staining the pigment is
I use the last rectangle to add salt to the damp paint to see what effects it will make.

Conclusion for me:
1. I often find I have the same pigment under a different name by another manufacturer but this   doesn't mean they behave the same when water is added. This time just two had the same pigment numbers as ones I already own.
** Aussie Red Gold PY83,PR101,PV19 same as Australian Red Gold by Art Spectrum
** Quinacridone Lilac PR122 same as Quinacridone Magenta by Winsor & Newton

2. I like how dark the Payne's Blue Gray is when almost straight out of the tube

3. The Burnt Sienna light didn't seem any different to the regular Burnt Sienna I use

4. The Wisteria was thought chalky in consistency seems quite transparent and is  the same pigment as the Quin Lilac but with titanium white added

5. The most appealing colours meaning I will probably use them and not put them in the big box of wait my turn are the Wisteria, Rose Madder Permanent and the Quinacridone Lilac.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Finding Your Way

There is always so many decisions to make before starting a painting and as we all experience when we actually start out some ideas may have to be abandon as the watercolour makes some decisions of its own and its best not to resist but work with it.
This painting started out for me as a way of demonstrating to my class last week how I might use negative painting in the background but after an hour of painting it was left 90% unfinished. Some days later I started on it again making more of those considered decisions as to how to paint basically black and white birds and have them tell a story. I used a very limited palette of French Ultra Marine Blue, Permanent Rose and Burnt Sienna which gave me interesting blacks. Using just these colours in the background enabled the Willy Wagtails to be the stars but kept the whole painting in harmony.  It required more thought as to how I might bring the two birds more together so the decision to add the darker panels was made. Weaving the branches in and out helped with the design. The negative space was enhanced with some old script stamping which helped me find my way to tell the paintings story

You Kept My Letters
56cm x 30cm unframed size

Monday, 20 February 2017

Too Cute

I have been thinking of painting the little fairy penguin for a while but somehow something else jumps the queue and they have had to wait until now.

I'm glad they have been patient as with all my "make me smile" works there is always a story.

We have a small colony of these little cuties not far from where I live and I have seen them just a couple of times in the past few years but I did take some great photos of the ones at our Adelaide Zoo last year. When looking through photos I see them waddling with their feet at different angles and I immediately thought of that saying "with a hop skip and a jump" and then I knew how this would work so well for my painting. One is jumping in the air, one is skipping and the other is hopping.

Am looking forward to seeing this framed and on the studio wall.

A Little Hop, Skip and Jump
Unframed size 56cm x 30cm

Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Wine District

Just played and created my latest abstract. I have already framed it and have it on the studio wall as I love its bright colourful look.
Playing with abstracts in watercolour is very time consuming but lots of fun as there is no fixed result in mind. I often find bits of other media to add bringing it to a finished work. This time I used some silver leaf (not real silver), that I purchased whilst in Italy last year and a silver web spray. To ensure its bright longevity I spray a mat spray varnish over those areas.
My solo show where I released my first abstracts finishes this weekend but the fabulous feed back (and sales) I have received gives me confidence that abstracts in watercolour are worth the play.
Try it!

The Wine District
56cm x 38cm on Saunders Waterford Cold Press 425gsm

Framed size 75cm x 57cm

Friday, 27 January 2017

Revisit and Tweak

I am presently painting new work but also revisiting watercolours that are stored away in my file drawer. They are there and not binned because I liked them when finished but for some reason they never made it to a frame. I may not have seen back then that they needed something extra but with a fresh look and more brush mile experience some of these works can be tweaked and made special enough to frame. You have to be prepared to try additional work without fear, knowing that if it doesn't work they will head for the bin but its from the tweaking process that much is learnt. Here are a couple of florals that are now framed ready to show.

A Dozen in Pink

All about the Blossom

The before's

                             Filed away in 2013    
Filed away in 2014

Monday, 23 January 2017

Abstract Play

One Bright Day 
Watercolour Abstract
56cm x 34cm
My solo show is on in my home town of Goolwa and is called Limitless Watercolour and runs until February 12th. The opening was fabulous and I was heartened by the comments about my abstracts created especially for the show. It has given me confidence to continue to play and experiment with them. Of course I am still going to paint my feel good subjects but having nothing but colour and shape when playing with paint makes for a lot of fun. Today with One Bright Day I tried for a more simple approach but of course its always tricky knowing when its done.


Saturday, 7 January 2017

From the Opera

Inspiration finds us in many ways and sometimes it is as simple as colour. I reaquainted myself before Christmas with two tubes amongst the many in my collection. Opera Rose by Winsor and Newton and Opera Pink by Daniel Smith. They are really the same pigment but do behave slightly differently wet into wet. When I first purchased them I thought them too fluro and didn't enjoy using them but with the past few paintings that has changed. I have used this vibrant colour in my last 4 paintings (including The Devil in Pink from my last post) so maybe I will now look for a new inspiring colour.
Pretty Flamingo
56 x 43cm

Such a Special Day
50 x 30cm

Opera Glads
56cm x 38cm

Monday, 2 January 2017

Happy New Year

The Devil in Pink
25cm x 25cm

The Tasmanian Devil is not the most charming looking animal so I used the sassy Opera Pink shade to bring out
her best looks!

Wishing you all a fabulous 2017 and for my fellow artists, lots of fun and success with your watercolours.