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…

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Squashed – a watercolour

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

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…

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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:

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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!