Watercolour

Some Fun With Colour

I will begin this post with my custom built Winsor & Newton Professional watercolour paint box:

My W & N Paint Box - NB
My custom built Winsor & Newton professional paint box

This paint box started life as a 45 half pan set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours. Over many months I have gradually replaced the Cotman pans with Winsor & Newton Professional pans of my choice. The colours in this paint box have also been carefully selected to complement the colours in my Daniel Smith custom built paint box. The two paint boxes will constitute my sketching palette when I’m travelling.

There are 32 colours in my Winsor & Newton paint box…

Colours in my W & N Paint Box - NB

Going from left to right and starting with the top row, the colours are:

Naples Yellow, Winsor Lemon, Indian Yellow, Winsor Red, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet, Indanthrene Blue, Ultramarine Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green Blue Shade, olive Green, Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, Yellow Ochre, New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Paynes Grey, Lamp Black and Neutral Tint.

There are also 32 colours in my Daniel Smith paint box too. So that makes a total of 64 easily transportable colours at my disposal when I’m travelling. Happy days!

I picked 3 primary colours from my W & N paint box – Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue (Red Shade) – and created a colour chart to see how many different colours I could create from them. I started with a sheet of A4 Khadi paper and drew with pencil as many boxes as I could fit on the page. When I finished I had 83 boxes, including 3 for my original primaries. That’s a lot of boxes – could I fill them all… ?? A tiny amount of doubt crept in…

Winsor & Newton Primary Colours - nb
W & N primary colour chart : Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade)

First lesson learnt is to never doubt myself – of course I can fill all those boxes! I’ve done a few of these charts now and it never ceases to amaze me how many different colours/shades you can create from just a red, a yellow and a blue (and water of course)! It’s a great way to learn about colour theory and colour mixing. I highly recommend giving it a go, it doesn’t matter what red yellow or blue you use and it’s FUN !!

My next colour experiment involved Daniel Smith’s Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (MANS). I mixed it with a variety of different blues:

DS MANS With Blues - NB
Mixing Daniel Smith Monte Amiata Natural Sienna with Blues

Firstly I love the lovely soft greys you get when you mix MANS with French Ultramarine. When mixed with other blues you get some lovely earthy greens and wonderful soft turquoise greens.

My final colour experiment for this post is about mixing greys. The ready made grey colours available to the watercolourist are quite limited so learning to mix them is pretty much essential:

Twelve Shades Of Grey - NB
12 Shades Of Grey

Above are 12 shades of grey – 3 are ready made and 9 are mixed. Just in case you can’t read my handwriting, the grey shades are:

Top Row: Raw Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Burnt Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Paynes Grey (W & N), Paynes Blue Gray (DS), Neutral Tint (W & N)

Bottom Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson + Viridian (DS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre (DS), Carbazole Violet +Yellow Ochre +Viridian (DS), Raw Umber + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Indigo + Yellow Ochre (DS), Winsor Green (BS) + Winsor Red (W & N).

Time spent playing with colour is always time well spent – there’s so much to be learnt from it. When I don’t feel like painting something “serious” or specific, some colour experiments are just the right thing and they are so much fun to do!

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

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains - NB
The Blue Mountains

This watercolour sketch is an exercise in layering colour painted on khadi paper and inspired by Hazel Soan’s book The Essence Of Watercolour. When layering watercolours you have to let one layer dry completely before adding the next (unless you’re going for a wet in wet effect). This takes PATIENCE… ! I’ve found that patience is one of the hardest things to learn with watercolour painting – just letting certain areas of a painting dry completely without touching or fiddling. Hazel Soan is so right when she says in her book (link above) that much of a watercolourist’s life is spent watching paint dry… !

My landscape above is monochromatic but the colour was mixed in the palette first. The colours I mixed together for my landscape were: Prussian Blue, Indigo and Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue – all by Daniel Smith.  I’m going to practice layering much more and start experimenting with different colours to develop an idea of how they work together…

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Little Blue Hyrdrangea Flower

Little Blue Hydrangea Flower
Little Blue Hyrdrangea Flower ~ watercolour

A watercolour sketch of a little blue hydrangea flower. This sketch is my interpretation of one of my own photos which you can see below. This turned out not quite as loose as I originally intended it to be but I like it all the same. No pencil sketch for this – I just used my paintbrush to paint the general shape of the little flower and then gradually worked on some details. It’s worth clicking on the sketch to view it larger…

This is my original photo:

Ocean Blue - DIB

I think I will regard this as a practice sketch and have another go at this – try for a looser version and alter the colours a little, it’s all good practice…

WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Violet Study

Violets In A B;ue Glsss - NB
Violets In A Blue Glass

Following on from yesterdays post, this is another violet study. This time I used slightly different colours and varied the composition a little. The colours used this time were Winsor Violet, Winsor Blue Red Shade, Sap Green and Cadmium Yellow. It measures 19 cm x 28 cm and was painted on Arches paper.

It was a simple study to do but lots of fun and all part part of the learning process…

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…

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… !

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…

Collage

Old Books

Chemistry - NB

A collage made entirely from old book covers. It was created for prompt no.15 in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman, a collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn. Unfortunately Carolyn is unwell at the moment and wont be posting her collages for a while, but do visit her blog anyway and be inspired by her beautiful, creative mixed media artwork and textile art…

I used three different vintage book covers for this collage. I love the vintage blue colours and textures of the the different covers. Old books are great for collages!

Erosion Bundles

Summer Erosion Bundle 2017

Back in the summer I did a post documenting how I made my latest erosion bundles, you can read about it here. They’ve been in the garden for almost 2 1/2 months. Well, a few days ago I opened them up, carefully separated everything and left my papers and fabrics to dry….

Summer 2017 EB 1 - NB

Lots of rust and berry stains….

Summer 2017 EB 2 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 3 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 4 - NB

The lovely blue/mauve stains above and below are from blackberries….

Summer 2017 EB 5 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 6 - NB

It will come as no surprise that fabrics made from natural fibres (ie. cotton, silk, linen etc.) absorb colour and stains much better than synthetic fabrics. Below are two pieces of blackberry and rust stained silk….

Summer 2017 EB 7 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 9 - NB

All paper fragments, like the ones above, are kept and will be used in a future art project…

Summer 2017 EB 11 - NB

Pearl mica adds some shimmer on the papers below….

Summer 2017 EB 12 - NBSummer 2017 EB 13 - NBSummer 2017 EB 14 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 15 - NB

Beautiful rust stains below….

Summer 2017 EB 16 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 17 - NB

Above and below are both sides of the same piece. They’re actually two pieces of paper fused together, there’s just no hope of separating them. The rust stains are gorgeous. Some rusty washers are still attached. Below you can see some eye shadow and berry marks too. But what really intrigues me though is that round turquoise circle you can see on both sides of the paper. As yet, I have no idea what made that turquoise circle – it’s distinctly washer shaped, so I’m thinking that maybe one of my washers has reacted with something in my bundle. That’s one of the joys of erosion bundles ~ lovely things happen inside them ~ you never know what you’re going to find when you open them….

Summer 2017 EB 18 - NB

Below is some greaseproof paper from the kitchen – it’s quite good stuff to put into an erosion bundle, not too thick and fairly strong. There’s a dried blueberry stuck on it and you can also see some blackberry stains. In the middle on the right you can also see a pattern left by some fabric….

Summer 2017 EB 19 - NB

Below is a piece of bleached denim, it always stains well in an erosion bundle…

Summer 2017 EB 20 - NB

Summer 2017 EB 21 - NB

Below is some rusty jute….

Summer 2017 EB 22 - NB

So these are the results of my summer erosion bundles. I didn’t photograph everything, just the most interesting bits. I’ll have to start thinking about what to do for my next bundle. All these lovely papers and fabrics are going to be carefully stored till I need them. I’m hoping to use them in a new project next year – but more information about that later this year.