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

the blue ballet shoes - nb
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…

Watercolour

An Atlantic View

An Atlantic View - NB
An Atlantic View

A watercolour seascape sketch ~ large waves rolling in on to the sea shore on Cornwall’s Atlantic coastline…

In this seascape I was practicing painting waves assisted by carefully created back-runs. It was partially successful – I need to practice it more. The tricky bit is to make sure I reserve white enough paper for the waves first and then create the back-runs by adding the just right amount of clean water with a clean brush in just the right places at the right time and tilt the paper if necessary to ensure the water runs in the right direction.

The sky was painted using Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna. The grey was created by mixing the two colours in the palette first. The ocean was painted mostly with Prussian Blue along with Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue and Cascade Green. The little bit of sand at the bottom was painted with Buff Titanium. The horizon is a little wonky but then it is only a practice sketch so I’m not going to worry about that…

My seascape measures 19 cm x 29 cm and was painted on Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper (100% cotton). This was some very enjoyable watercolour practice…

Watercolour

My Daniel Smith Paint Box

My DS Paint Box - NB

This is my custom built Daniel Smith paint box! I bought the watercolour tin with 24 empty full pans. When it arrived I noticed that I had space to fit in 8 half pans as well, so my DS paint box has 32 colours in it in total. Filling the pans is a slightly fiddly process and takes time – it took me several weeks! I filled the pans in layers and it took about 3 – 4 layers to fill each pan. You have to leave each layer to dry before adding the next – this can take several days, sometimes up to a week! But it was all worth the time and effort.

I now have a lovely set of Daniel Smith paints that is easily portable when I travel. The paints re-wet very easily and I’ve used my DS paint box quite a lot already as you may have noticed from the picture above…

As it’s not obvious what all the colours are from the above photo, I did a quick colour chart:

Colours in my DS Paint Box - NB

From left to right, the colours are as follows:

Top Row: Buff Titanium, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Permanent Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Perylene Red, Quinacridone Coral

2nd Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Cobalt Violet Deep, Carbazole Violet, Lavender, Indigo, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium

3rd Row: Phthalo Blue Green Shade, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Viridian, Prussian Green

4th Row: Cascade Green, Rich Green Gold, Raw Sienna Light, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Sepia, Paynes Blue Gray

This is quite a comprehensive set of colours and suits my needs. I can pretty much mix all the colours I should need whilst sketching on my travels. You’ll notice there are quite a few blues and greens – they are my ocean colours – I have to have them! I love the ocean and all things related. I love sketching “seaside stuff” when I’m on my travels…

Watercolour

A Door Leading To…

Adventure…

A Door Leading To Adventure - NB
A Door Leading To Adventure…

I spent an hour or so in my studio yesterday evening painting with my watercolours, even though I was exhausted after a very hard day at “The Office”. Once I get absorbed in watercolour painting I very quickly forget how tired I am – it relaxes me.

I didn’t have any idea what to paint, I just started to move some colours across the paper. I added water with a clean brush, let it run down the paper and watched the colours mix. An image started to form – a door was appearing… ! Then I decided it needed some flowers round the door… and a door step…

I pretty much made this up as I went along… and it was nice to paint with absolutely no agenda, no pressure or expectations – just enjoying the act of painting with watercolours. I like how it turned out – to me it almost looks like something out of a fairy tale. I love it’s looseness and how it has just enough detail to know what it is…

I decided it was a door leading to adventure – for me, a door leading to lots of exciting watercolour adventures! Where would this door leading to adventure take you… ?

Technical info: Saunders Waterford High White watercolour paper – 100% cotton, 140 lb NOT, Daniel Smith Watercolours, measures 14 cm x 17 cm

Watercolour

The Fun Way To Learn About Colour

The fun way to learn about colour (colour theory) is to just have fun with it; swoosh different colours across the paper, add lots of water and see what you end up with…

Cascade Green - NB
Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green

Above is just Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green on it’s own in all it’s glory! Notice how the colours separate and granulate with the addition of lots of water. What a stunningly beautiful colour…

Ultramarine Turquoise - NB
Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Turquoise

Ultramarine Turquoise does a similar thing – it separates and granulates beautifully with the addition of water. You can see some of the Ultramarine Blue has separated out in places…

Paynes Blue Gray - NB
Daniel Smith’s Paynes Blue Gray & Raw Sienna Light

Above is Paynes Blue Gray and Raw Sienna Light. I like these two colours together…

Indigo & Permanent Orange - NB
Daniel Smith’s Indigo & Permanent Orange

Indigo and Permanent Orange contrast beautifully together and mingle quite happily together on the paper…

Carbazole Violet & MANS - NB
Daniel Smith’s Carbazole Violet and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

I adore the Carbazole Violet and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna together – they contrast beautifully. I think of pansies when I see these colours together…

Rhodonite Genuine & Naples Yellow - NB
Daniel Smith’s Naples Yellow & Rhodonite Genuine

Naples Yellow and Rhodonite Genuine are stunning together – I love them both. They are beautiful for floral compositions – I think of roses when I see these colours together…

Cadmium Yellow & Cascade Green - NB
Daniel Smith’s Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cascade Green & Phthalo Green (BS)

I had no idea what would happen when I mixed the Cascade Green with the Cadmium Yellow on the paper but I like the result. I added a touch of Phthalo Green Blue Shade down the left side and it mixed with the other colours beauifully. These colours work well together…

I had so much fun creating these colour samples. I will keep them for future reference and have written on the back of each what colours I used. I’m going to build up a collection of them.

I would like to state here and now that in all of the colour samples here I LOVE the colour runs, cauliflowers and blooms !! For me they’re part what make watercolour such a stunningly beautiful and unique medium to work with. Also I’m a girl hopelessly in love with colour and texture, I always have been and always will be; and Daniel Smith watercolour paints do not disappoint on both counts… !

Why not have some fun with colour this week…