Watercolour

Cat Portrait

Yesterday I painted my first ever cat in watercolour…

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Cat Portrait in watercolour

I painted it without a pencil sketch. I used an assortment of Daniel Smith watercolours: Manganese Blue Hue, French Ultramarine, Flint Grey, Lunar Blue, Sepia, Aussie Red Gold and Quinacridone Rose. It was painted on Saunders Waterford NOT paper, 200 lb.

I did do a pencil drawing of the cat in my sketchbook first:

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Simple cat portrait pencil sketch

It’s not a detailed drawing but has just enough information to recognize that it’s a cat. If I can draw a cat in my sketchbook with a pencil then I should be able to “draw” a cat with a paintbrush on watercolour paper. However, if I can’t draw a simple cat with pencil in my sketchbook then I don’t stand a chance of being able to paint a cat on watercolour paper…

Also I practiced painting cat’s eyes on small pieces of watercolour paper first. If the eyes are not right then the whole cat will not look right…

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Cats eyes practice

I did make a note of what colours I used for my cats eyes by each one for future reference. The potential colour combinations are endless…

My cat portrait is my interpretation of a tutorial by Jean Haines. It was fun painting a cat and it’s something completely different for me. What new watercolour challenges will there be next?

Watercolour

Spring Flower Studies

I’ve been continuing with my spring flower studies. Two more to share today:

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Blossom – watercolour flower study

First is some blossom, seen on my daily walk. I used Quinacridone Rose (DS) for the flowers. I purposely kept it very simple, tried not to add too much detail.

Next spring flower study was some Muscari:

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Muscari flowers – a study in watercolour

My muscari flowers study was based on a tutorial by Jean Haines. It’s much looser than my previous study. I love the bold blues with a hint of violet and turquoise. Exact colours I chose to use were: Indanthrene Blue (W & N), Phthalo Turquoise (W & N), Manganese Blue Hue (DS), Phthalo Blue GS (DS), Winsor Violet (W & N) and Cascade Green (DS). Below you can see all these colours (from left to right) in a “dancing ladies” exercise that Jean recommends doing:

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“Dancing ladies”  – a watercolour exercise to decide on colour choices

Both flower studies were fun to do. But they are also a part of a learning curve for me; learning about pigments, how they interact with each other; and learning how to capture a the essence of a subject with minimal detail.

There may be a few more flower studies to follow… 🙂

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…

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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.

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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 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

Harvest Mouse

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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… !