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

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

Harvest Mouse

Harvest Mouse - NB1
Harvest Mouse

A little harvest mouse painted loosely in watercolour. This is my interpretation from the demonstration in Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour book. It was painted without a preliminary sketch first. It measures 28 cm x 19 cm. It was painted on Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough paper, 140 lb and 100% cotton.

My little harvest mouse may just be ever so slightly on the plump side… ! But I’m generally quite pleased with how he turned out. I was almost on the brink of overworking this – I had to stop myself from fiddling with it. I really enjoyed painting this little mouse – it was fun!

Watercolour

A Portrait Of Ewe

A Portrait Of Ewe - NB
A Portrait Of Ewe

My Portrait Of Ewe is based upon an exercise in Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolours book. I have to admit that I’ve skipped a few exercises in the book just to get to the sheep a bit quicker… ! I will go back and do the ones I left out….

Jean’s rendition of a sheep is so colourful and vibrant. I loved painting this. This was my third attempt, each one getting slightly better. This was fun to paint and it’s very good practice for me. It was painted on Arches Cold Pressed paper and measures 9″ x 6″.

Since buying and reading this book (I’ve actually read the book 3 times!) my watercolour painting has improved in leaps and bounds. It’s been a real eye opener for me. It’s taught me that I have to let go of all the things that were restraining me, holding me back. Let go of the fears too…

I can honestly say that I’m in a much better place with my watercolour painting now than before I studied this book. It has changed the way I think about and paint with watercolour forever. I can never go back…

I still consider myself to be, not a beginner anymore, but still in the early stages of my watercolour journey. I’ve only been seriously painting with watercolour for about one year.  I have a long way to go yet. And I need to practice, practice, practice and practice some more!

So if, like me, you’re learning to paint with watercolours too, keep going and never give up on your dream. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy – it’s going to take a lot of determination and hard work. But we CAN do it…. !