Watercolour

Some Fun With Colour

I will begin this post with my custom built Winsor & Newton Professional watercolour paint box:

My W & N Paint Box - NB
My custom built Winsor & Newton professional paint box

This paint box started life as a 45 half pan set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours. Over many months I have gradually replaced the Cotman pans with Winsor & Newton Professional pans of my choice. The colours in this paint box have also been carefully selected to complement the colours in my Daniel Smith custom built paint box. The two paint boxes will constitute my sketching palette when I’m travelling.

There are 32 colours in my Winsor & Newton paint box…

Colours in my W & N Paint Box - NB

Going from left to right and starting with the top row, the colours are:

Naples Yellow, Winsor Lemon, Indian Yellow, Winsor Red, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet, Indanthrene Blue, Ultramarine Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green Blue Shade, olive Green, Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, Yellow Ochre, New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Paynes Grey, Lamp Black and Neutral Tint.

There are also 32 colours in my Daniel Smith paint box too. So that makes a total of 64 easily transportable colours at my disposal when I’m travelling. Happy days!

I picked 3 primary colours from my W & N paint box – Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue (Red Shade) – and created a colour chart to see how many different colours I could create from them. I started with a sheet of A4 Khadi paper and drew with pencil as many boxes as I could fit on the page. When I finished I had 83 boxes, including 3 for my original primaries. That’s a lot of boxes – could I fill them all… ?? A tiny amount of doubt crept in…

Winsor & Newton Primary Colours - nb
W & N primary colour chart : Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade)

First lesson learnt is to never doubt myself – of course I can fill all those boxes! I’ve done a few of these charts now and it never ceases to amaze me how many different colours/shades you can create from just a red, a yellow and a blue (and water of course)! It’s a great way to learn about colour theory and colour mixing. I highly recommend giving it a go, it doesn’t matter what red yellow or blue you use and it’s FUN !!

My next colour experiment involved Daniel Smith’s Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (MANS). I mixed it with a variety of different blues:

DS MANS With Blues - NB
Mixing Daniel Smith Monte Amiata Natural Sienna with Blues

Firstly I love the lovely soft greys you get when you mix MANS with French Ultramarine. When mixed with other blues you get some lovely earthy greens and wonderful soft turquoise greens.

My final colour experiment for this post is about mixing greys. The ready made grey colours available to the watercolourist are quite limited so learning to mix them is pretty much essential:

Twelve Shades Of Grey - NB
12 Shades Of Grey

Above are 12 shades of grey – 3 are ready made and 9 are mixed. Just in case you can’t read my handwriting, the grey shades are:

Top Row: Raw Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Burnt Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Paynes Grey (W & N), Paynes Blue Gray (DS), Neutral Tint (W & N)

Bottom Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson + Viridian (DS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre (DS), Carbazole Violet +Yellow Ochre +Viridian (DS), Raw Umber + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Indigo + Yellow Ochre (DS), Winsor Green (BS) + Winsor Red (W & N).

Time spent playing with colour is always time well spent – there’s so much to be learnt from it. When I don’t feel like painting something “serious” or specific, some colour experiments are just the right thing and they are so much fun to do!

Watercolour

Ocean Inspiration

A little more seascape practice was on the agenda for me…

The Power Of Thge Ocean - NB
The Power Of The Ocean

I’ve been trying out yet more different techniques for painting the ocean. I’m slowly but surely grasping how important it is to reserve the white paper where necessary. Yes I can add highlights with white gouache but the original white of the paper is much better. The majority of the white in this seascape is the white of the paper. I have also used a spray bottle to add water in specific areas to help create the waves and sea spray. I’m happy with some areas of this seascape and not so happy with others. But I guess that’s all part of the learning process, as long as I understand why I don’t like certain areas and have an idea of what I would do different next time…

Ocean Inspiration Mosaic - NB
Ocean Inspiration

Above is the remnants of a seascape that went wrong! So I decided to cut it up into abstract squares and glued them to a piece of cartridge paper. Carefully arranged, these abstract squares look lovely together and I find them inspirational. Straight away I noticed how lovely the colours are that I used – Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Turquoise, Prussian Blue and touches of Indigo. So as a complete seascape this didn’t make the grade but as small abstract pieces of inspirational art they work really well!

Watercolour

Pear Shaped!

Pear Shaped 1 - NB
Pear

I spent some time a couple days ago doing some simple still life watercolours of some pears. Not too much detail, just simple shapes and shading. The painting above and below were painted on Saunders Waterford High White paper, which was 100% cotton and 140 lb cold pressed…

Pear Shaped 2 - NB
A Pair Of Pears

These watercolours were quite appropriate really as life has gone a little “pear shaped” for me at the moment. I have a painful and debilitating arm injury at the moment which has required numerous trips to the hospital and still more trips to come. It’s my right arm and of course I am right handed… ! So whilst I have managed to paint, it has been a challenge and I can’t spend as long painting as I would like to. My arm is improving but progress is a bit slower than I initially thought it would be…

Pear Shaped 3 - NB
Practice sketch for “A Pair Of Pears”

Above is a practice sketch for “A Pair Of Pears” above. It was done on a small scrap of paper (acrylic paper actually…) just so I could practice getting the shapes, composition and colours right…

Very simple watercolour work – within my current limitations and very much fun to do!

Watercolour

Loose Rock Pile

Loose Rock Pile - NB
Rock Pile – a loose, impressionistic watercolour sketch

A watercolour sketch of a rock pile someone built on the beach…

This is the same rock pile as in my previous post but painted with a completely different interpretation of my original photo. This version was created using techniques I’ve learnt from Jean Haines books. This version is much looser, lighter and ethereal and I didn’t use a pencil sketch first…

Interestingly I used the same two Daniel Smith watercolours for this as in the previous rock pile – Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and French Ultramarine – only in more diluted mixes. This one too was painted on Saunders Waterford High White paper, 140 lb cold pressed and 100% cotton and also measures 19 cm x 29 cm. I did wonder whether to add more detail to this version but decided to leave it just as it is.

So which one of my two rock piles do I prefer? I like both versions but… this loose version has a little bit more of the “wow factor” for me personally. I prefer this one. This loose version appeals more to my creative nature.

So what do I learn from this? Everybody has to find their own style of painting. This teaches me that my natural style of watercolour painting is meant to be loose, more impressionistic than realistic – painting this way brings me much more excitement and happiness…

Watercolour

Rock Pile

Rock Pile - NB

A rock pile on the beach. This is a watercolour sketch created as an interpretation of one of my own photos. I’ve been watching Hazel Soan’s DVD “On The Rocks”. It’s inspirational – she makes it look so easy. This is my first attempt at putting into practice some of the techniques she demonstrates on the DVD.

My rock pile was painted on Saunders Waterford High White paper, 140lb Cold Pressed & 100% cotton. It measures 19 cm x x29 cm. The bulk of the rocks were painted with only two colours – Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and French Ultramarine. I love how they granulate. Tiny amounts of other colours were used for the shadows.

I started with a very basic pencil sketch. This was lots of fun to paint and I’m inspired to try some more…

Watercolour

An Atlantic View

An Atlantic View - NB
An Atlantic View

A watercolour seascape sketch ~ large waves rolling in on to the sea shore on Cornwall’s Atlantic coastline…

In this seascape I was practicing painting waves assisted by carefully created back-runs. It was partially successful – I need to practice it more. The tricky bit is to make sure I reserve white enough paper for the waves first and then create the back-runs by adding the just right amount of clean water with a clean brush in just the right places at the right time and tilt the paper if necessary to ensure the water runs in the right direction.

The sky was painted using Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna. The grey was created by mixing the two colours in the palette first. The ocean was painted mostly with Prussian Blue along with Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue and Cascade Green. The little bit of sand at the bottom was painted with Buff Titanium. The horizon is a little wonky but then it is only a practice sketch so I’m not going to worry about that…

My seascape measures 19 cm x 29 cm and was painted on Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper (100% cotton). This was some very enjoyable watercolour practice…

Watercolour

My Daniel Smith Paint Box

My DS Paint Box - NB

This is my custom built Daniel Smith paint box! I bought the watercolour tin with 24 empty full pans. When it arrived I noticed that I had space to fit in 8 half pans as well, so my DS paint box has 32 colours in it in total. Filling the pans is a slightly fiddly process and takes time – it took me several weeks! I filled the pans in layers and it took about 3 – 4 layers to fill each pan. You have to leave each layer to dry before adding the next – this can take several days, sometimes up to a week! But it was all worth the time and effort.

I now have a lovely set of Daniel Smith paints that is easily portable when I travel. The paints re-wet very easily and I’ve used my DS paint box quite a lot already as you may have noticed from the picture above…

As it’s not obvious what all the colours are from the above photo, I did a quick colour chart:

Colours in my DS Paint Box - NB

From left to right, the colours are as follows:

Top Row: Buff Titanium, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Permanent Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Perylene Red, Quinacridone Coral

2nd Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Cobalt Violet Deep, Carbazole Violet, Lavender, Indigo, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium

3rd Row: Phthalo Blue Green Shade, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Viridian, Prussian Green

4th Row: Cascade Green, Rich Green Gold, Raw Sienna Light, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Sepia, Paynes Blue Gray

This is quite a comprehensive set of colours and suits my needs. I can pretty much mix all the colours I should need whilst sketching on my travels. You’ll notice there are quite a few blues and greens – they are my ocean colours – I have to have them! I love the ocean and all things related. I love sketching “seaside stuff” when I’m on my travels…

Watercolour

A Door Leading To…

Adventure…

A Door Leading To Adventure - NB
A Door Leading To Adventure…

I spent an hour or so in my studio yesterday evening painting with my watercolours, even though I was exhausted after a very hard day at “The Office”. Once I get absorbed in watercolour painting I very quickly forget how tired I am – it relaxes me.

I didn’t have any idea what to paint, I just started to move some colours across the paper. I added water with a clean brush, let it run down the paper and watched the colours mix. An image started to form – a door was appearing… ! Then I decided it needed some flowers round the door… and a door step…

I pretty much made this up as I went along… and it was nice to paint with absolutely no agenda, no pressure or expectations – just enjoying the act of painting with watercolours. I like how it turned out – to me it almost looks like something out of a fairy tale. I love it’s looseness and how it has just enough detail to know what it is…

I decided it was a door leading to adventure – for me, a door leading to lots of exciting watercolour adventures! Where would this door leading to adventure take you… ?

Technical info: Saunders Waterford High White watercolour paper – 100% cotton, 140 lb NOT, Daniel Smith Watercolours, measures 14 cm x 17 cm

Watercolour

Beached

Beached - NB
Beached

A watercolour seascape sketch ~ an old weather beaten, sea worn boat beached on the shore…

Beached Colours - NB
“Beached” seascape colours

 

 

Left are the colours I used. Prussian Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold and Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet are by Daniel Smith; Ultramarine Blue, Van Dyck Brown and Lamp Black are by Winsor & Newton.

I did start this with a very simple pencil sketch, just very basic outlines and no detail.

I wanted my watercolour sketch to have a degree of looseness to it.

I love the colours I chose for my boat ~ all very lovely “seaside” colours…

It was painted on 140 lb cold pressed watercolour paper and measures 15 cm x 20 cm.

I’ve learnt lessons and grown from painting my boat. I’m slowly but surely improving and developing my watercolur skills. More simple watercolour sketches will follow…

Most of all I had FUN painting this ~ painting with watercolours is beautiful and exciting as well as relaxing and therapeutic all at the same time…

 

Watercolour

The Beginnings Of A Seascape

Beginnings Of A Seascape - NB
Beginnings Of A Seascape

This is the beginnings of a seascape created using cling film (plastic wrap) inspired by Jean Haines’ World Of Watercolour book. The cling film creates lovely textures and patterns in wet pigment. In theory this is a fairly simple technique to use, so why have I struggled to get good results with it ?? However, I have persevered with it and above is probably my most successful attempt so far. The colours, textures and patterns in my seascape wash are beautiful. The cling film has helped to create a wild turbulent ocean. Please click the image to view it larger…

The colours I used were Winsor & Newton’s Winsor Blue Green Shade, Winsor Green Blue Shade and a tiny touch of Indian Yellow. All three are very strong pigments but they have worked together beautifully in my initial textured wash. I need to build on my initial seascape wash but I’m not going to rush it. I need to think carefully how I’m going to proceed with this painting and have some decisions to make before doing anything to it. So for now I’m just going to enjoy it as it is till I’ve decided…