Watercolour

The Sky’s The Limit… !

I’ve been practicing painting skies. I would like to paint more landscapes this year. When painting landscapes quite often the sky is the first thing that is painted. Obviously I don’t want to “fall at the first hurdle” so I must practice!

I get a good view of the sunrise from the window in my little home studio, so I do get to see some very varied and interesting sky colours and cloud patterns in the early mornings; I’m hoping to draw inspiration from these. Also I have an archive of my own sky/sunrise/sunset photos (from my photography days) which I am going to draw inspiration from.

I have a collection of very different skies to share with you today. All the skies I’m about to share will be glued into a sketchbook, stating the colours I’ve used, for my future reference:

Above a storm is brewing! The colours I used were Ultramarine Blue, Indigo, Lunar Black, Burnt Sienna and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna. Daniel Smith watercolours were used for all the skies in this post; and all the skies were painted on Arches Aquarelle Rough, 140 lb except for one which was painted on Fabriano Artistico Extra White rough, 140 lb.

Here we have a bright blue sky with light fluffy white clouds with just a hint of grey. Colours used are Ultramarine Blue and Flint Grey (my own grey mix).

Heavy rain falling… ! Colours are Prussian Blue and Indigo. I’ve seen heavy rain like this falling in the distance out at sea…

Above is the one painted on Fabriano artistico Extra White paper. Colours are Ultramarine Blue and Sepia. The Sepia mixes with the Ultramarine to create some lovely greys…

More stormy skies! I threw some colours at this one – Prussian Blue, Paynes Blue Gray, Lunar Black, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Quinacridone Burnt Orange. Some artists chose not to use ready made blacks, preferring to mix their own but I keep Daniel Smith’s Lunar Black in my palette for several reasons – 1. It’s TRANSPARENT, 2. It GRANULATES, and 3. It MIXES beautifully with other colours to create stunning granulating colours (like Lunar Blue for example).

Lightning storm… ! Colours are Indanthrone Blue, Carbazole Violet and Cascade Green. I did also use Winsor & Newton’s Titanium White watercolour (not gouache) for the lightning.

This sky has a little shimmer added to it courtesy of a little mica powder. Base colours are Prussian Blue, Paynes Blue Gray and Gray Titanium; the mica colours are Gold and Baby Blue – they added a little extra interest to an otherwise slightly dull sky…!

The sky above and the one below are loosely based on skies I’ve seen from my home recently. They were both seen  just minutes apart each other, yet they are very different; they are testimony to the fact our skies are constantly shifting and changing, sometimes very rapidly. Above I used my own Flint Gray and Quinacridone Coral; the sky had a soft light grey cloud cover but with a definite pink undertone, which showed through the lighter patches of cloud.

The pink sky quickly disappeared and gave way to blue sky with fluffy light ochre clouds, and a light dusting of  grey underneath. The colours I used here were Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine Blue.

The start of a new day. This is a sky I see often from my studio window as the sun starts to rise and it’s usually a sign that it’s going to be a beautiful day. The colours I used here were Cobalt Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Coral and my own Flint Grey.

No two skies will ever be exactly the same; there will always be wonderful new painting inspiration to be gained from looking up at the sky. And a beautiful atmospheric sky can change the whole mood of a painting. I am going to paint skies (for my personal reference) on a regular basis now; I wont blog about all of them but may post a few here and there.

A lot can be learned about colour from looking at the sky. So next time you’re out don’t forget to look up! What shapes, patterns and colours do you see? What colours would you use to paint what you see? Notice how sky colours never clash – they always look amazing together. So now I need to practice putting what I see in the sky above onto watercolour paper. I’ve discovered that painting a few skies is a great warm up exercise when I begin a painting session. So  why not give it a go – look out of the window at the sky and have some fun painting what you see!

Watercolour

Sunflowers, Sweet Peas & Elephants

Elephant - Mother & Baby - NB
Elephants – Mother & Baby, 28 cm x 19 cm on Arches 140 lb Rough paper

Painting elephants in watercolour was one of the recent tutorials in Jean Haines online watercolour school. Painting these elephants really pushed me out of my comfort zone. This is my first ever attempt at painting a whole elephant – I’d only previously done a head study. I used just three main colours – Raw Sienna Light, Ultramarine Blue and Green Apatite Genuine by Daniel Smith but I did also use just a touch of Winsor & Newton Titanium White for the tusks. I’m quite pleased with my elephants… !

Sunflower 2 - NB
Sunflower in watercolour, 28.5 cm x 19 cm on Arches Rough paper

Sunflowers and Sweet Peas were also on the agenda in “art school” too. I love sunflowers – they’re so bright, sunny and bold. For the yellow petals I used a mixture of Hansa Yellow Medium and Insoindoline Yellow and for the centre I used Rose of Ultramarine, Quinacridone Gold and Transparent Red Oxide – all by Daniel Smith.

Sweet Pea Study 1 - NB
Sweet Peas in watercolour

In direct contrast to the sunflower, Sweet Peas are so much more delicate and need much softer, pastel colours and a light hand. I love these delicate washes of colour. I painted these on Fabriano Artistico Extra White paper, 140 lb Rough. I used an assortment of colours for these but the colour that really made a difference to them was Phthalo Turquoise by Daniel Smith – it’s a stunning colour…

Sweet Peas 2 - NB
Sweet Peas in Watercolour

Lots more happening in my watercolour world. I have lots of roses in my garden, so I would like to be painting some roses over the coming week. And I feel the need to be painting some seascapes. Bye for now…

Follow me on Instagram @evelynflintwatercolours

Watercolour

Flint Grey…

Those of you who are familiar with Daniel Smith’s awesome range of watercolour paints will know that last year they bought out a new range of grey watercolours, some of which are named after well known watercolour artists. I was quite excited about this range of grey watercolours coming onto the market. There was (and still is) a definite gap in the market where grey watercolour paints are concerned – in many ranges of watercolours the choice of ready made greys is very limited. When the new greys arrived, lovely as they all are in their own way, I found none of them quite matched up to what I was looking for. I am a bit picky with my colours…

This is the point when I decided that I’m just going to have to create my own “ready made” grey… ! Here it is – FLINT GREY:

Flint Grey 1 - NB
Flint Grey – mixed from Daniel Smith Ultramarine Blue + Yellow Ochre

My grey is a mix of Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Blue and Yellow Ochre. Both of these watercolour paints are transparent, granulating and have an excellent lightfastness rating. Mixed in the correct proportions they make a soft, stunningly beautiful and totally neutral grey that is just what I was looking for.

In mass tone Flint Grey is a lovely charcoal grey and it will wash out to the most beautiful light delicate grey. It is perfect for skies, landscapes. winter seascapes, soft shadows and shading. It’s uses are endless. It also mixes well with other colours to create lovely soft muted colours. To my grey I can add a tiny bit more Ultramarine Blue in the palette to cool it down if needed and I can add a touch more Yellow Ochre to warm it up if needed:

Flint Grey - Warm & Cool - NB
Flint Grey (middle), + more Ultramarine Blue (left) & + more Yellow Ochre (right)

Sometimes when I run clean water through a dark wash of Flint Grey I get a subtle separation of colour and some lovely granulation:

Flint Grey - Separation & Granulation - NB

Flint Grey is named after myself (Flint being my surname) but also appropriately named because flint stone comes in lovely shades of grey, blue-grey and yellow ochre. Flint Grey is now going to be a permanent part of my watercolour palette. I will just mix more as I need it. I store my Flint Grey in a large watercolour pan, which you can see in the first image above. I am so excited about this grey – it is so beautiful!

There are so many different ways of mixing grey. Any mix of red, yellow and blue in the correct proportions will make some form of a grey. For example: a green (blue + yellow) mixed with a red (in the correct proportions) will make a grey. Blue plus a small amount of orange (red + yellow) will make a shade of grey. Different primary colour combinations will make different shades of grey. Why not have a go at creating your own greys?  It’s fun…