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…

Watercolour

Razor Shell Study

Razor Shell Study - NB

A watercolour sketch of a razor shell I found on the beach. Daniel Smith watercolours used were Undersea Green, Yellow Ochre and Sepia. You can see my little colour mixing experiments down the right side of the paper. The paper used was Saunders Waterford high white 200 lb Rough and measures 19 cm x 29 cm.

Anything connected to the sea, beach or coast will always be a primary source of inspiration for my watercolours. No pencil sketch used – drawing done with my paint brush. Much enjoyment gained as I saw the razor shell “appear” on the paper…

Watercolour

Rosehips

Rosehips - NB
Rosehips

A little splash of colour from my bleak winter garden –  some rosehips, painted in watercolour of course. I used Daniel Smith watercolours, Saunders Waterford high white watercolour paper (100% cotton, 200 lb, NOT) and it measures 19 cm x 29 cm.

I haven’t blogged much lately but things are happening in my watercolour world and I will post more in the new year.

Here’s another fun watercolour I did a couple of weeks ago:

Beach Time - NB
Beach Time

Looking forward to some beach time next year! My watercolour measures 15 cm x 19cm and was painted on Saunders Waterford high white paper – 100% cotton, 200 lb NOT. Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton watercolours were used. It was fun and puts a smile on my face when I look at it. More watercolour updates in the new year…

Watercolour

Pebbles, Patterns & Positivity

I have three very different watercolour offerings to show you today. The first is a watercolour sketch painted on my recent holiday to the Scottish Highlands…

Grey Pebbles - NB
Grey Pebbles – a watercolour sketch

Our holiday home in Scotland was right on the seafront in a very quiet little village in the Highlands. I enjoyed walking along the beach early each morning. It was so quiet and peaceful, very relaxing and soothing to the soul. On these walks I enjoyed picking up sea shells (see previous post), pebbles and other items of interest.  Above is a watercolour sketch of some grey pebbles I found on the beach. All the pebbles were grey but all different shades of grey. I tried to capture all the differing shades of grey by mixing all my own grey’s in the palette first and testing them out on a piece of scrap paper before painting. Each of the pebbles were different shapes and had very different patterns and markings, which I also tried to capture in my watercolour sketch. They were very enjoyable to paint.

Dark Patterns - NB
Dark Patterns

Above are patterns made by dropping dark watercolour shades into circles of water on watercolour paper. This was an exercise from Jean Haines’ latest book Paint Yourself Positive. I’m not going to explain the purpose of this exercise (you’ll have to buy the book to find out that… !) but it was a very simple and fun exercise to do. The colours I chose to use were Lunar Black, Paynes Blue Gray and Sepia – all by Daniel Smith. I love how the Lunar Black granulates – it’s a very useful shade of black to have in your palette. I love these darker colours but I also love brighter ones too…

Squashed - NB
Squashed – a watercolour sketch

Above is a watercolour painting of three bright, colourful squashes and was inspired by the veggie section in Jean Haines’ Paint Yourself Positive book (link above). I bought these squashes from my local supermarket (Morrison’s to be exact) – they are such wonderful colours and shapes. They were just begging to be painted! But I do have to add that no food was wasted in the creation of this watercolour – these squashes are absolutely delicious roasted… !

Three very different watercolour offerings here today but all beautiful in their own way and much fun to paint.

Watercolour

Sea Shell Watercolours

Over the past week I’ve been gathering a modest collection of sea shells from the beach in the Scottish Highlands of the UK. Yesterday I made time to sit down and paint a selection of them…

Sea Shell Watercolour Sketches

I painted my sea shell selection on a sheet of Bokingford paper, by St Cuthberts Mill. The paper measured 14″ x 10″, 140 lb NOT. Great paper for water colour practice. Here’s a better view of the watercolour painting setup I use whilst travelling…

My travelling watercolour setup…

You can see above I had my sea shells laid out in front of me on a sheet of paper. I have two custom built paint boxes I use – one Daniel Smith (on the left) and one Windsor & Newton (on the right). Both are perfect for travelling and fit neatly in my art bag. In the bottom right corner you can just see my brush case -I just bring the essentials. On the table you can also see that I have kitchen roll to hand and a plastic container for water.

Watercolours are so easy to travel with. I really had fun painting these. Maybe some plein air sketching on the beach might be in order next…

Watercolour

It’s Time…

It’s Time….

“It’s Time” is a small watercolour interpretation of one of my own images. It measures 19 cm x 17 cm and was painted on Arches rough paper. I used Daniel Smith watercolours. Just 4 colours were used, namely, Quinacridone Gold, Transparent Red Oxide, Lunar Black and Cobalt Teal Blue. No preliminary pencil sketch was used.

This watercolour nearly ended up in the bin. I was working on one particular section and as soon as I’d done it I knew instantly that it was wrong. It wouldn’t lift off. I’m stuck with it. My heart sank. I’ve ruined it… and it was going so well. It was at this point I spent a couple of minutes seriously considering whether or not I should just bin it and start again. I decided not to bin it. I simply left it on the desk in my studio and walked away. I shut the studio door and didn’t return to it till the next morning. Looking at it with fresh eyes I could see that maybe there was a way to recover the situation. I’m glad I didn’t throw it away now and I like how it finished up.

“It’s Time…” is an appropriate title for this watercolour as I’ve decided it’s time I knuckled down to some more intensive watercolour practice… !

Watercolour

Tulips

 

Tulips - NBTulip Test Colours - NB

 

Above are two tulips, painted loosely in watercolour, inspired by Jean Haines Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour book. Paper used was Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough paper, 100% cotton & 140 lb.  No preliminary pencil sketch was made on the watercolour paper.

On the left is a scrap of watercolour paper I used to test out some colours on before painting my tulips.  The yellow is Winsor Lemon – a good choice for the slightly delicate yellow of my tulips. The greens are Green Gold (DS),  Olive Green (W & N), Prussian Green (DS) and Prussian Green mixed with Green Gold. The grey shades at the bottom were mixed from Indigo and Buff Titanium.

This was my first ever attempt at painting tulips. Painting the glass jar the tulips are in was tricky – I need to work on that…

I enjoyed painting these tulips – they’re bright and cheerful and much fun to paint…

 

Watercolour

Garden Ewer

Garden Ewer - NB
Garden Ewer

A fairly simple watercolour offering for today – a garden ewer. Naturally, I painted this without a pencil sketch first. I picked this subject to paint to practice getting the shapes and lines of the ewer correct without pencil lines to guide me. The shape and form of the ewer is nice and simple. If some of the lines are a little wobbly on close inspection, for me, that is perfectly ok. Imperfection is perfection. Painting without a pencil sketch first, or “drawing with a paint brush” as I like to call it, is going to make my watercolour paintings unique. I’m personally not interested in painting realistic photographic quality copies of a subject, replicating every detail – I would much rather paint just the essence or a personal impression of a subject.

In her book Atmospheric Watercolours Jean Haines likens the preliminary pencil sketch to the bars of a cage that restrict you and fence you in when you are painting. That had a profound effect on me when I read it – I’d never thought of it like that before. And you know what? She’s right !! I think up till then I’d had a preconceived idea of how I thought watercolour painting was supposed to be and I was trying to fit in with that preconceived idea. When I read this section of Jean’s book those preconceived ideas vanished in a “puff of smoke”. They are gone forever. It hit home that I don’t need to conform to traditional watercolour painting philosophies ~ watercolour painting can be whatever I want it to be…

For this watercolour sketch I used a paper I’ve not tried before – Fabriano Artistico Extra White, 140 lb Rough and 100% cotton. This the first time I’ve actually used proper rough watercolour paper – up till now I’ve only bought NOT or cold pressed paper. So what do I think of this paper?? I love it… ! I love how the paint settles into the dips and troughs of the paper – it’s just beautiful. Why have I never tried rough paper before! I love rough paper so much I may never go back to using NOT/cold pressed paper ever again… (although, I will need to use up what NOT paper I already have left!)

Well I think I’ve waffled on enough for now! If you’ve read this far – thank you for sticking with me! I do realize that others may have a completely different view to watercolour painting to me and that’s completely okay too. At the end of the day, we’re all different and have to find our own path to follow that’s right for us personally…

Watercolour

The Blue Ballet Shoes

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The Blue Ballet Shoes ~ watercolour sketch

The Blue Ballet Shoes – a watercolour sketch. This is the same basic composition as my previous ballet shoe sketch but this one is a looser version, done without any pencil sketch. I did the “drawing” with my paint brush! I deliberately chose soft colours – almost ethereal colours.

Paints used were by Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton. Buff Titanium, Naples yellow, Quinacridone Coral, Burnt Sienna were used for the skin tones. Winsor Blue Red Shade mixed with white gouache was used for the ballet shoes. A little Yellow Ochre was mixed with the blue for the shadow. The paper used was Saunders Waterford High White, 140 lb cold pressed. I used Just two brushes – a #6 pointed round brush and a 1/2″ flat brush. My sketch measures 19 cm x 21 cm.

I much prefer working without a pencil sketch if possible but it is a challenge. And I did do a few practice sketches before this final version. Watercolour painting is a wonderful way to start the day…

Watercolour

Dance…

Dance - NB
Dance…

A watercolour sketch on Saunders Waterford, 140 lb, cold pressed watercolour paper. Drawing and painting practice. Daniel Smith watercolours were used. It was a challenge for me. But still much fun to do…

I am pleased to say my recent arm/shoulder injury is steadily improving. I have a way to go still but significant improvement has been made. I find painting easier now which pleases me enormously…