Watercolour

Harvest Mouse

Harvest Mouse - NB1
Harvest Mouse

A little harvest mouse painted loosely in watercolour. This is my interpretation from the demonstration in Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour book. It was painted without a preliminary sketch first. It measures 28 cm x 19 cm. It was painted on Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough paper, 140 lb and 100% cotton.

My little harvest mouse may just be ever so slightly on the plump side… ! But I’m generally quite pleased with how he turned out. I was almost on the brink of overworking this – I had to stop myself from fiddling with it. I really enjoyed painting this little mouse – it was fun!

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

Loose Rock Pile

Loose Rock Pile - NB
Rock Pile – a loose, impressionistic watercolour sketch

A watercolour sketch of a rock pile someone built on the beach…

This is the same rock pile as in my previous post but painted with a completely different interpretation of my original photo. This version was created using techniques I’ve learnt from Jean Haines books. This version is much looser, lighter and ethereal and I didn’t use a pencil sketch first…

Interestingly I used the same two Daniel Smith watercolours for this as in the previous rock pile – Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and French Ultramarine – only in more diluted mixes. This one too was painted on Saunders Waterford High White paper, 140 lb cold pressed and 100% cotton and also measures 19 cm x 29 cm. I did wonder whether to add more detail to this version but decided to leave it just as it is.

So which one of my two rock piles do I prefer? I like both versions but… this loose version has a little bit more of the “wow factor” for me personally. I prefer this one. This loose version appeals more to my creative nature.

So what do I learn from this? Everybody has to find their own style of painting. This teaches me that my natural style of watercolour painting is meant to be loose, more impressionistic than realistic – painting this way brings me much more excitement and happiness…

Watercolour

The Beginnings Of A Seascape

Beginnings Of A Seascape - NB
Beginnings Of A Seascape

This is the beginnings of a seascape created using cling film (plastic wrap) inspired by Jean Haines’ World Of Watercolour book. The cling film creates lovely textures and patterns in wet pigment. In theory this is a fairly simple technique to use, so why have I struggled to get good results with it ?? However, I have persevered with it and above is probably my most successful attempt so far. The colours, textures and patterns in my seascape wash are beautiful. The cling film has helped to create a wild turbulent ocean. Please click the image to view it larger…

The colours I used were Winsor & Newton’s Winsor Blue Green Shade, Winsor Green Blue Shade and a tiny touch of Indian Yellow. All three are very strong pigments but they have worked together beautifully in my initial textured wash. I need to build on my initial seascape wash but I’m not going to rush it. I need to think carefully how I’m going to proceed with this painting and have some decisions to make before doing anything to it. So for now I’m just going to enjoy it as it is till I’ve decided…

Watercolour

The Kingfisher

Kingfisher - NB
The Kingfisher

A kingfisher in watercolour based on both my own image (found amongst some collage material) and the demonstration in Jean Haines’ World Of Watercolour book. This is my very first attempt at the kingfisher – a trial run – and I have to say it turned out better than I thought it would.

I will do another kingfisher and I will change a couple of things. My next one needs to be a bit shorter and fatter. And also I seem to have this bad habit of starting my painting in the wrong place and ending up too near the edge of the paper, as above… !! I must address this…

All in all a successful and fun hour spent painting this afternoon!

Watercolour

Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas - NB
Sweet Peas

A loose watercolour sketch of some Sweet Peas from a demonstration in Jean Haines’ World of Watercolour book. It was painted on Arches cold pressed paper. The colours I used were Rhodonite Genuine for the flowers and Prussian Green, Hansa Yellow Medium and a small touch of Yellow Ochre for the foliage – all Daniel Smith watercolours. I love Rhodonite Genuine – it’s a beautiful pink with just a small hint of granulation (although it’s not classed as a granulating paint). My sketch measures 11.5 cm x 28 cm (4.5 x 11 inches).

It’s lovely to be back painting again after not having much time for it lately. Although I dabble with a little mixed media art, collage and acrylics my passion is for watercolour. For me there’s nothing to rival it, there’s no other art medium that excites me like watercolour painting does. Magical things happen when you mix beautiful pigments with water on beautiful cotton paper. My watercolour journey continues…

Watercolour

Violets In A Glass

Violets - NB
Violets In A Glass

This is my interpretation of the first step-by-step tutorial in Jean Haines new book: Atmospheric Flowers In Watercolour Painting With Energy And Life.  I have gone a little “off piste” with this as regards the step-by-step instructions so mine doesn’t look quite like the example in the book  but I think that’s okay.  I quite like my finished results.

Colours I used were Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Violet Deep, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian and Cadmium Yellow Medium.  Paper is Fabriano Artistico cold pressed 140 lb and it measures 19 cm x 28 cm.

My mum has been given lots of flowers from friends and family after her recent accident so I’m going to use some of them as inspiration for some more flower paintings. I like painting flowers in glasses, vases and jars etc. so I’m going to try and develop this. I need to work on my technique and practice lots and lots… and lots more… !

Watercolour

Violets: Warm Up Exercises

Those of you who’ve been visiting here for a while wont be surprised to learn that I’ve acquired Jean Haines’ new book: Jean Haines Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour: Painting With Energy And Life

It’s a beautiful book with beautiful inspiring art work on almost every page. The first exercise in the book is about painting violets. These are my warm up exercises before moving on to the step-by-step tutorial…

Warm Up Violets 1 - NB
Violets: warm up exercises – left page

All of these exercises were done as a double page spread in my khadi paper sketchbook. I like how they turned out. I can see the usefulness of doing warm up exercises before moving onto a more important piece of work. I can immediately see what works and what doesn’t, what colour combinations work best for me and what I need to improve on. I straight away noticed that I have a tendency to make my stems too fat… I’ll work on it – I clearly need to learn to have a much lighter touch with my brush… !

Warm Up Violets 2 - NB
Violets: warm up exercises – right page

I enjoyed doing these very much and I’m looking forward to doing the step-by-step tutorial. I snatched time to paint these in between looking after my lovely mum who had an accident just over a week ago and has a nasty fracture at the top of her right arm. I’ve had to take some time off work to be her full time carer for a while till she can look after herself again. Get well soon mum xx !!

I’m off now to carry on reading through Jean’s new book, enjoy what’s left of your weekend…

Watercolour

Rambling Rose

Rambling Rose - NB

My mission when I got up this morning was to paint roses… after doing a few household chores first of course! I started by following a YouTube video (I wont say which one) but after three failed attempts it clearly wasn’t working for me. So I stopped for a tea break and regrouped. I decided to go back to what I know works really well – Jean Haines tutorials… ! I found the rose tutorial in Jean Haines Colour & Light in Watercolour New Edition book and got started. I didn’t follow the tutorial to the letter but Jean’s instructions got me back on the right track.

So my Rambling Rose above is completely my own creation but created after following Jeans sound advice. It measures approx. 5″ x 5.5″ and was painted on Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton cold pressed paper. The colours I chose to use were Permanent Rose (W & N) and Naples Yellow (DS). The green for the stem and leaves was some left over mixed green left in my palette. The brush I used was a Silver Black Velvet size 10 Round – this is one of my most favourite brushes.

My Rambling Rose was painted loose, wet in wet, with just a few details and definition added after the first wash had dried. This is one of those paintings that looks better if you stand back a a few feet. I’m much happier with this attempt and am now inspired to try some more loose roses…

I hope you all have a creative week ahead!

Watercolour

The Blue Fuchsia

The Blue Fuschia - NB

I bet you’ve never seen a fuchsia quite like this before. If you could buy a fuchsia this colour at the garden centre it would probably cost you a lot of money… !

This painting is based upon an exercise in Jean Haines Colour & Light In Watercolour New Edition but I used totally different colours – creative license… ! Rather than conventional fuchsia colours I used Winsor & Newton’s Cobalt Turquoise Light and Indanthrene Blue. They contrast beautifully. This was painted on Arches Cold Pressed paper and measures 6″ x 9″.

Indanthrene Blue is a new colour in my palette. I have to admit I would have bought the Daniel Smith equivalent but it was out of stock. That said, I’m not disappointed with the Winsor & Newton version – it’s a gorgeous, rich dark blue colour. But it also fades to a lovely pale blue with the addition of lots of water. It also mixes well with other colours and I did a few quick tests in my khadi paper sketchbook:

Indanthrene Blue Mixes - NB

I love all these colour mixes but I especially love the purple shade in the top left corner and the colours in the Cadmium Orange line…

So that’s my watercolour fun for today. Wishing everyone a great creative week ahead…