Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Art & Beauty In Decay

Summer EB 2017 Mosaic - NB

This image follows on from yesterday’s post of my Summer Erosion Bundle 2017. It’s a mosaic I created in Photoshop of some of the highlights of my erosion bundle. Notice the lovely autumnal colours ~ rusty browns and autumn berry colours….

When I made my erosion bundle back in the summer I realized it would be autumn when I opened it so I deliberately tried to incorporate things that would create autumnal colours – I didn’t  just throw my bundles together, I did give them a little thought…. !

You can click on the image to view a much larger version and large pictures have gone into my Art Gallery.

There is indeed art and beauty in decay, when nature just left to do it’s thing….

 

Art · Erosion Bundles

Summer Erosion Bundle 2017

Back in the summer I did a post documenting how I made my latest erosion bundles, you can read about it here. They’ve been in the garden for almost 2 1/2 months. Well, a few days ago I opened them up, carefully separated everything and left my papers and fabrics to dry….

Summer 2017 EB 1 - NB

Lots of rust and berry stains….

Summer 2017 EB 2 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 3 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 4 - NB

The lovely blue/mauve stains above and below are from blackberries….

Summer 2017 EB 5 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 6 - NB

It will come as no surprise that fabrics made from natural fibres (ie. cotton, silk, linen etc.) absorb colour and stains much better than synthetic fabrics. Below are two pieces of blackberry and rust stained silk….

Summer 2017 EB 7 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 9 - NB

All paper fragments, like the ones above, are kept and will be used in a future art project…

Summer 2017 EB 11 - NB

Pearl mica adds some shimmer on the papers below….

Summer 2017 EB 12 - NBSummer 2017 EB 13 - NBSummer 2017 EB 14 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 15 - NB

Beautiful rust stains below….

Summer 2017 EB 16 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 17 - NB

Above and below are both sides of the same piece. They’re actually two pieces of paper fused together, there’s just no hope of separating them. The rust stains are gorgeous. Some rusty washers are still attached. Below you can see some eye shadow and berry marks too. But what really intrigues me though is that round turquoise circle you can see on both sides of the paper. As yet, I have no idea what made that turquoise circle – it’s distinctly washer shaped, so I’m thinking that maybe one of my washers has reacted with something in my bundle. That’s one of the joys of erosion bundles ~ lovely things happen inside them ~ you never know what you’re going to find when you open them….

Summer 2017 EB 18 - NB

Below is some greaseproof paper from the kitchen – it’s quite good stuff to put into an erosion bundle, not too thick and fairly strong. There’s a dried blueberry stuck on it and you can also see some blackberry stains. In the middle on the right you can also see a pattern left by some fabric….

Summer 2017 EB 19 - NB

Below is a piece of bleached denim, it always stains well in an erosion bundle…

Summer 2017 EB 20 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 21 - NB

Below is some rusty jute….

Summer 2017 EB 22 - NB

So these are the results of my summer erosion bundles. I didn’t photograph everything, just the most interesting bits. I’ll have to start thinking about what to do for my next bundle. All these lovely papers and fabrics are going to be carefully stored till I need them. I’m hoping to use them in a new project next year – but more information about that later this year.

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop · Watercolour

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 25

Welcome to week 25 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week we are using a bleach pen to create interesting patterns and textures in art. Here’s what I ended up with….

Week 25 - Bleach Pen 3 - NB

This is a Fiber Paste surface covered with watercolour paint, then bleach dropped onto the top with the bleach pen. Colours used were Indigo and Phthalo Blue. The colours and textures are wonderful….

Next something a little different (at least different for me!)….

Week 25 - Bleach Pen 1 - NB

A while ago my sister Carolyn sent me a bundle of art stuff in the post. In the parcel she included a pile of the strips used in salons to remove wax, with a note offering me a challenge to use them in some art. Challenge accepted!

Here they are used above as part of this weeks workshop. I covered them with a wash of watercolour paint and then dropped the bleach onto the wet paint in small drops. These strips are somewhere between a paper and a fabric and they are very porous, so you need something underneath to absorb any paint that goes straight through. Some interesting textures have been created. On the left, the colours used were Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Blue and on the right I used Prussian Blue. For the samples on the right I have shown both sides, as they are both different but interesting. Here’s a closer view of the left sample:

Week 25 - Bleach Pen 2 - NB

These salon wax strips, once painted and dried, would be good to use for collage work – they would add some extra interest and colour….

This weeks workshop was fun and very quick and easy to do. The next STW is about using petroleum jelly – I think it might just get a little bit messy – but we’re going to have some fun with it anyway…. !

Large images of my art can be viewed in my Art Gallery

Art · Watercolour

Watercolour Inspiration

A small watercolour landscape. I painted this some weeks ago and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. So I just left it to one side for a few weeks and then went back to it. I do this with my photography sometimes if I have images I’m not sure about. When you look at images or art again after a few weeks you see things with a fresh perspective. When I revisited this watercolour I decided that perhaps it’s not so bad after all  – I quite like it. I like the deckle edge of the paper (Fabriano Artistico NOT paper – 100% cotton)….

Waterside - NB
Waterside

Today I decided I would also share just a few places that I get lots of wonderful watercolour inspiration from.

One page I love to visit is debi riley – The Creative Zone for Making Art. Debi is a very talented artist with many years experience. Her work is beautiful and she very generously shares her wealth of knowledge and experience on her blog. It’s a wonderful, inspirational place to visit for artists of all levels of experience. As a person still in the early stages of my watercolour journey,  I’ve found it invaluable. My suggestion is: make yourself a coffee, make yourself comfy in front of the computer and lose a couple of hours exploring Debi’s blog – you wont regret it….

Next, I love colour. I love mixing colours and experimenting with colour. One stunning web page I love to visit can be found at Jackson’s, a UK art supply shop. Here you will find a beautiful Daniel Smith watercolour paint chart. Please do have a look.

What I love about this page is that you can view virtually the entire Daniel Smith range of watercolours all on one page and the colours are stunning. What I also love about this page is that you can click on each individual colour and it will tell you the pigment numbers that make up that colour and the properties of that colour, ie. it’s lightfastness, transparency, whether it’s a stainer or granulator etc. This information is invaluable to me. How can you not be inspired by all these beautiful colours…. ??

Another place I’ve found watercolour inspiration from lately is from a book called 10-Minute Watercolours by Hazel Soan. This is only a small book, inexpensive and it’s not a new book. But it’s a fantastic book – inspirational!  This book simplifies watercolour painting and for me that’s a good thing. Hazel achieves many beautiful and inspirational watercolours in this book in just 10 minutes. Hazel makes two statements in this book that I will remember forever:

“Painting is an act of creation, not imitation.”

“….you are using the subject matter to create a watercolour, not using watercolour to re-create the subject.”

Those statements are quite profound and I will leave you to think about them….

I will share more of my sources of inspiration another time….

Art · Watercolour

Tree Studies

A few simple tree studies in watercolour:

Tree Study 2 - NB

Lemon Yellow was painted straight onto the paper and the Prussian Blue was overlaid, wet in wet, allowing the colours to mix into an assortment of different greens…

Tree Study 1 - NB

When I painted the above tree I was really only doodling with my left over watercolour paint in my palette. But I quite liked it, so I cut it out and stuck it into my watercolour workbook.

The foliage colours were dabbed onto the paper with a sheet of screwed up kitchen roll, I used Cerulean Blue and Sepia. The trunk was painted afterwards with Lamp Black. While the black paint was still wet I dropped a tiny dot of water onto the top of each branch so they would blend into the foliage….

Tree Reflections - NB

My tree reflections above were created using an interesting technique. Before adding the paint I first went over my paper with gum arabic, just in the area I wanted my tree reflections. Then dropped my paint into the wet gum arabic. The gum arabic slows down the spread of the paint creating the interesting feathery patterns above. You can click on the image to view it larger and see the feathery patterns more clearly. The tree line above the reflections was painted after the reflections. Colour used was Prussian Blue.

This is a really interesting technique – please do give it a go if you’ve never tried it before. You can use it for all sorts of things, not just tree reflections….

So here I have done three different was of painting trees. I will explore many more ways of creating trees as I continue on my watercolour journey….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop · Watercolour

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 24

Welcome to week 24 of the Surface Treatment Workshop (STW). The workshop this week is about creating textures using rubbing alcohol. This is a really fun thing to do and so easy. All you need to remember is not to have your paint too thick – it needs to be a fairly runny wash – otherwise the alcohol wont break the surface of the paint. Here’s what I created….

Week 24 - Rubbing Alcohol 1 - NB

I used watercolour paints for my samples this week. I started with a wash of a light colour and then went straight over the top with a darker colour. Then while the paint is still wet I dropped in the alcohol. The alcohol breaks the surface of the paint and creates lovely patterns and textures….

Week 24 - Rubbing Alcohol 2 - NB

You can click on the images to view them larger if you wish. I used an assortment of different colours – Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red and Alizarin Crimson….

Week 24 - Rubbing Alcohol 3 - NB

The rubbing alcohol created some lovely textures and patterns in my watercolour paint. This is a great way to add some extra interest to an abstract watercolour painting. In conclusion I think rubbing alcohol is an interesting and useful item to have among my art supplies. It’s not something I would use every day but to occasionally to add some extra drama to some art – it’s great!

Larger images of my work can be viewed in my Art Gallery. The next STW is about using a bleach pen in art work…. fun times ahead!

Art · Watercolour

Colour Harmony

Some exercises in colour harmony. It’s all about mixing warm and cool colours….

Colour Harmony 1 - NB

Mixing Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, (warm colours) with Ultramarine Blue (cool colour) to create simple sunset seascapes….

Colour Harmony 2 - NB

I have put these colour harmony exercises into my watercolour work book. Inspiration for these exercises came from the book “Tate Watercolour Manual Lessons from the Great Masters”, the section on Joseph Mallord William Turner, whose work I absolutely adore….

Time spent on simple exercises like this is a very useful learning process for me. I’ve almost finished reading this book. Then I’m going to start it again from the beginning and do more of the exercises….

Art · Watercolour

Ocean Colours

I’m going to begin this post with a little confession…… around 12 years ago I bought myself a pack of 12 Windsor & Newton professional watercolours and it’s only in the last 6 months that I have actually started making proper use of them… ! I’m also pretty sure that I’m not the only person who’s done that… !!

Out of that set of 12 colours there are 2 greens: Hookers Green and Sap Green. These are both colours that I have virtually never used. Like many artists, if I need green I prefer to mix my own from blues and yellows. Last week I decided to have a little play with those greens….

Ocean Colours 1 - NB

I started by mixing Hookers Green with Prussian Blue and some lovely ocean colours began to emerge. I continued by mixing the Hookers Green with Phthalo Blue…. more lovely ocean colours….

I went on to do exactly the same with the Sap Green….

Ocean Colours 2 - NB

 

…. even more lovely, lovely ocean colours emerged! I love these colours ~ they inspire me. I may not use those greens for foliage but they are certainly going to start featuring in some seascapes in the future.

So…. are you one of those people (like me!) who’ve had a set of paints in a drawer or cupboard for over 10 years and never used them? Why not get them out and have a play with them? Go on, you know you want to…. !! You don’t have to create a masterpiece ~ just play with them ~ mix some colours ~ let them run together, mingle ~ have some FUN with them….

Art · Watercolour

The Blue Rose

The Blue Rose - NB
watercolour on 140lb 100% cotton Saunders Waterford watercolour paper

This is my very first attempt at painting a rose. And you will notice that I have used a large dollop of artistic license with the colour. It measures 7″ x 10″, which also makes it the largest watercolour painting I’ve done to date – I’m getting adventurous…. haha!

I’ve wanted to paint some roses for a while now but haven’t felt confident enough to do it. But last week a friend bought me a bunch of roses, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a go. I started off by doing a pencil sketch first. I’ve tried drawing roses before and made a complete pigs ear of it but this time I actually made quite a good job of of the drawing. I guess practice pays off….

Rose - NB

I told myself “if I can draw it, I can paint it… “. I didn’t paint my drawing, I’ve left it in my sketchbook. I got my watercolour paper out and based on my sketch, I drew faint pencil outlines of the rose on my watercolour paper to use as a guide. Then it was just a case of letting the painting begin….

I know in reality blue roses don’t exist but I think it’s high time someone produced a hybrid…. ! The colours for my rose were Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Blue and Chinese White and the stem and leaves were Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna and a touch of Sap Green.

My rose watercolour isn’t perfect by any means but I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I’m going to paint more roses but probably in slightly more traditional colours….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 23

This week’s workshop is all about using shaving foam in mixed media art. This is something I would have never considered using in art before reading the Surface Treatment Workshop book. The basic technique is to apply shaving foam to the back of a disposable plate (or other flat surface), then drop paint into it, swirl it round a bit and then transfer it you your art surface. Here’s my first sample….

Week 23 - Shaving Foam 1 - NB

I applied my shaving foam really thickly to the back of a disposable plate I added yellow ochre, turquoise, indigo and gold acrylic paint, mixed it in the foam a bit and transferred it to my paper. I swirled the foam round the paper with the plate and then lifted it off. At this stage I had a choice – I could either scrape the foam off straight away or leave in on to disintegrate. I decided to leave it on to disintegrate by itself. I left it for 24 hours and returned to find the foam had disappeared leaving some amazing painted textures on my paper.

Now shaving foam is obviously not archival, so to preserve my lovely textured surface I carefully applied a layer of acrylic glazing medium. When dry I applied a second coat of glazing medium mixed with some pearl mica in complementary colours.

While the above shaving foam sample was disintegrating I started some more samples….

Week 23 - Shaving Foam 2 - NB

For the above samples I followed exactly the same process but using slightly different colours – Indigo, Prussian blue, Yellow Ochre and Gold. I left the foam on to disintegrate.

Week 23 - Shaving Foam 3 - NB

For the above I used Indigo, Prussian Blue, Pale Power Blue and Silver. When the foam had disintegrated to virtually nothing I was left with lovely lace kind of pattern. All my samples were finished with acrylic glazing medium to preserve the textures and patterns.

Shaving foam is interesting stuff to use in art but it is MESSY !! If you don’t make a mess applying it, you will make a mess scraping off any unwanted residue! It’s sticky and gets everywhere. I highly recommend giving yourself plenty of space for this technique and move/cover anything you don’t want to get shaving foam on! All that said, I’m quite pleased with how my samples turned out and it was fun to do….

Next week’s workshop is about using Rubbing Alcohol. It’s going to be interesting…