Art · Watercolour

Start Painting!

Start Painting - NB
Start Painting!

A watercolour sketch in my khadi paper sketchbook.  No prizes for guessing which brand of paint these are… ! These tubes of paint were on my desk in my little home studio, they made a great subject to paint. The colours of these paint tubes are Prussian Blue and Buff Titanium.

I enjoyed painting these tubes of paint and I like how my sketch turned out, in spite of it’s imperfections. But I also got some much needed practice at drawing with my paint brush… I’ve learnt and grown from just doing a simple painting like this. Now, what else can I paint… ?

Art · Watercolour

Hotting Things Up

These are some new hot summer colours I’ve just added to my palette…

Hot Summer Colours - NB
Hot Summer Colours

Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Coral, Hansa Yellow Medium and Quinacridone Rose. In their undiluted form they are very rich strong pigments but they ditlute to the most beautiful delicate colours…

The Colours Of Summer - NB

At the top we have Quinacridone Coral mixing with the Hansa Yellow Medium; notice the lovely tangerine orange they create together. Next, bottom left, we have Quinacridone Rose mixed with Hansa Yellow Medium and notice the orange is much softer. Bottom right we have Quinacridone Rose mixed with Naples Yellow – the Naples Yellow has softened the pink to a more dusty shade of pink. I’m looking forward to working more with these colours…

I’ve also been playing with some Buff Titanium too and created some lovely colour mixes…

Mixing Buff - Warm - NB

Here I’ve mixed  Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium with some colours from the warm side of the colour wheel. Top left corner we have Buff Titanium on it’s own. Next to it we have it mixed with Cadmium Red. Line 2: we have Alizarin Crimson with Buff Titanium; Line 3: we have Permanent Rose mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 4: we have Cadmium Orange mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 5: we have Cadmium Orange with Buff Titanium; Line 6: we have Indian Yellow mixed with Buff Titanium. I love the pale delicate pinks and yellows on the right half of the chart…

Mixing Buff - Cool - NB

Here we have some blues and greens mixed with Buff Titanium – colours from the cool half of the colour wheel. Line 1: Prussian Blue mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 2: Sap Green (left) and Hookers Green (right) mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 3: Ultramarine mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 4: Indanthrene Blue mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 5: Phthalo Blue (left) and Cobalt Turquoise (right) mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 6: Phthalo Blue mixed with Buff Titanium.

I love how the Buff Titanium turns the blues into beautiful soft blues and greys. I also like how it has softened and lightened the greens. Something to bear in mind when mixing with Buff Titanium is that it is a granulating colour, only very mildly, but this may create a slight textural effect when mixed with some colours. That’s not a bad thing at all as I love texture.

I love playing with colour – it’s fun but it also teaches me a lot about how colours react together. And I nearly always get some nice surprises – sometimes the paints do wonderful things you don’t expect…

Just as a final note has anyone tried the Daniel Smith Watercolour Sticks? If so, what is your experience with them? Do you like them and would you recommend them? Please let me know what you think. I’m contemplating buying some to use in a sketchbook when I’m travelling but I would be most interested to know of your personal experience with them.

More colour fun in the pipeline this week…

Art · Watercolour

Seascape Studies

Some loose watercolour seascape studies…

Through The Mist - NB
Ocean Waves Through The mist

Waves emerging through a distant misty seascape…

A Little Light Swell - NB
A Little Light Swell

This seascape reminded me of a family boat trip we had years ago – we took the boat from Penzance to the Scilly Isles. The day we went was the day after a huge storm. We had brilliant sunshine, blue sky and fluffy white clouds but the sea was very choppy with some huge waves. The captain called it “a little light swell”, hence the title of my seascape above…

Both Studies above were painted loosely, wet in wet mostly. Both measure 19 cm x 14 cm and were painted on Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton cold pressed paper. The colours used were Prussian Blue and Viridian.

Ocean Wave Mosaic - NB
Ocean Wave Mosaic

Above is a mosaic created from seascape attempts I didn’t like. I cut small abstract squares out and glued them onto a piece of white paper.

I love the ocean and it will inspire many more seascape studies and paintings in the future…

Art · Watercolour

Party Time!

Party Time - NB
Party Time

This was a lighthearted, fun start to my watercolour painting yesterday. These balloons were the easiest thing in the world to paint and put a smile on my face. It was a great warm up exercise for further painting projects I did afterwards. The highlights on the balloons were created by wax resist using a white wax crayon – the cheap sort you buy your kids – just simple colourful FUN…

REFLECTING

I’ve been learning watercolour painting for just over a year now. Sometimes I don’t have as much time for it as I would like, but that’s life. I decided I would spend just a minute or two reflecting on some of the things I’ve learnt…

When I started just over a year ago I had ZERO knowledge or experience of watercolour painting. Never done it before in my life ever – I knew NOTHING! I read all the advice about what you need to start off with (from lots of different sources), Some of it I listened to and some I didn’t. But here’s a few things I’ve learnt from personal experience:

PAPER: 100% cotton watercolour paper is the best paper to paint on. Cheap paper just doesn’t give the same results – I’ve bought several different types of cheap watercolour paper and regretted buying all of them. I’ve seen how much better my painting looks on good quality cotton paper. My personal favourite so far is Arches, followed by Fabriano Artistico. I will keep experimenting with different papers but no more cheap stuff… !

PAINT: Painting with artist quality paint, rather than student quality, generally produces better paintings I’ve found, probably because the colours are much more rich and vibrant with artist quality paints. There are many watercolour paint brands I’ve not yet tried but I do know I am totally hooked on Daniel Smith watercolour paints – the quality is superb and the colours are to die for…

BRUSHES: I’ve learnt – the hard way – that watercolour brushes with natural hair (ie. sable, squirrel etc.) are better to paint with because they hold more pigment and water. I do use synthetic brushes occasionally, they have their uses, but nowhere near as much as my sable and squirrel brushes. One of my most favourite brushes is a Silver Black Velvet size 10 Round brush. This is actually a squirrel and synthetic mix brush and is lovely to use – holds loads of pigment/water and has a very nice point. I will buy more of these brushes.

Also I don’t stretch paper, I’ve never got to grips with it – maybe it’s just me… ! I buy much of my watercolour materials from Jackson’s, a UK art supply shop and they ship internationally. This may be worth checking out if you live in one of those countries where Arches paper has become extremely expensive to buy in local art shops.

This is just a little of what I’ve learnt on my watercolour journey so far and some of my personal preferences. I’m sure others have very different preferences. I hope you might find this information useful – especially those of you who maybe be considering venturing into the wonderful world of watercolour…

Art · Watercolour

Rambling Rose II

Rambling Rose 2 - NB
Rambling Rose II ~ WIP

This is the second painting in my rambling rose series (the first was in my previous post). I may work on this painting some more, so I guess it’s a “work in progress” but at the moment I’m enjoying it as it is…

I used the same colours as the first one – Permanent Rose and Naples Yellow. This painting measures approx. 8″ x 6.5″ and was painted on Khadi paper. And this one too looks better when viewed from  a distance – you get the “rose effect” better. It was painted loose, wet in wet and I’ve just let the watercolour paint do what it naturally likes to do – working with it, not against it…

In the summer of 2016 I planted a lovely pale pink climbing rose in my garden. This spring it has doubled in size and, although it is only early may, it has buds forming on it already! This summer I want to paint these gorgeous roses from my garden. So I’m going to take lots of photos of them and also I will cut some and bring them indoors to paint. On a nice summers day I may even do some plein air rose painting in the garden…

BACK TO BASICS

I also spent some time recently getting back to watercolour basics – basic colour mixing and practicing brush control…

Mixing Primary Colours - NB
Mixing Primary Colours

This is a very basic colour mixing exercise. I  picked one of each of the primary colours ~ I chose to use Cadmium Red, Quinacridone Gold and Indanthrene Blue (in the top line of the chart from the left). All of them are quite strong primary colours. I then randomly mixed them together using varying quantities of pigment and water. These are just a sampling of the colours I could produce. This chart measures 5.5″ x 7.5″, but if I’d used a much larger piece of paper I could have easily quadrupled the number of different colours created. This is a fun way of learning about colour – how they mix, what different colous and shades you can produce. And it illustrates that you don’t need to buy lots of different colours, when you are just starting out with watercolour – just a few will do…

Next a fun brush control exercise:

Leaves - Brush Control - NB
Leaves in Earth Colours

I used a whole range of different earth colours for the exercise above. But it’s not about the colours, it’s about brush control. I used just one brush – a Jacksons Icon Quill size3/0. It’s a lovely brush, it holds lots of water and pigment and has a superb point.  The purpose of the exercise above was to practice working from the tip of the brush to the body and then back again to the tip again. I enjoyed painting my leaves. More brush control exercises will be on the agenda in the future…

Art · Watercolour

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose - NB

My mission when I got up this morning was to paint roses… after doing a few household chores first of course! I started by following a YouTube video (I wont say which one) but after three failed attempts it clearly wasn’t working for me. So I stopped for a tea break and regrouped. I decided to go back to what I know works really well – Jean Haines tutorials… ! I found the rose tutorial in Jean Haines Colour & Light in Watercolour New Edition book and got started. I didn’t follow the tutorial to the letter but Jean’s instructions got me back on the right track.

So my Rambling Rose above is completely my own creation but created after following Jeans sound advice. It measures approx. 5″ x 5.5″ and was painted on Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton cold pressed paper. The colours I chose to use were Permanent Rose (W & N) and Naples Yellow (DS). The green for the stem and leaves was some left over mixed green left in my palette. The brush I used was a Silver Black Velvet size 10 Round – this is one of my most favourite brushes.

My Rambling Rose was painted loose, wet in wet, with just a few details and definition added after the first wash had dried. This is one of those paintings that looks better if you stand back a a few feet. I’m much happier with this attempt and am now inspired to try some more loose roses…

I hope you all have a creative week ahead!

Art · Collage

Old Books

Chemistry - NB

A collage made entirely from old book covers. It was created for prompt no.15 in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman, a collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn. Unfortunately Carolyn is unwell at the moment and wont be posting her collages for a while, but do visit her blog anyway and be inspired by her beautiful, creative mixed media artwork and textile art…

I used three different vintage book covers for this collage. I love the vintage blue colours and textures of the the different covers. Old books are great for collages!

Art · Watercolour

A Stormy Sky

A stormy sky over a turquoise sea…

Stormy Sky Over A Turquoise Sea - NB
A Stormy Sky Over A Turquoise Sea

Sometimes the light is so beautiful at the Cornish coast ~ on one side of the sky you can have briliant sunshine and on the other you can have dark stormy clouds, all at the same time! The sunlight makes the sea a beautiful light turquoise colour and the storm clouds cast dark shadows over the the distant coastline…

This is a watercolour on Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton paper. The colours used were: Paynes Grey, Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue and Viridian. My seascape measures approx. 7.5″ x 5″.

Art · Watercolour

Today’s Watercolour Inspiration…

Today a lovely post appeared in my blog reader from watercolour artist Edo Hannema. He posted a beautiful watercolour landscape followed by a video of how he painted it. I was completely mesmerised. Here’s a link to the post: http://www.edohannema.nl/wordpress/painting-a-dutch-landscape/. If you love watercolour please check out his blog and YouTube channel. I love the gentle palette he uses and his technique – I can see myself learning a lot about watercolour from him…

Meanwhile, I found time this afternoon to paint a simple watercolour of lavender in a pot. I know it’s been done many times before by many people but I’ve never done it before. And I need to practice…

Lavender Pot - NB

I’m always ever critical of my own work (but much less so of other people’s work… ) and the pot is slightly too big and the lavender not quite big enough. But I’ll put that down to experience. It was painted fast and loose and most importantly it was fun to do… !

Inspired by Edo’s lovely watercolour painting demonstration in the link above, I’m now off to plan some watercolour landscape painting for tomorrow. I need to think about what I’m going to paint, what colours to use, whether I need to sketch anything or a least have an idea of where everything is going to be placed. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend…

Art · Collage

Words

Today it’s time for a little collage catch up for the collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn. We’re following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. I have three collages to share today and they are all word related.

First, the prompt for week 12 was typography. Here’s what I did:

Typography - NB
Seaside Typography

A collage consisting entirely from words cut out from old magazines. The words have been cut in half or overlapped for added interest. I used type in shades of blue and turquoise, but added that little touch of yellow off centre for a focal point.

The prompt for week 13 was Secret Message – you pick a name, word or phrase or similar and create a collage incorporating the letters. Here’s my collage:

Secret Message - NB
Secret Message

I jumbled the letters of my “secret word” up and glued them round the edge of my collage…

The prompt for week 14 was stamps – use stamps (any sort of stamps) to create an additional layer to a collage. Here’s my offering:

Vintage Pink - NB
Vintage Pink

I created my collage in shades of vintage pink with complementary neutral shades and stamped the word “vintage” on my collage in black ink.

I enjoyed creating these collages. A couple of the prompts have taken me a little out of my comfort zone and forced me to create something I wouldn’t have otherwise have created. So that’s a good thing. I’m looking forward to pressing on with the rest of the prompts in the book and I’m sure I’m going to be forced even further out of my comfort zone with some of them… !