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…

Art · Watercolour

Cornish Roof Top Sketches

When I visited my sister in Cornwall a few weeks ago I spent a little time doing some sketching outside the front of her house. As the house is quite high up on a hill you get a nice view of the Cornish roof tops. So I decided to sketch a few.

Cornish Rooftops Pencil Sketches - NB

I used a HB pencil on A4 sketchbook paper. This was good practice for me – I need lots of practice at drawing! Reasonably happy with my basic sketches I started to think about painting them….

Cornish Rooftop Colours - NB

My sketches were going to be painted with watercolours but first I needed to decide on what colours to use. After doing several tests on some spare paper, the colours above are what I chose to use. Cornish roof tops are predominantly grey with lots of yellow lichen growing on them. The chimney pots are lovely – very old fashioned terracotta pots in lots of lovely different shapes and styles…

Cornish Rooftop Painted 1a - NB

You can click on the images to see larger views. I did make a classic beginners mistake when painting these – I diluted my paint slightly too much. Hence the colours aren’t quite as strong as I would like. But I’ll put that down to experience and try to improve on that in the future! On the whole though, I like how my Cornish roof tops turned out. Here’s some closer views…

Cornish Rooftop Painted 2 - NB

Cornish Rooftop Painted 3 - NB

Lots more sketching is on the agenda in the future to hopefully improve my drawing and painting skills…..

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 22

Welcome to week 22 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week in  the workshop we were using pours. Pours are created by mixing acrylic paint with different mediums to create a pouring mixture which you then pour onto your art and let it run. Here’s my sample:

Week 22 - Pours - NB

To create pours you can mix the paint with an assortment of different acrylic mediums. I used just a little gloss gel and water with my acrylic paint. The colours I used were: Paynes Grey, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue and White. I started with a collage base and then let my diluted paint run over it. I like how the colours have run and mingled together. I particularly like how they’ve run over the textured paper in the top left corner. Here’s a closer view:

Week 22 - Pours - Macro 1 - NB

I enjoyed using pours this week and this is something I will do again in the future. Next week in the workshop we’re using shaving foam – it’s going to get messy! But I’m still looking forward to it….

Art · Watercolour

Sail Away….

Sail Away - NB

A quick and simple wet in wet watercolour seascape sketch. It took me about 10 minutes. It measures just 5″ x 3.5″. I used just blue paints, apart from a tiny touch of white guache for the sails of the boat…

Colours used: Prussian Blue, Indigo,  Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue

Paper: Fabriano Artistco Watercolour Paper, 100% cotton, 140 lb Cold Pressed

You don’t always have to labour for days and hours over a detailed masterpiece, sometimes something quick and simple is enough….

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 21

Week 21 of the Surface treatment workshop is about embedding items into a work surface. Embedding helps to create interesting textures that seem to be custom made to a piece of art work.

I did just one sample for this week and kept it very simple…,

Week 21 - Embedding - NB

I attached a piece of lace fabric to some sketchbook paper with modelling paste and then blended the edges of the fabric into the surface with a bit more modelling paste. I left it to dry and painted stripes of colour over it. The fabric has blended into the paper quite well. Here’s a closer view…

Week 21 - Embedding - Macro - NB

The edge of the fabric blended quite seamlessly into the work surface….

The touch of sparkle is a touch of pearl mica in a shade called Diamond Dust – it’s one of my favourites….

This sample will be added to my growing pile of samples ready for gluing into my STW Sketchbook…..

 

Art · Watercolour

Quick Watercolour Seascapes

Today I managed to find an hour to do a couple of quick watercolour seascape sketches….

St. Clements Isle Watercolour - NB

Above is a watercolour sketch of St. Clements Isle, just off the coast of Mousehole, Cornwall, UK. This is one of those paintings that is best viewed from a slight distance. This watercolour is loosely based on the photo below:

a-black-diamond-edit-nb

This is the other watercolour sketch I did this afternoon:

Turquoise Seascape - NB

This watercolour is of nowhere in particular and just came straight out of my imagination. I started this by wanting to just use up the left over paint in my palette and it kind of turned into a seascape…

I enjoyed doing these quick seascapes this afternoon. Both measure approximately 6″ x 4″ – just the right size to go into my watercolour sketchbook. Both were done on 140 lb watercolour paper.

By The Sea · Photography · Surface Texture

Mousehole Colours & Textures

Mousehole Colours & Textures - NB

Inspirational colours and textures in Mousehole, Cornwall, UK. Soft blues, greens and greys…

Blue Boat Texture - NB

Weathered blues, soft greens, flaky peeling paint and rust….

Harbour Blues & Rust - NB

These colours inspire me….. they make me want to get mixing watercolours in my paint palette and splash colour on paper….

Art · Erosion Bundles

The Making Of An Erosion Bundle

This is the post a few people have been waiting for…. ! This post is all about how I go about making my Erosion Bundles. I would like to state at the outset that this is NOT A TUTORIAL. In this post I am simply documenting how I made my current set of erosion bundles. Each time I make erosion bundles they are different – different ingredients, different papers, different fabrics etc. – it’s never the same.

I begin by gathering all of the things I need for my bundles. The primary components are the papers and fabrics….

Fabrics - NB

Papers 1 - NB

These are just a sample of the papers and fabrics I used. Next I need interesting things to go between the papers and fabrics…

Blackberries - NBBlueberries - NBRusty Stuff - NB

Tea Bags - NBEyeshadow - NBPearl Mica - NB

My ingredients above are: blackberries, blueberries, rusty stuff, teabags, eyeshadow and some pearl mica. The blueberries and blackberries I bought fresh from a local supermarket and froze them till I was ready to use them. All the rusty stuff I have rusted myself in my back garden! The eyeshadow was only 59p from a local discount store!

Ingredients gathered it’s now time to start layering papers and fabrics….

Paper & Fabric Layers - NB

Generally, I put the stronger, thicker papers and fabrics towards the outside of the bundle and the more fragile papers and fabrics nearer the centre of the bundle. At the base I started with a fairly strong piece of paper. In this case I used a piece of textured wallpaper as my base – textured side inside. It was approximately A5 size. Then I started randomly adding some of the staining ingredients on top. Then I added some fabric and more staining ingredients on top of that.  I like to vary the staining ingredients on each layer a little so each layer is slightly different. I added some more paper, more staining ingredients. I keep going till I have quite a thick pile of papers and fabrics layered up as in the picture above. You can see some blueberries and a rusty washer at the edges of the bundle in the picture above.

When my erosion bundle was about 4 – 5 inches high I decided that was enough and tied it all together with string….

Tied Bundle - NB

Tied Bundle - Side View - NB

You’ll notice in the first image above that I used quite a lot of string and I tie my bundles fairly tight as I don’t want anything falling out! You’ll also notice in the first image above that some of the string is stained…. that’s because I recycle my string! I always save the string from my previous erosion bundle and use it again for the next one if possible!

I had enough papers, fabrics and staining ingredients left over to make two more erosion bundles….

2 More Bundles - NB

Notice the recycled string again… ! All three bundles went out in the garden on Monday afternoon (24th July 2017). How long I leave them will depend on the weather. But I don’t want to open them till at least the end of September or possibly the end of October.

Hanging On The Fence - NB

The first bundle (above) is now hanging on my garden fence and the second two are sat on an old seat by my back door. It is hard leaving them for 2 -3 months – the curiosity is almost overwhelming – I’m dying to know what’s going on inside! But you just have to be self controlled, leave them alone and let nature and the elements work their magic on them….

For me, erosion bundles are all about experimenting! There are NO RULES – anything goes! In my view, there is no right or wrong way to do an erosion bundle! I’ve just gradually developed my own way of doing them. Some people like to use only natural ingredients in their bundles (fruit, veg, plants etc.) and that’s fine. But me, I’ll use anything! If I think it might make interesting marks, stains, textures, or cause interesting chemical reactions, I’ll try it! As with all experiments, some erosion bundles turn out better than others. Through my process I’m gradually learning what works and what doesn’t.

So for all you lovely people who have asked how I make my erosion bundles I hope this post has given you a little insight into how I go about making them. And maybe you might feel like giving it a go yourself…..

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 20

Week 20 of the Surface Treatment Workshop is all about using glazes. I’ve tried to be a little bit inventive with my glazes. I used Windsor & Newton’s Artists’ Acrylic Glazing Medium. Rather than producing lots of separate pieces I decided to do just one and divide it up into sections….

Week 20 - Collage Base - NB

As you can see above I started with a simple collage base, about 6″ x 6″, and you can see that I divided it into 6 roughly equal sections lightly with pencil. My idea then was to try a different glazing technique in each section…..

Week 20 - Glazes - NB

This is what I ended up with! Now let me explain a little about each section…..

Top left: very simple, I just mixed the glaze medium with a tiny amount of sepia acrylic paint to create a vintage looking effect

Top Middle:  I mixed the glazing medium with dried paint scraping from off one of my paint pallets. It created some lovely coloured texture

Top Right:  I created a “dirty” glaze by mixing the glazing medium with rust particles scraped off some of my rust collection. Also on this section I went over the right half with a second coat of glazing medium mixed with a tiny amount of light gold pearl mica. It’s created some lovely grunge/bling texture…

Bottom Left:  I mixed the glazing medium with PVA and heated it with a heat gun to create some texture. I then went over it again with more glazing medium mixed with tiny amounts of acrylic paint

Bottom Middle:  It’s not so easy to see in the photo but for this section I simply mixed the glazing medium with a light gold pearl mica. All the collage is clearly visible but it has a lovely light gold sheen over it

Bottom Right:  For this section I simply layered different coloured glazes over the top of each other to create layers of colour

Please view the larger version of the image by clicking on it and you can hopefully see the details better. I did notice that some of my collage papers absorbed the glaze while with others the glaze just sat on top. This creates different finishes – where the glaze is absorbed the finish is more matte rather than shiny…

I quite enjoyed glazing this week. My glazed collage will go into my dedicated STW Sketchbook. Next week back to some basics again with embedding…..