Art · Watercolour

Start Painting!

Start Painting - NB
Start Painting!

A watercolour sketch in my khadi paper sketchbook.  No prizes for guessing which brand of paint these are… ! These tubes of paint were on my desk in my little home studio, they made a great subject to paint. The colours of these paint tubes are Prussian Blue and Buff Titanium.

I enjoyed painting these tubes of paint and I like how my sketch turned out, in spite of it’s imperfections. But I also got some much needed practice at drawing with my paint brush… I’ve learnt and grown from just doing a simple painting like this. Now, what else can I paint… ?

Art · Watercolour

Hotting Things Up

These are some new hot summer colours I’ve just added to my palette…

Hot Summer Colours - NB
Hot Summer Colours

Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Coral, Hansa Yellow Medium and Quinacridone Rose. In their undiluted form they are very rich strong pigments but they ditlute to the most beautiful delicate colours…

The Colours Of Summer - NB

At the top we have Quinacridone Coral mixing with the Hansa Yellow Medium; notice the lovely tangerine orange they create together. Next, bottom left, we have Quinacridone Rose mixed with Hansa Yellow Medium and notice the orange is much softer. Bottom right we have Quinacridone Rose mixed with Naples Yellow – the Naples Yellow has softened the pink to a more dusty shade of pink. I’m looking forward to working more with these colours…

I’ve also been playing with some Buff Titanium too and created some lovely colour mixes…

Mixing Buff - Warm - NB

Here I’ve mixed  Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium with some colours from the warm side of the colour wheel. Top left corner we have Buff Titanium on it’s own. Next to it we have it mixed with Cadmium Red. Line 2: we have Alizarin Crimson with Buff Titanium; Line 3: we have Permanent Rose mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 4: we have Cadmium Orange mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 5: we have Cadmium Orange with Buff Titanium; Line 6: we have Indian Yellow mixed with Buff Titanium. I love the pale delicate pinks and yellows on the right half of the chart…

Mixing Buff - Cool - NB

Here we have some blues and greens mixed with Buff Titanium – colours from the cool half of the colour wheel. Line 1: Prussian Blue mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 2: Sap Green (left) and Hookers Green (right) mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 3: Ultramarine mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 4: Indanthrene Blue mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 5: Phthalo Blue (left) and Cobalt Turquoise (right) mixed with Buff Titanium; Line 6: Phthalo Blue mixed with Buff Titanium.

I love how the Buff Titanium turns the blues into beautiful soft blues and greys. I also like how it has softened and lightened the greens. Something to bear in mind when mixing with Buff Titanium is that it is a granulating colour, only very mildly, but this may create a slight textural effect when mixed with some colours. That’s not a bad thing at all as I love texture.

I love playing with colour – it’s fun but it also teaches me a lot about how colours react together. And I nearly always get some nice surprises – sometimes the paints do wonderful things you don’t expect…

Just as a final note has anyone tried the Daniel Smith Watercolour Sticks? If so, what is your experience with them? Do you like them and would you recommend them? Please let me know what you think. I’m contemplating buying some to use in a sketchbook when I’m travelling but I would be most interested to know of your personal experience with them.

More colour fun in the pipeline this week…

Art · 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…

Art · Watercolour

Wash Day….

No, I’m not talking about the laundry…. ! When watercolour painting, the expression “wash day” takes on a whole new meaning. Practicing initial washes is an exercise in Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolours book. And I have to say it’s a lovely, relaxing and therapeutic exercise to do.

Here’s my first wash, loosely based on the exercise in Jean’s book in the link above:

Initial Wash 1 - NB

A loose, light and colourful wash. This will be the base on which I will eventually build on and create a lovely painting.

My next wash is based specifically upon one of my own photos. A floral photo:

Initial Wash 2 - NB

Again, in time, I will build upon this initial wash to create a watercolour painting based upon my photo.

When I have built upon these washes and turned them into finished paintings I will post the results. Not sure when that will be yet but, hey, there’s no rush…. ! They will sit patiently in my studio till I’m ready to work on them. I will know when the time is right….

Art · Collage

Colour Charge

Welcome to week 4 of a collage project I’m doing with my sister Carolyn, following the prompts from Randel Plowmans book The Collage Workbook. This weeks prompt is colour charge – add colour to a collage that’s primarily black and white. Here’s what I did:

Vintage Orange - NB
Vintage Orange

This is a vintage black and white collage coloured with a fairly bright orange. I’ve used orange printed material and orange oil pastel. This collage measures approx. 6″ x 6″.

A Touch Of Rus - NB
A Touch Of Rust

For this collage I printed out some of my own black and white photographs and cut them up for the collage base. Then I added rusty colours in the form of watercolour paint, rusty paper scraps and some fabric – both from my erosion bundle material. This collage measures 8″ x 8″.

Next weeks collages are going to be colourful….

Art · Watercolour

Stormy Seas

Stormy Seas - NB

A watercolour seascape I created using techniques I’ve learnt from Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolours book. In a few short weeks this book has completely transformed the way I think about and paint with watercolours. And I can’t see myself EVER going back to a more traditional way of watercolour painting….

Please click on the image to view it larger – you’ll be able to see the colours and lovely textures better. For the base of this painting I used clingfilm to create texture in the very first wash. I’ve struggled a bit with the clingfilm thing but with a bit of perseverance I’ve improved.

It took me a couple of days to do this – with large amounts of time just leaving areas to dry before carrying on.  But I’m quite pleased with the end result. Off now to learn more from Jean Haines…. !

Art · Watercolour

Opening Doors

This is another exercise from the book Atmospheric Watercolours by Jean Haines….

The Venetian Door - NB

This is The Venetian Door. There is every colour in the rainbow in this! Normally I wouldn’t use so may colours but just for the exercise in the book I have stuck to similar, not identical, colours to what Jean used. I’ve certainly put my own stamp on this – mine looks quite a bit different to the version in the book….

The purpose of this exercise is to simply practice a variety of techniques Jean teaches in her book. I enjoyed painting this. It’s good practice at painting loosely. This watercolour measures 8″ x 11″ and was painted on 140 lb Fabriano Artistico watercolour paper.

Slowly but surely I think my watercolour skills are improving….

Art · Watercolour

Paintbox

I got up quite early this morning and did some sketching….

Paintbox - NB

This is my much used and loved paintbox. When I’m at home in my workroom I like to paint with tube watercolour paints but when I’m on the move or away from home I use my paint box above. The paints originally in this box were cheap and nasty, so I binned them and replaced them with Winsor & Newton pans instead. I hand picked all the colours myself and the colours are:

Top row from the left: Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Rose Madder, Dioxazine Violet, Prussian Blue, Indigo

Bottom row from the left: Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise, Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Lamp Black

I’ve deliberately let the colours of the pans run, to give a slightly messy look to them because that’s how a paintbox should be – messy, used and looking like someones had some fun with it. I’ve certainly had a lot of fun with mine…. !