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…

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Watercolour

Lavender Whispers

Lavender Whispers

Whispers of lavender in watercolour. Simple, loose watercolour sketches. I picked some lavender from my garden and took it to my studio. I selected what I felt were the right watercolour pigments from my collection. I chose Daniel Smith’s Lavender, Carbazole Violet and Cascade Green – they were just right for the paler shade of lavender in my garden. Just simple sketches but much fun to do…

Watercolour

A Beach Adventure

A Beach Adventure - NB
A Beach Adventure

This watercolour painting evokes many happy childhood memories of holidays at the seaside with my brother and sister.  We were very fortunate children really, as many of my friends at school never had any holidays at the sea at all and we went every year at least two or three times.

We loved building sandcastles, paddling in the sea, finding shells and searching rock pools for fish and crabs. It clearly left a lasting impression on me as I still love being by the sea today.

My watercolour above measres 19 cm x 29 cm and was painted on Fabriano Artistico extra white rough paper, 100% cotton & 140 lb. I used a limited palette, just five colours – Cobalt Blue, Winsor Blue Red Shade, Quinacridone Coral, Raw Umber and Buff Titanium. The photograph doesn’t really do the painting justice, the reality is much better. It is worth clicking on the image to view it larger.

I enjoyed painting this and as always it has been a learning curve. If I painted this scene again there are things I would do differently.  But I like this watercolour – it puts a smile on my face…

Watercolour

Just Opening

Just Opening - NB
Just Opening – a daffodil study in watercolour

I don’t have any daffodils in my garden so I had to buy some from my local supermarket. They were all tightly in bud when I bought them but very soon started to open. I decided to paint some watercolour studies of them in bud first and then I will do some more of them open. I did some quick pencil sketches first in my sketchbook before committing brush to watercolour paper.

Inspiration came from Jean Haines Atmospheric Flowers book. Of course, no pencil sketch was made on the watercolour paper before painting. This is my first ever attempt at painting daffodils and I’m quite pleased with them. But of course there’s always plenty of room for improvement…

Paper used is Fabriano Artistico extra white rough, 140 lb cotton and watercolour paints are by Daniel Smith.

Watercolour

Party Time!

Party Time - NB
Party Time

This was a lighthearted, fun start to my watercolour painting yesterday. These balloons were the easiest thing in the world to paint and put a smile on my face. It was a great warm up exercise for further painting projects I did afterwards. The highlights on the balloons were created by wax resist using a white wax crayon – the cheap sort you buy your kids – just simple colourful FUN…

REFLECTING

I’ve been learning watercolour painting for just over a year now. Sometimes I don’t have as much time for it as I would like, but that’s life. I decided I would spend just a minute or two reflecting on some of the things I’ve learnt…

When I started just over a year ago I had ZERO knowledge or experience of watercolour painting. Never done it before in my life ever – I knew NOTHING! I read all the advice about what you need to start off with (from lots of different sources), Some of it I listened to and some I didn’t. But here’s a few things I’ve learnt from personal experience:

PAPER: 100% cotton watercolour paper is the best paper to paint on. Cheap paper just doesn’t give the same results – I’ve bought several different types of cheap watercolour paper and regretted buying all of them. I’ve seen how much better my painting looks on good quality cotton paper. My personal favourite so far is Arches, followed by Fabriano Artistico. I will keep experimenting with different papers but no more cheap stuff… !

PAINT: Painting with artist quality paint, rather than student quality, generally produces better paintings I’ve found, probably because the colours are much more rich and vibrant with artist quality paints. There are many watercolour paint brands I’ve not yet tried but I do know I am totally hooked on Daniel Smith watercolour paints – the quality is superb and the colours are to die for…

BRUSHES: I’ve learnt – the hard way – that watercolour brushes with natural hair (ie. sable, squirrel etc.) are better to paint with because they hold more pigment and water. I do use synthetic brushes occasionally, they have their uses, but nowhere near as much as my sable and squirrel brushes. One of my most favourite brushes is a Silver Black Velvet size 10 Round brush. This is actually a squirrel and synthetic mix brush and is lovely to use – holds loads of pigment/water and has a very nice point. I will buy more of these brushes.

Also I don’t stretch paper, I’ve never got to grips with it – maybe it’s just me… ! I buy much of my watercolour materials from Jackson’s, a UK art supply shop and they ship internationally. This may be worth checking out if you live in one of those countries where Arches paper has become extremely expensive to buy in local art shops.

This is just a little of what I’ve learnt on my watercolour journey so far and some of my personal preferences. I’m sure others have very different preferences. I hope you might find this information useful – especially those of you who maybe be considering venturing into the wonderful world of watercolour…

Watercolour

Jellyfish

Jellyfish - a - NB

I had a little watercolour fun this afternoon painting some jellyfish. I was inspired by Maria Raczynska’s tutorial on her YouTube channel. Her watercolour work is stunning and inspiring.

This was a fairly simple exercise to do. I varied the composition of my painting a little and also used different paper and different paint. I used Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper ~ 140 lb NOT, 100% cotton. The paint I used was Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Turquoise. That was the only colour I used. It’s a gorgeous colour and I love how it granulates and separates. A good choice for my jellyfish. I also didn’t do any pencil sketches first either.

The photograph doesn’t really do the painting justice – the reality is much better – however, I have tried to capture the colours as accurately as possible. You can click on the image to view it larger if you wish. I had so much fun doing this and it only took me about 15 minutes to paint. Happy days…. !

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