Art · Watercolour

Beach Treasures

Beach Treasures - NB
Beach Treasures

I had a lovely long walk along the beach this morning. The tide had pushed the pebbles into piles and washed up some lovely interesting things. I gathered a few shells and decided that I would paint some of them when I got home. The limpets were lovely greys and redish browns and I even found one with a band of green around it…

Above you can see my painting endeavors. On the whole I’m very pleased with my sea shell sketches. I painted straight onto Arches watercolour paper, 140 lb NOT, (29 cm x 18 cm) no pencil sketches! And I do believe that my drawing skills are improving. I guess practice pays off…

Art · Watercolour

Grab A Glass… !

Grab A Glass - NB
Grab A Glass!

A fun watercolour I did yesterday ~ a bottle of wine, just sitting quietly on the work top in the kitchen waiting to have it’s cork removed… !

This was painted on A4 Khadi paper, 300 lb and 100% cotton. I probably won’t buy this paper again but I need to use up what I already have. The colours I used were Winsor Violet and Indigo for this watercolour.

This was just pure fun to paint and it puts a smile on my face. And it’s also good practice for me. Painting with watercolours doesn’t always have to be about producing “a masterpiece”, sometimes it’s enough to just have fun painting simple every day things. And it’s very relaxing and therapeutic…

Art · Watercolour

Experimental Seascape

Experimental Seascape - NB

An experimental seascape in my Khadi paper sketchbook. The sky is indigo and the sea is a mixture of different blues plus Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold. It looks more effective when viewed from a distance and the real thing looks better than the photograph! I’ve been trying to build up a few light layers of colour without overdoing it. I was tempted to work on this a bit more but I think I’ll leave it as it is…

MIXING RICH GREEN GOLD

I’ve also had a little play with Daniel Smith’s Rich Green Gold (not to be confused with Daniel Smith’s Green Gold, a different colour)…

Mixing Rich Green Gold - NB

First I mixed Rich Green Gold with some popular blues. You can see from the chart above I made some lovely green shades. Then I mixed the Rich Green Gold with some reds and made some lovely browns and burnt orange colours. The photograph doesn’t really do them justice. What I’ve learnt from this is that if I want to create some lovely vibrant earth colours then Daniel Smith’s Rich Green Gold is a good colour to create them with…

Art · Watercolour

Making Waves…

Making Waves - NB

This started out as a colour exercise from a Jean Haines book but it didn’t turn out right. So I just tossed it to one side and started something else. A while later I went back to it and decided maybe I could do something with it…

So I carefully lifted out an area of colour. I added clean water with a clean brush to the area and carefully dabbed of the paint off with a screwed up clean paper towel. No scrubbing! I did this about three times till most of the colour had gone. Then I used my new “white” area to turn a failed exercise into a seascape sketch. I like my crashing wave. When I look at this I can imagine myself stood on the beach, with the wind and sea spray blowing in my face, listening to the sound of the crashing waves…

Art · Watercolour

Exploring Colour

Paint Your Dreams - NB
Paint Your Dreams

My earliest childhood memories of playing with colours was with Carolyn sitting at our kitchen table, probably around 1970 give or take a bit (I’m showing my age!!). We would have our paints and colouring books out and we were very happy. Our paintboxes were very basic – we had a red, a blue, a yellow and a green! And when our paintboxes got a bit posher we also had a white and a black!! So if we wanted an orange, a purple or a brown we had to mix it! We didn’t worry about getting it wrong or making a mess – it was fun, we loved it. Little did we know that such innocent childhood fun would set us up for artistic adventures later in life…

Paintbox Colours - NB
The only colours Carolyn & I had in our childhood paintboxes ~ a red, a yellow a blue & a green…

Why am I mentioning this? Well, in this post I’m, in effect, going back to my childhood days and I’m starting off with just the basics – a red, a yellow and a blue. And with just those colours to hand I’m going start exploring… and I’m not going to worry about getting it wrong or making a mess… and it’s going to be fun

DS Primary Colours - NB

These are my starting colours – the Daniel Smith Primary Colour Set. One red, one yellow and one blue. No more. The primary colours. So with paints, palette, paper, water and brush in front of me I’m ready to have some fun mixing colour…

DS Primary Colour Char - NB
Mixing Daniel Smith Primary Colours

This is the result of a fun evening playing with Daniel Smith primary colours. At the very top of the chart you will see the primary colours on their own ~ all individually gorgeous colours in their own right. At the bottom of the chart you will notice a black colour – this was created by mixing small amounts of each undiluted colour together in my palette. Not all combinations of red, yellow and blue will reach black. But these did, although it did take me 3 attempts to get the ratio of pigments right! Now all the squares in between – 48 of them in total – are all the different colours I created by just mixing together different amounts of the three primary colours. Please view the chart larger by clicking on it as you will get a more detailed view of the lovely colours. So in total on this sheet of paper (19.5 cm x 28 cm) there are 52 colours! I could have created more but I ran out of space…

Now, why don’t I try some different reds, yellows and blues?

Triangular Colour Wheel 1 - NB
Triangular Colour Wheel 1 ~ Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow & Prussian Blue

In my triangular colour wheel above I’ve used Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and Prussian Blue. Notice that the Cadmium Red when mixed with a little Prussian Blue makes a rich brown colour and adding more Prussian Blue to the mix makes black – no purple… !

Triangular Colour Wheel 2 - NB
Triangular Colour Wheel 2 ~ Permanent Rose, Cerulean Blue & Naples Yellow

In this triangular colour wheel I’ve used Permanent Rose, Naples Yellow and Cerulean Blue. Notice how adding just a little Permanent Rose to the Cerulean Blue makes a gorgeous dark lavender blue.  And Cerulean Blue mixed with a little Naples Yellow makes a lovely pale turquoise and adding more Naples Yellow makes a lovely soft sage green.

These are just two examples but the different combinations of red, yellow and blue you could mix are almost endless. I will continue my colour exploration in another post. There’s a huge exciting world of colour out there to explore and this is only the beginning… !

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 New Gamboge 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…