Watercolour

One Of Your Five A Day?

We all know that we’re supposed to try and eat at least portions of fruit and veg a day but how about painting them instead… ?

Cherry Tomatoes - NB
Cherry Tomatoes

This was a really fun way of getting “one of your 5 a day”.  This watercolour is only small – 14cm x 17cm. It was painted on Arches Aquarelle NOT paper, 140lb. Paints used were Aussie Red Gold, Perylene Red, Green Gold and Undersea Green – all by Daniel Smith. I used two sable brushes by Rosemary & Co for the tomatoes and a Silver Black Velvet Script Liner for the green stuff.

The colour of the tomatoes was built up gradually in about 3 layers, letting each layer of colour dry before applying the next. Letting areas of a painting dry before continuing is a lesson that’s taken time for me to learn. Watercolour painting requires patience and I have to work at it continually!

Also, red is a colour I don’t often use in my watercolour painting so it made a nice change to paint these vibrant red cherry tomatoes. Why not see what veggies you’ve got and have a go at painting them – just for fun… !

Drawing & Sketching · Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Coastal Explorations

I have just recently returned from a 2 day workshop hosted by artist Debbie Lyddon at her Whelk Shed studio in Wells-Next-The-Sea. The theme of the workshop was Coastal Explorations. But before I tell you more about this exciting, creative workshop I must tell you a little about Debbie’s art and where you can find her work on the internet. Debbie has a website – debbielyddon.co.uk, she also blogs at debbielyddon.wordpress.com and you can find her on Instagram – debbie.lyddon. Please, please DO have a long look at her stunning, original and inspiring art work – she creates beautiful textile art, she also draws, sketches, paints with watercolours and creates with a whole host of other mediums too. You wont regret losing an hour or two exploring her work…

The workshop theme was Coastal Explorations. It was a 2 day workshop on the 11th & 12th of May (Saturday and Sunday). There were only 5 spaces on this workshop which were occupied by myself, my sister Carolyn and three other lovely ladies. The workshop sold out super quickly, so I was really pleased that Carolyn wasted no time in getting us booked up.

Debbie's Studio - NB
Debbie’s Studio

This is Debbie’s studio. It’s a lovely large, bright work space along the quay at the water’s edge in Wells-Next-The-Sea. We arrived just after 9 am for a 9.30 am start. The workshop ran till 4.30 pm each day. This is actually my first ever proper art workshop.

Once everyone had arrived we began by having to introduce ourselves to everyone, saying a little about ourselves. Then it was straight down to creative endeavors. Saturday morning was to begin with a SIGHT WALK but as it was raining we improvised and began by painting a large sheet of paper (about quarter imperial size) with watercolour paint – just totally random splashes of paint and mark making. This only took about 20 minutes or so and we left them to dry.

It had now stopped raining so we began our SIGHT WALK. Debbie had made us all a small sketchbook from drawing paper – neatly hand stitched. Armed with the sketchbook, along with a pencil and graphite stick, out we went for a walk along the marshes. We had to observe our surroundings, near and far,  and then make quick drawings and notes about what we saw. We were encouraged to FILL our sketchbooks! We also collected interesting things we found along the way – shells, rusty objects, pebbles etc.

Wells Quay 4
A SIGHT WALK along the marshes

This is where we walked, picked up interesting things from the shores of the quay and farther along we ventured up onto the dyke (the grass bank on the right of the photo).

Back in the studio we got down to creating things inspired by our sight walk. The painted sheet of paper we did at the outset we turned into a concertina book. We had to write notes from our sight walk into the book.

Concertina Book 1 - NBConcertina Book 2 - NBConcertina Book 3 - NB

How to cut and fold the paper to make the concertina book can be found in this book…Making Books - NB

Debbie highly recommended this book. I bought mine from Ebay for the princely sum of £1.50 and it’s as new. It is a brilliant book full of creative book ideas.

We also made plaster prints inspired by our sight walk. I’m not going into all the ins and outs of how to make plaster prints but if you ever get the opportunity to do it I highly recommend it. Here are my plaster prints…

Plaster Prints - NB
Plaster Prints

We used objects we found on our sight walk to make impressions in clay first then the plaster is used to make a print from the clay. I really like how my plaster prints turned out and this is something I would love to do again sometime.

Work In Progress - NB
Plaster prints in progress in Debbie’s Studio

Above is a view of our working space in Debbie’s studio. On the tables you can see our plaster prints in progress, paint trays, drawing materials etc.

As well as the plaster prints we also started to make a pocket for our concertina book (pictured earlier) to go in. We started by painting a piece of our chosen fabric with acrylic paint. If you look at Debbie’s work you will see that she creates lots of lovely rusty eyelets in her work. She showed us how she does this and we incorporated an eyelet in our fabric, which was left overnight in the studio to dry and hopefully go rusty…

Painted Fabrics Drying - NB
Our painted fabrics with eyelets, hanging to dry and rust in the studio…

I think this brings us to an end of the first day of the workshop. It was a full day but very productive and fun.

Day two of the workshop (Sunday) began at 9.30 am again. We began by making our own hand made sketchbook to take outside for a SOUND WALK. I absolutely loved making my own sketchbook. Debbie gave us all a standard bookbinding needle, which we took home with us. We used the correct linen thread for book binding too. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never really knew how to go about it.

Debbie showed us a Powerpoint presentation about seeing sound and translating sounds into art – very interesting. Then we went outside, like the previous day, with the sketchbooks we made ourselves for a SOUND WALK. For the sound walk it was all about what we can hear and not what we can see. We had to just listen to everything around us, near and far and document it in words and drawing/mark making in our sketchbooks.

Sight & Sound Sketchbooks - NB
My Sight and Sound Sketchbooks from the workshop
Sound Walk Sketchbook 1 - NB
My hand made sketchbook made for the SOUND WALK

Above and below are images of my sound sketchbooks – just writing and drawing what I hear…

Sound Walk Sketchbook 2 - NB

Have you ever tried to draw sounds?  You don’t draw what’s making the sound – you have to draw the sound itself. Try it – you may find it quite tricky… !

Back in the studio we had to create a piece of art inspired by what we’d heard on our sound walk. We were given a really wide but short piece of watercolour paper to paint on and then fold into a concertina book. Here’s my sound inspired concertina book…

Concertina Book 4 - NB
An abstract watercolour in book form inspired by sound

Concertina Book 5 - NB

Above and below are two closer views of my sound inspired concertina book…

Concertina Book 6 - NB

Abstract swooshes of watercolour paint and and marks from a graphite stick…

Remember the painted fabrics we left to dry in the studio from the previous day? Today we waxed the fabric and then stitched them up by hand to create a pocket for the concertina book we made the previous day…

Bag For Concertina Book - NB
My hand stitched pocket with a watercolour concertina book inside

Stitch is really not my thing. But I embraced it and did it. I was just about as far out of my comfort zone as I could be doing this and my hand stitching is not great. I like the eyelet and it has a little rust on it. I quite like how the pocket turned out.

Sunday afternoon we also made a little box for one of our plaster prints to go in…

Plaster Print In Box - NB

It was made from felt dipped in wax and then tied up with wire. This was lovely to do and something I will definitely do again. This now sits on the windowsill in my home studio.

I think that pretty much brings us to an end of the two day workshop. It was a full two days – Debbie packed a lot into each day. We all had a lot of fun and learnt new things.

In between all the creativity each day, we had a tea break in the mornings with lovely cookies, lovely lunches each day of home made quiche, salads, cheese and fresh bread and tea break with home made cake in the afternoons! What more could you want? Also, I may not have documented everything we did in the exact order that we did it, but I think you’ve got a very good idea of how the workshop progressed.

What have I taken away from this workshop? Several things…

  • I love making my own sketchbooks/books and will continue to make lots more
  • I will try to increase my awareness of my surroundings via all of my senses
  • I will do more drawing, sketching, painting outside in inspiring locations using my own hand made sketchbooks
  • I will try to create new and unique art from the drawings, sketches and notes in my  handmade sketchbooks

The workshop has given me a valuable glimpse into Debbie’s thought process and work practice as an artist. She was very generous with her knowledge and resources. She also very kindly let us photograph the numerous pieces of art on display in her studio. But those photos I will not post – it’s up to you to make the effort to visit her website, blog or Instagram account. It’s a very inspiring way to spend an hour or two…

Drawing & Sketching

Simple Sketches

Trying to improve my drawing skills is an ongoing project of mine. The theory is that the better my basic drawing skills are, ultimately the better my watercolour painting will be. Everything has shape/form, perspective, light/shade etc. and being able to capture that reasonably accurately on paper (with any medium) is going be of enormous help to me.

So here’s a couple of simple pencil sketches done whilst watching TV in the evenings…

ballerina - nb
Bellerina
dancing - nb
Dancing

With these sketches I simply tried to capture the basic shape and form. I wasn’t concerned with huge amounts of detail but just enough to recognize what it is. I find getting the proportions (the size of one thing in relation to another) right is a challenge but very important for me to learn.

I did these sketches with a Derwent Precision mechanical pencil, 0.7 mm. It’s not expensive. And I had my trusty putty rubber handy too… !

Drawing is something I can do anywhere, any time. I keep a small, thin sketchbook in my handbag. But most of all… I like drawing – it’s fun…

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

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas - NB
Sweet Peas

A loose watercolour sketch of some Sweet Peas from a demonstration in Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour book. It was painted on Arches cold pressed paper. The colours I used were Rhodonite Genuine for the flowers and Prussian Green, Hansa Yellow Medium and a small touch of Yellow Ochre for the foliage – all Daniel Smith watercolours. I love Rhodonite Genuine – it’s a beautiful pink with just a small hint of granulation (although it’s not classed as a granulating paint). My sketch measures 11.5 cm x 28 cm (4.5 x 11 inches).

It’s lovely to be back painting again after not having much time for it lately. Although I dabble with a little mixed media art, collage and acrylics my passion is for watercolour. For me there’s nothing to rival it, there’s no other art medium that excites me like watercolour painting does. Magical things happen when you mix beautiful pigments with water on beautiful cotton paper. My watercolour journey continues…

Collage

Collages: Splashes Of Colour

I’m sharing three collages today as part of an ongoing collage project following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. Here is my collage for prompt no. 18 – tissue paper…

Indian Summer - NB
Indian Summer

This is a brightly coloured collage aptly named “Indian Summer”. Numerous scraps of tissue paper have been worked into this collage, of different colours, along with some dried flowers and a scrap of crocheted cotton…

Avocado Dreams - NB
Avocado Dreams

Above we have promt no 19 – cardboard. I used a strip of cardboard from a box that something was delivered in. I painted it with Titanium White acrylic paint, left it to dry and then went over it with some acrylic craft paint called “Avocado”. I stuck it down the left side of my collage and it complements the other collage elements nicely…

Escape - NB
Escape

Here we have prompt no. 20 – maps. I tore up sections of three different maps and used them for the base of my collage. Then I used tea bag papers and fabrics scraps to collage over the top of the maps.

All three collages measure 20 cm x 20 cm. I have now also glued all my collages into a new A4 sketchbook and I have to say it’s nice to flip through the pages and see all the different collages I’ve created so far. Collages are a fun, no pressure way to create art…

Collage

The Return Of The Collage Project

Today, after a 3 month break,  I am resuming the collage project I was doing with my sister Carolyn. The project had been temporarily shelved for an assortment of reasons but I can now see my way clear to resume where I left off. Carolyn probably wont be posting any for a while yet but do click the link and enjoy browsing through her art work anyway.

For our collage project we were following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. It’s a great book with wonderful creative collage ideas. Today I begin with prompt no. 16 which is “upside down”. Here’s what I did…

Drifting Into Autumn - NB
Drifting Into Autumn

I have chosen soft autumn colours for this collage and I have deliberately placed several elements of the collage upside down. In my corner of the UK autumn is setting in early – trees are changing colour in the park and leaves are dropping like mad. It’s more than likely due to our unusually hot summer and lack of rain.

I have also done prompt no. 17 which is “finger paint”. I had to place some paint onto my collage using only my fingers – a little bit messy but quite fun to do…

Summer Breeze - NB
Summer Breeze

Soft blue shades dominate this collage. White and turquoise acrylic paint was fingered down the left hand side of the collage but I have covered over some of it with collage elements. There is also some white paint across the top too. Erosion Bundle paper was used for this collage along with some used teabags, some scrim and a couple of bits of flaky paint I found in the harbour which probably came off a boat or two…

I love collage – it’s so much fun. I love how it’s a form of art that anyone can do, whether you have no art experience at all or are a seasoned professional artist. Collage can be as simple or as complex as you wish. It’s a fun way to let your imagination run wild.

More collages are in progress as I speak and I will post them soon. Why not try a little collage work this week… ?

Watercolour

Watercolour Rose Macro

Watercolour Macro Rose - NB
Watercolour Rose Macro

A rose macro painted loosely in watercolour. It was painted on Arches paper. The colours I chose to use were Naples Yellow, Quinacridone Rose and Rhodonite Genuine ~ all by Daniel Smith. This painting is my interpretation of one of my own photos shown below…

Macro Rose

Painting an exact copy of the photo is not what I wanted to do – Hazel Soan’s words ring in my ears “you are using the subject matter to create a watercolour, not using watercolour to recreate the subject”. Just capturing the essence of what’s in the photo or my own interpretation is enough. At the end of the day, for me it’s all about getting lots of practice at painting with watercolours and this was very good practice for me…

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

DS Colour Combinations - NB
Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

I indulged in a little colour play very early this morning before it got too hot. Here are 14 pairs of colours I’ve put together on a page in my khadi paper sketchbook. The colours I’ve used are:

Left Column:    (from the top)

Indigo + Permanent Orange, Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise, Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue Green Shade (GS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre, Rhodonite Genuine + Cadmium Yellow Medium & Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold

Right Column     (from the top)

Paynes Blue Gray + Raw Sienna Light, Phthalo Blue GS + Cobalt Teal Blue, Carbazole Violet + Indigo, Buff Titanium + Potters Pink, Cobalt Teal Blue + Buff Titanium, Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise & Viridian + Phthalo Blue GS

All paints used were by Daniel Smith…

The colours in each pair look lovely together. And as far as colour combinations go, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I haven’t consulted a colour wheel for this exercise and there are no rules. I’ve simply used my own judgement as to what colours I feel look good together in pairs. Many of the colour pairs I tried out first on a piece of scrap paper before painting them in my sketchbook.

I love all these pairs of colours but I do have some favourites… ! For example I especially love the Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples yellow together. Another favourite is the Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue GS. Also  favourites are the Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise and Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold….

This is such a fun way for me to expand my knowledge of colours, pigments and and how they react with each other on paper. And it’s also a wonderful way to work out which colours I personally like or don’t like together. I will do some more colour charts like this with different colour pairs – I have lots of colours I haven’t tried yet…

It is worth clicking on the image to view it larger.  You can also take this exercise a step further and put different sets of pairs together to make a foursome; for example why not put the ‘Permanent Orange +Phthalo Blue GS’ pair with the ‘Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue’ pair – that would make a lovely foursome. Or I could put the ‘Carbazole Violet + Indigo’ pair with the ‘Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise’ pair – that would be a gorgeous foursome. You get the idea…

Building up a collection of colour charts like this is a lovely way of seeing at a glance which colours could work for you and which do not. So why not get all your colours out and start pairing them up on a large sheet of paper – you may get some lovely colourful surprises…

WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Vintage Bottle

Vintage Bottle - NB
Vintage Bottle

A vintage bottle from my kitchen window sill painted with watercolours. The bottle is quite old and the glass is a lovely turquoise/green colour when the light shines through it. Having been inspired by Jean Haines new book Atmospheric Flowers In Watercolour, I started looking for different vases, glasses etc. that I could put flowers in to paint. Then I remembered my little vintage bottle collection – they would be perfect to put flowers in! This is a practice watercolour sketch done in my khadi paper sketchbook. I thought I’d better practice getting the shape of the bottle right first before starting a proper painting…

From my sketch you can see that the top of the bottle has been broken in the past and the glass is rough and uneven. The bottom and sides of the bottle are thick and domed. The colours I chose to capture my vintage bottle were Cobalt Teal Blue, Cobalt Turquoise and Viridian. Now I just need a nice rose to go in it and I will have a lovely floral still life to capture in watercolour…

#WorldWatercolorMonth