Watercolour

Abstraction

I recently attended a two part webinar hosted by Liz Hough from the St. Ives School of Painting. It was really interesting and inspiring to watch Liz explain and demonstrate a series of processes that can help inspire us to create abstract art. We were set homework and here’s my homework from the first webinar:

Abstract seascape study in watercolour
Abstract seascape study in watercolour

To create these abstract seascapes studies I chose to use watercolour paints. I painted several sheets of watercolour paper using a limited palette – I used Paynes Blue Gray, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Prussian Blue by Daniel Smith. The idea is that creating studies like these can help us to create more serious pieces of abstract art work. I like how these turned out. They inspire me. I will be exploring abstract art further. I also still have to do homework for the second webinar, so I will cover that in another post.

Also on the subject of abstraction, I created a collection of small abstract seascapes in indigo and arranged them in a mosaic form:

Abstract Indogo Seascapes

One of the squares in the above mosaic inspired me to paint this seascape:

Sailing Stormy Seas

I painted this stormy wild seascape in watercolour on Arches Rough watercolour paper, 140 lb. The colours I used were Winsor & Newton’s Indigo, Cascade Green and Manganese Blue Hue by Daniel Smith. Did you guess the square in the mosaic that inspired this? It’s not hard, it was the second line down and the second in from the left!

If you’re interested in my watercolour work please consider following me on instagram – @evelynflintwatercolours – as I post there a bit more frequently than here on my blog. But of course I will always post more information about my work here on my blog.

I’m concluding my post with a great quote from Oscar Wilde:

“Art only begins where imitation ends”

Hazel Soan quoted this at the end of an interview she recently gave. It got me thinking, and I hope it will get you thinking too…

Watercolour

Seascape Practice

This weekend I started some watercolour seascape practice…

Beach 1 - NB

This was just a fairly quick sketch. The wave was created from a deliberate watermark. Once dry I added a little detail and definition. The colours I used were Prussian Blue, Cobalt Turquoise Light and Raw Sienna, by Winsor & Newton. And I also used some Buff Titanium by Daniel Smith. All the white areas in the painting are white paper.

Ocean 2 - NB

In the above painting I have used masking fluid to reserve the white of the wave and sea spray – no gouache or other white medium has been used. I have to say that I’m not mad keen on masking fluid… BUT I’m even less keen about using white gouache (and other white mediums) to add whites to a watercolour. The whitest white in a watercolour painting will always be the white of the paper. The white paper in a watercolour reflects light beautifully. White gouache is less efficient at reflecting the light and will never appear a white as the original white paper; plus overusing white gouache (or similar) can make a painting look dull.

I have decided that in my watercolour work I would rather reserve the white paper for my whites as much as possible and only use Winsor & Newton’s professional Titanium White watercolour paint (not gouache) for whites when absolutely necessary. As well as masking fluid there are other ways to reserve the white paper which I will explore in another post.

Beach 2 - NB

Above is a simple sea shore. Again the white areas are white paper reserved by masking fluid. I have to say that my masking fluid application skills need to improve somewhat…! I’ll work on it. The colours used in this painting were Paynes Grey, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue GS, Raw Umber and Raw Sienna, all by Winsor & Newton. I also used Buff Titanium and Goethite by Daniel Smith.

So to conclude, whilst I’m not mad keen about masking fluid, I can see that there are occasions when it’s advantageous or necessary to use it. I really enjoyed painting these seascapes. I have a longing to be by the sea…

Follow me on Instagram @evelynflintwatercolours

Watercolour

Koala

Koala 1 - NB
Koala in watercolour, 19 cm x 29 cm

This cute little koala is the subject matter of the latest tutorial in Jean Haines Online Art School. This was really fun to do. It’s not something I would have painted normally but it’s good to be challenged to paint something a little different. It is watercolour of course and the colours I used were: Lunar Blue, Indigo, Cobalt Violet Deep, Quinacridone Gold and Goethite (Brown Ochre), all by Daniel Smith. The paper I used was Winsor & Newton Professional paper, 140 lb Rough. This is really lovely paper to paint on.

August is texture month in Jean’s online art school. Whilst lots of members in Jean’s school will be having lots of fun with this, I have decided to pretty much opt out. Why? It’s because texture month involves using “texture products” like crackle mediums and the like. To me, once you start using these products in a watercolour painting it stops being a watercolour painting and becomes a MIXED MEDIA painting of which watercolour is a part. My passion in art is for watercolour – pure and simple. I love watercolour for it’s transparency, beautiful colour fusions and watermarks. Somehow all this is lost with the introduction of texture mediums. Look at my painting below:

Mini Textured Cockerel - NB
Cockerel on a mini canvas with DS Watercolor Ground & watercolours

Does it look like a watercolour? Answer is no… !! Here Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground has been used to prime a canvas and then a create texture, over which I have painted a cockerel with watercolours. But I might just as well have painted this with acrylic paints. With the application of the watercolour ground as a texture, all the lovely qualities of the watercolour medium have been lost. I like the Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground as a means of being able to paint with watercolours on alternative surfaces like canvas or wood. But as a texture medium? NO !! Also, as DS Watercolor Ground is acrylic emulsion, I would personally never use it to recover lost white areas in a watercolour either; to me, doing so also turns a watercolour painting into mixed media.

I have nothing at all against mixed media art but it’s not where I want to be in my art journey right now. I even have some ideas of my own for incorporating some mixed media into my watercolour work at some point in the future. But when I do that I will clearly label it as watercolour with mixed media. I joined Jean’s lovely art school to try and learn some her beautiful watercolour skills. Not to learn mixed media art techniques…

The bottom line here is that I seem to have strong tendencies towards being a watercolour purist. Who knew… ! I’ve learnt something new about myself…

Watercolour

Sunflowers, Sweet Peas & Elephants

Elephant - Mother & Baby - NB
Elephants – Mother & Baby, 28 cm x 19 cm on Arches 140 lb Rough paper

Painting elephants in watercolour was one of the recent tutorials in Jean Haines online watercolour school. Painting these elephants really pushed me out of my comfort zone. This is my first ever attempt at painting a whole elephant – I’d only previously done a head study. I used just three main colours – Raw Sienna Light, Ultramarine Blue and Green Apatite Genuine by Daniel Smith but I did also use just a touch of Winsor & Newton Titanium White for the tusks. I’m quite pleased with my elephants… !

Sunflower 2 - NB
Sunflower in watercolour, 28.5 cm x 19 cm on Arches Rough paper

Sunflowers and Sweet Peas were also on the agenda in “art school” too. I love sunflowers – they’re so bright, sunny and bold. For the yellow petals I used a mixture of Hansa Yellow Medium and Insoindoline Yellow and for the centre I used Rose of Ultramarine, Quinacridone Gold and Transparent Red Oxide – all by Daniel Smith.

Sweet Pea Study 1 - NB
Sweet Peas in watercolour

In direct contrast to the sunflower, Sweet Peas are so much more delicate and need much softer, pastel colours and a light hand. I love these delicate washes of colour. I painted these on Fabriano Artistico Extra White paper, 140 lb Rough. I used an assortment of colours for these but the colour that really made a difference to them was Phthalo Turquoise by Daniel Smith – it’s a stunning colour…

Sweet Peas 2 - NB
Sweet Peas in Watercolour

Lots more happening in my watercolour world. I have lots of roses in my garden, so I would like to be painting some roses over the coming week. And I feel the need to be painting some seascapes. Bye for now…

Follow me on Instagram @evelynflintwatercolours

Watercolour

Simple Landscapes

Here are some simple watercolour landscapes. The emphasis here is on SIMPLICITY…

The first is inspired by a photo I took in St. Ives of Porthminster Beach from quite a high vantage point. There was a huge expanse of beach and only two people on it – how peaceful and serene it must have been for them…

All ToYourselves - NB
Having The Whole Beach All To Yourselves

My Second landscape is just a simple wave crashing on the shore. The wave was created by making deliberate watermarks in the Phthalo Blue Turquoise watercolour paint…

Crashing Wave - NB
Crashing Wave

Creating waves like this is a very simple technique I’ve taught myself – it’s all about timing. I have my paper on a flat surface (not on an easel); I then carefully drop clean water into a wet wash where I want my wave to be. The wash needs to be not really wet but not too dry either – somewhere in between. Then I carefully tilt the paper so the watermarks develop in the direction I want them to go. When I can see a definite wave shape starting to form I place my paper back on a flat surface to dry – no fiddling with it !! With this technique no two waves are ever going to be the same – you will create something different and unique every single time. I like that! Something to bear in mind, if you feel like trying this, is that the smoother the paper you use the faster your watermarks will form and will the bigger they will tend to be. So controlling how much water you use and where you place it is essential. Try it – it’s so much fun…

The third landscape is inspired by by my trip to Scotland last September. This is a misty early morning view of the Moray Firth. The beach, sea and sky all gently merge into each other in the mist and everything is perfectly still and quiet…

Misty Dawn - NB
Misty Dawn

My fourth landscape is straight out of my imagination – poppies in golden fields on a beautiful summers day…

Poppies in Fields of Gold - NB
Poppies In Fields Of Gold

My fifth landscape is an abstract Cornish seascape. Stormy skies over a turquoise sea, loosely based on the unusual light and weather patterns that often occur in Cornwall…

Storm at Sea - NB
Storm At Sea

All of these landscapes I have entered into the Landscape Escape Challenge in Jean Haines online art school . They are all very different but all very easy and fun to do.

Watercolour

Alfie

This is Alfie and he is a super cute cockapoo!

Alfie 1 - NB
Portrait of Alfie in watercolour

It’s not perfect but I’m quite pleased with how my first attempt turned out. Dogs are the latest tutorial in Jean Haines online art school. I don’t have any pets so I asked my nephew Declan to email me some photos of his dogs –  they have two. I picked Alfie because he seemed very slightly easier to paint out of the two… !

I used Daniel Smith watercolours – Buff Titanium, Raw Sienna Light, Sepia, Quin. Burnt Scarlet and Quin. Burnt Orange. I enjoyed painting Alfie but have to admit that painting dogs and cats aren’t my first choice of watercolour subjects to paint. However, I’ve embraced the dog (and cat) tutorial and viewed it as a useful learning curve to improve my watercolour skills and techniques. Happy days!

Watercolour

Cat Portrait

Yesterday I painted my first ever cat in watercolour…

Cat Portrait - NB
Cat Portrait in watercolour

I painted it without a pencil sketch. I used an assortment of Daniel Smith watercolours: Manganese Blue Hue, French Ultramarine, Flint Grey, Lunar Blue, Sepia, Aussie Red Gold and Quinacridone Rose. It was painted on Saunders Waterford NOT paper, 200 lb.

I did do a pencil drawing of the cat in my sketchbook first:

Cat Drawing - NB
Simple cat portrait pencil sketch

It’s not a detailed drawing but has just enough information to recognize that it’s a cat. If I can draw a cat in my sketchbook with a pencil then I should be able to “draw” a cat with a paintbrush on watercolour paper. However, if I can’t draw a simple cat with pencil in my sketchbook then I don’t stand a chance of being able to paint a cat on watercolour paper…

Also I practiced painting cat’s eyes on small pieces of watercolour paper first. If the eyes are not right then the whole cat will not look right…

Cats Eyes - NB
Cats eyes practice

I did make a note of what colours I used for my cats eyes by each one for future reference. The potential colour combinations are endless…

My cat portrait is my interpretation of a tutorial by Jean Haines. It was fun painting a cat and it’s something completely different for me. What new watercolour challenges will there be next?

Watercolour

Spring Flower Studies

I’ve been continuing with my spring flower studies. Two more to share today:

Blossom - NB
Blossom – watercolour flower study

First is some blossom, seen on my daily walk. I used Quinacridone Rose (DS) for the flowers. I purposely kept it very simple, tried not to add too much detail.

Next spring flower study was some Muscari:

Muscari - NB
Muscari flowers – a study in watercolour

My muscari flowers study was based on a tutorial by Jean Haines. It’s much looser than my previous study. I love the bold blues with a hint of violet and turquoise. Exact colours I chose to use were: Indanthrene Blue (W & N), Phthalo Turquoise (W & N), Manganese Blue Hue (DS), Phthalo Blue GS (DS), Winsor Violet (W & N) and Cascade Green (DS). Below you can see all these colours (from left to right) in a “dancing ladies” exercise that Jean recommends doing:

Dancing Ladies for Muscari Study - NB
“Dancing ladies”  – a watercolour exercise to decide on colour choices

Both flower studies were fun to do. But they are also a part of a learning curve for me; learning about pigments, how they interact with each other; and learning how to capture a the essence of a subject with minimal detail.

There may be a few more flower studies to follow… 🙂

Watercolour

Spring

Well, spring is springing very beautifully in my little corner of the world. We may be in lockdown but you can’t lockdown spring….

Spring Flowers - NB
Buttercup & Forget-Me-Not studies in watercolour

Yesterday I did some Forget-Me-Not and Buttercup studies in watercolour. These pretty little flowers I’ve observed on my daily walk. All were painted on Arches paper, torn in to 10 cm x 19 cm strips. I used a Rosemary and Co kolinsky sable brush and a Silver Black Velvet script brush.

Forget-Me-Nots - NB
Forget-Me-Not studies in watercolour

I used Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Blue for the Forget-Me-Not flowers. Just quick loose watercolour studies, trying to capture the essence of the flowers rather than doing botanical studies….

Buttercups - NB
Buttercup studies in watercolour

Buttercups – weeds or wild flowers? Whatever your view – they add a vibrant splash of colour to the environment. For the Buttercup flowers I used Hansa Yellow Medium (DS) and Cadmium Yellow Medium (DS).

I kept all these watercolour studies simple, trying to adopt a “less is more” approach. I loved painting these. And I’m making the most of the extra time I have right now to paint and have fun with my watercolours.

#rosemaryandcoareopen