Watercolour

The Sky’s The Limit… !

I’ve been practicing painting skies. I would like to paint more landscapes this year. When painting landscapes quite often the sky is the first thing that is painted. Obviously I don’t want to “fall at the first hurdle” so I must practice!

I get a good view of the sunrise from the window in my little home studio, so I do get to see some very varied and interesting sky colours and cloud patterns in the early mornings; I’m hoping to draw inspiration from these. Also I have an archive of my own sky/sunrise/sunset photos (from my photography days) which I am going to draw inspiration from.

I have a collection of very different skies to share with you today. All the skies I’m about to share will be glued into a sketchbook, stating the colours I’ve used, for my future reference:

Above a storm is brewing! The colours I used were Ultramarine Blue, Indigo, Lunar Black, Burnt Sienna and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna. Daniel Smith watercolours were used for all the skies in this post; and all the skies were painted on Arches Aquarelle Rough, 140 lb except for one which was painted on Fabriano Artistico Extra White rough, 140 lb.

Here we have a bright blue sky with light fluffy white clouds with just a hint of grey. Colours used are Ultramarine Blue and Flint Grey (my own grey mix).

Heavy rain falling… ! Colours are Prussian Blue and Indigo. I’ve seen heavy rain like this falling in the distance out at sea…

Above is the one painted on Fabriano artistico Extra White paper. Colours are Ultramarine Blue and Sepia. The Sepia mixes with the Ultramarine to create some lovely greys…

More stormy skies! I threw some colours at this one – Prussian Blue, Paynes Blue Gray, Lunar Black, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Quinacridone Burnt Orange. Some artists chose not to use ready made blacks, preferring to mix their own but I keep Daniel Smith’s Lunar Black in my palette for several reasons – 1. It’s TRANSPARENT, 2. It GRANULATES, and 3. It MIXES beautifully with other colours to create stunning granulating colours (like Lunar Blue for example).

Lightning storm… ! Colours are Indanthrone Blue, Carbazole Violet and Cascade Green. I did also use Winsor & Newton’s Titanium White watercolour (not gouache) for the lightning.

This sky has a little shimmer added to it courtesy of a little mica powder. Base colours are Prussian Blue, Paynes Blue Gray and Gray Titanium; the mica colours are Gold and Baby Blue – they added a little extra interest to an otherwise slightly dull sky…!

The sky above and the one below are loosely based on skies I’ve seen from my home recently. They were both seen  just minutes apart each other, yet they are very different; they are testimony to the fact our skies are constantly shifting and changing, sometimes very rapidly. Above I used my own Flint Gray and Quinacridone Coral; the sky had a soft light grey cloud cover but with a definite pink undertone, which showed through the lighter patches of cloud.

The pink sky quickly disappeared and gave way to blue sky with fluffy light ochre clouds, and a light dusting of  grey underneath. The colours I used here were Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine Blue.

The start of a new day. This is a sky I see often from my studio window as the sun starts to rise and it’s usually a sign that it’s going to be a beautiful day. The colours I used here were Cobalt Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Coral and my own Flint Grey.

No two skies will ever be exactly the same; there will always be wonderful new painting inspiration to be gained from looking up at the sky. And a beautiful atmospheric sky can change the whole mood of a painting. I am going to paint skies (for my personal reference) on a regular basis now; I wont blog about all of them but may post a few here and there.

A lot can be learned about colour from looking at the sky. So next time you’re out don’t forget to look up! What shapes, patterns and colours do you see? What colours would you use to paint what you see? Notice how sky colours never clash – they always look amazing together. So now I need to practice putting what I see in the sky above onto watercolour paper. I’ve discovered that painting a few skies is a great warm up exercise when I begin a painting session. So  why not give it a go – look out of the window at the sky and have some fun painting what you see!

Watercolour

Winter Fun

This is my very first attempt at painting a winter landscape. I kept the composition very simple; it was based loosely upon the fields near my home and a photo I took some years ago…

Winter Fun

It was painted on Arches Aquarelle Rough paper, 140 lb. I used a fairly simple palette of watercolours: Flint Grey (my own grey mix), DS Verditer Blue, DS Sepia, DS Burnt Sienna, W & N Permanent Rose, W & N Indigo and W & N Prussian Blue. The photo doesn’t really do the painting justice.  Also this was my first attempt at putting a person into a painting. More landscapes and seascapes are on my watercolour “to do” list for 2021 and painting more people….

Next, also on my 2021 watercolour “to do” list, more roses:

I’ve used a little creative license with the colours for these roses; each one is a different shade of blue – from left to right, Verditer Blue, Prussian Blue and Manganese Blue Hue all by Daniel Smith. I’ve deliberately kept the colours of the roses simple, monochromatic, and just tried to paint petal shapes; I’m slowly improving. I’m going to be on a bit of a watercolour mission with roses in 2021.

I’m looking forward to new watercolour adventures in 2021…

Watercolour

Winter Roses

Well it’s now December and I still have a few die hard roses in my garden! I started pruning my roses some weeks ago but didn’t have the heart to cut the stems that still had buds on… ! The buds have opened and given me some watercolour inspiration…

pink-roses-nb
Pink roses ~ DS Quinacridone Rose
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Peach Roses ~ DS Quinacridone Coral + Hansa Yellow Medium
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Prussian Blue Rose ~ DS Prussian Blue + Cascade Green for the foliage

Daniel Smith watercolours were used on Arches Aquarelle rough paper, 140 lb. I would love to be able to paint roses really well. I still have a way to go but feel happy that I’ve made an improvement.

More roses are in the pipeline…

 

Watercolour

Seed Heads, Seagull & Mushrooms!

Lets start today’s post with the seed heads. Poppy seed heads to be exact. Just simple watercolour sketches but much fun to do:

Poppy Seed Heads

An assortment of colours were used for these poppy seed heads. The Winsor & Newton colours used were: Olive Green, Raw Umber, Raw Sienna and a touch of Winsor Violet. The Daniel Smith colours used were: Cascade Green, Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna Light, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Goethite…

Poppy Seed Heads

Next on my watercolour “to do” list was a seagull. I did just a simple watercolour sketch to get the basic shape, features and colours:

Seagull

I started painting my seagull with the beak, using Hansa Yellow Medium & Quinacridone Gold by Daniel Smith. I had already chosen my colours after testing some on a piece of scrap paper. Next I painted the eye and then the negative outline of the bird. No preliminary pencil sketch was used. For the soft shading on the seagull’s head and body I used my own grey mix – FLINT GREY – and for the wing and tail end I used Lunar Black by Daniel Smith. I used Prussian Blue and a little Flint Grey for the negative outline of the seagull. This was very easy to do and I will move onto more involved seagull compositions.

Mushrooms

These are large breakfast mushrooms, bought from a local supermarket mainly for the purpose of painting. But of course they will be consumed; no food is ever wasted in the creation of a watercolour! I used just three colours for this watercolour sketch: Verditer Blue, Raw Sienna and Sepia, all by Daniel Smith. I started with diluted washes of Verditer Blue; when dry I overlaid them with dilute washes of Raw Sienna. This process produced the soft mushroom grey colours. For the gills inside the mushroom I used Sepia. For the surface the mushrooms are sitting on I used Verditer Blue mixed with a little Sepia. This was a good practice exercise for me.

Finally these are some of the most recent additions to my watercolour palette:

Lovely New Colours

I love all these colours. Verditer Blue is stunning; it’s a cooler blue than Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Blue but not as cool as Cerulean Blue. Raw Sienna by Daniel Smith is different to what I would call a traditional raw sienna; but it’s wonderful for mixing with other colours or, indeed, just on it’s own. There’s nothing better to add new life to your watercolour painting than having new colours to play with…

Watercolour

Koala

Koala 1 - NB
Koala in watercolour, 19 cm x 29 cm

This cute little koala is the subject matter of the latest tutorial in Jean Haines Online Art School. This was really fun to do. It’s not something I would have painted normally but it’s good to be challenged to paint something a little different. It is watercolour of course and the colours I used were: Lunar Blue, Indigo, Cobalt Violet Deep, Quinacridone Gold and Goethite (Brown Ochre), all by Daniel Smith. The paper I used was Winsor & Newton Professional paper, 140 lb Rough. This is really lovely paper to paint on.

August is texture month in Jean’s online art school. Whilst lots of members in Jean’s school will be having lots of fun with this, I have decided to pretty much opt out. Why? It’s because texture month involves using “texture products” like crackle mediums and the like. To me, once you start using these products in a watercolour painting it stops being a watercolour painting and becomes a MIXED MEDIA painting of which watercolour is a part. My passion in art is for watercolour – pure and simple. I love watercolour for it’s transparency, beautiful colour fusions and watermarks. Somehow all this is lost with the introduction of texture mediums. Look at my painting below:

Mini Textured Cockerel - NB
Cockerel on a mini canvas with DS Watercolor Ground & watercolours

Does it look like a watercolour? Answer is no… !! Here Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground has been used to prime a canvas and then a create texture, over which I have painted a cockerel with watercolours. But I might just as well have painted this with acrylic paints. With the application of the watercolour ground as a texture, all the lovely qualities of the watercolour medium have been lost. I like the Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground as a means of being able to paint with watercolours on alternative surfaces like canvas or wood. But as a texture medium? NO !! Also, as DS Watercolor Ground is acrylic emulsion, I would personally never use it to recover lost white areas in a watercolour either; to me, doing so also turns a watercolour painting into mixed media.

I have nothing at all against mixed media art but it’s not where I want to be in my art journey right now. I even have some ideas of my own for incorporating some mixed media into my watercolour work at some point in the future. But when I do that I will clearly label it as watercolour with mixed media. I joined Jean’s lovely art school to try and learn some her beautiful watercolour skills. Not to learn mixed media art techniques…

The bottom line here is that I seem to have strong tendencies towards being a watercolour purist. Who knew… ! I’ve learnt something new about myself…

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…

Follow me on Instagram @evelynflintwatercolours

Watercolour

Simple Landscapes

Here are some simple watercolour landscapes. The emphasis here is on SIMPLICITY…

The first is inspired by a photo I took in St. Ives of Porthminster Beach from quite a high vantage point. There was a huge expanse of beach and only two people on it – how peaceful and serene it must have been for them…

All ToYourselves - NB
Having The Whole Beach All To Yourselves

My Second landscape is just a simple wave crashing on the shore. The wave was created by making deliberate watermarks in the Phthalo Blue Turquoise watercolour paint…

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Crashing Wave

Creating waves like this is a very simple technique I’ve taught myself – it’s all about timing. I have my paper on a flat surface (not on an easel); I then carefully drop clean water into a wet wash where I want my wave to be. The wash needs to be not really wet but not too dry either – somewhere in between. Then I carefully tilt the paper so the watermarks develop in the direction I want them to go. When I can see a definite wave shape starting to form I place my paper back on a flat surface to dry – no fiddling with it !! With this technique no two waves are ever going to be the same – you will create something different and unique every single time. I like that! Something to bear in mind, if you feel like trying this, is that the smoother the paper you use the faster your watermarks will form and will the bigger they will tend to be. So controlling how much water you use and where you place it is essential. Try it – it’s so much fun…

The third landscape is inspired by by my trip to Scotland last September. This is a misty early morning view of the Moray Firth. The beach, sea and sky all gently merge into each other in the mist and everything is perfectly still and quiet…

Misty Dawn - NB
Misty Dawn

My fourth landscape is straight out of my imagination – poppies in golden fields on a beautiful summers day…

Poppies in Fields of Gold - NB
Poppies In Fields Of Gold

My fifth landscape is an abstract Cornish seascape. Stormy skies over a turquoise sea, loosely based on the unusual light and weather patterns that often occur in Cornwall…

Storm at Sea - NB
Storm At Sea

All of these landscapes I have entered into the Landscape Escape Challenge in Jean Haines online art school . They are all very different but all very easy and fun to do.

Watercolour

Spring

Well, spring is springing very beautifully in my little corner of the world. We may be in lockdown but you can’t lockdown spring….

Spring Flowers - NB
Buttercup & Forget-Me-Not studies in watercolour

Yesterday I did some Forget-Me-Not and Buttercup studies in watercolour. These pretty little flowers I’ve observed on my daily walk. All were painted on Arches paper, torn in to 10 cm x 19 cm strips. I used a Rosemary and Co kolinsky sable brush and a Silver Black Velvet script brush.

Forget-Me-Nots - NB
Forget-Me-Not studies in watercolour

I used Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Blue for the Forget-Me-Not flowers. Just quick loose watercolour studies, trying to capture the essence of the flowers rather than doing botanical studies….

Buttercups - NB
Buttercup studies in watercolour

Buttercups – weeds or wild flowers? Whatever your view – they add a vibrant splash of colour to the environment. For the Buttercup flowers I used Hansa Yellow Medium (DS) and Cadmium Yellow Medium (DS).

I kept all these watercolour studies simple, trying to adopt a “less is more” approach. I loved painting these. And I’m making the most of the extra time I have right now to paint and have fun with my watercolours.

#rosemaryandcoareopen

Watercolour

Razor Shell Study

Razor Shell Study - NB

A watercolour sketch of a razor shell I found on the beach. Daniel Smith watercolours used were Undersea Green, Yellow Ochre and Sepia. You can see my little colour mixing experiments down the right side of the paper. The paper used was Saunders Waterford high white 200 lb Rough and measures 19 cm x 29 cm.

Anything connected to the sea, beach or coast will always be a primary source of inspiration for my watercolours. No pencil sketch used – drawing done with my paint brush. Much enjoyment gained as I saw the razor shell “appear” on the paper…

Watercolour

Rosehips

Rosehips - NB
Rosehips

A little splash of colour from my bleak winter garden –  some rosehips, painted in watercolour of course. I used Daniel Smith watercolours, Saunders Waterford high white watercolour paper (100% cotton, 200 lb, NOT) and it measures 19 cm x 29 cm.

I haven’t blogged much lately but things are happening in my watercolour world and I will post more in the new year.

Here’s another fun watercolour I did a couple of weeks ago:

Beach Time - NB
Beach Time

Looking forward to some beach time next year! My watercolour measures 15 cm x 19cm and was painted on Saunders Waterford high white paper – 100% cotton, 200 lb NOT. Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton watercolours were used. It was fun and puts a smile on my face when I look at it. More watercolour updates in the new year…