Watercolour

My Daniel Smith Paint Box

My DS Paint Box - NB

This is my custom built Daniel Smith paint box! I bought the watercolour tin with 24 empty full pans. When it arrived I noticed that I had space to fit in 8 half pans as well, so my DS paint box has 32 colours in it in total. Filling the pans is a slightly fiddly process and takes time – it took me several weeks! I filled the pans in layers and it took about 3 – 4 layers to fill each pan. You have to leave each layer to dry before adding the next – this can take several days, sometimes up to a week! But it was all worth the time and effort.

I now have a lovely set of Daniel Smith paints that is easily portable when I travel. The paints re-wet very easily and I’ve used my DS paint box quite a lot already as you may have noticed from the picture above…

As it’s not obvious what all the colours are from the above photo, I did a quick colour chart:

Colours in my DS Paint Box - NB

From left to right, the colours are as follows:

Top Row: Buff Titanium, Naples Yellow, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Hansa Yellow Medium, Permanent Orange, Cadmium Red Medium, Perylene Red, Quinacridone Coral

2nd Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, Cobalt Violet Deep, Carbazole Violet, Lavender, Indigo, Prussian Blue, Cerulean Blue Chromium

3rd Row: Phthalo Blue Green Shade, French Ultramarine, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue, Ultramarine Turquoise, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Viridian, Prussian Green

4th Row: Cascade Green, Rich Green Gold, Raw Sienna Light, Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Sepia, Paynes Blue Gray

This is quite a comprehensive set of colours and suits my needs. I can pretty much mix all the colours I should need whilst sketching on my travels. You’ll notice there are quite a few blues and greens – they are my ocean colours – I have to have them! I love the ocean and all things related. I love sketching “seaside stuff” when I’m on my travels…

Watercolour

The Fun Way To Learn About Colour

The fun way to learn about colour (colour theory) is to just have fun with it; swoosh different colours across the paper, add lots of water and see what you end up with…

Cascade Green - NB
Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green

Above is just Daniel Smith’s Cascade Green on it’s own in all it’s glory! Notice how the colours separate and granulate with the addition of lots of water. What a stunningly beautiful colour…

Ultramarine Turquoise - NB
Daniel Smith’s Ultramarine Turquoise

Ultramarine Turquoise does a similar thing – it separates and granulates beautifully with the addition of water. You can see some of the Ultramarine Blue has separated out in places…

Paynes Blue Gray - NB
Daniel Smith’s Paynes Blue Gray & Raw Sienna Light

Above is Paynes Blue Gray and Raw Sienna Light. I like these two colours together…

Indigo & Permanent Orange - NB
Daniel Smith’s Indigo & Permanent Orange

Indigo and Permanent Orange contrast beautifully together and mingle quite happily together on the paper…

Carbazole Violet & MANS - NB
Daniel Smith’s Carbazole Violet and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna

I adore the Carbazole Violet and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna together – they contrast beautifully. I think of pansies when I see these colours together…

Rhodonite Genuine & Naples Yellow - NB
Daniel Smith’s Naples Yellow & Rhodonite Genuine

Naples Yellow and Rhodonite Genuine are stunning together – I love them both. They are beautiful for floral compositions – I think of roses when I see these colours together…

Cadmium Yellow & Cascade Green - NB
Daniel Smith’s Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cascade Green & Phthalo Green (BS)

I had no idea what would happen when I mixed the Cascade Green with the Cadmium Yellow on the paper but I like the result. I added a touch of Phthalo Green Blue Shade down the left side and it mixed with the other colours beauifully. These colours work well together…

I had so much fun creating these colour samples. I will keep them for future reference and have written on the back of each what colours I used. I’m going to build up a collection of them.

I would like to state here and now that in all of the colour samples here I LOVE the colour runs, cauliflowers and blooms !! For me they’re part what make watercolour such a stunningly beautiful and unique medium to work with. Also I’m a girl hopelessly in love with colour and texture, I always have been and always will be; and Daniel Smith watercolour paints do not disappoint on both counts… !

Why not have some fun with colour this week…

Collage

The Return Of The Collage Project

Today, after a 3 month break,  I am resuming the collage project I was doing with my sister Carolyn. The project had been temporarily shelved for an assortment of reasons but I can now see my way clear to resume where I left off. Carolyn probably wont be posting any for a while yet but do click the link and enjoy browsing through her art work anyway.

For our collage project we were following the prompts in The Collage Workbook by Randel Plowman. It’s a great book with wonderful creative collage ideas. Today I begin with prompt no. 16 which is “upside down”. Here’s what I did…

Drifting Into Autumn - NB
Drifting Into Autumn

I have chosen soft autumn colours for this collage and I have deliberately placed several elements of the collage upside down. In my corner of the UK autumn is setting in early – trees are changing colour in the park and leaves are dropping like mad. It’s more than likely due to our unusually hot summer and lack of rain.

I have also done prompt no. 17 which is “finger paint”. I had to place some paint onto my collage using only my fingers – a little bit messy but quite fun to do…

Summer Breeze - NB
Summer Breeze

Soft blue shades dominate this collage. White and turquoise acrylic paint was fingered down the left hand side of the collage but I have covered over some of it with collage elements. There is also some white paint across the top too. Erosion Bundle paper was used for this collage along with some used teabags, some scrim and a couple of bits of flaky paint I found in the harbour which probably came off a boat or two…

I love collage – it’s so much fun. I love how it’s a form of art that anyone can do, whether you have no art experience at all or are a seasoned professional artist. Collage can be as simple or as complex as you wish. It’s a fun way to let your imagination run wild.

More collages are in progress as I speak and I will post them soon. Why not try a little collage work this week… ?

Watercolour

Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

DS Colour Combinations - NB
Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

I indulged in a little colour play very early this morning before it got too hot. Here are 14 pairs of colours I’ve put together on a page in my khadi paper sketchbook. The colours I’ve used are:

Left Column:    (from the top)

Indigo + Permanent Orange, Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise, Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue Green Shade (GS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre, Rhodonite Genuine + Cadmium Yellow Medium & Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold

Right Column     (from the top)

Paynes Blue Gray + Raw Sienna Light, Phthalo Blue GS + Cobalt Teal Blue, Carbazole Violet + Indigo, Buff Titanium + Potters Pink, Cobalt Teal Blue + Buff Titanium, Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise & Viridian + Phthalo Blue GS

All paints used were by Daniel Smith…

The colours in each pair look lovely together. And as far as colour combinations go, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I haven’t consulted a colour wheel for this exercise and there are no rules. I’ve simply used my own judgement as to what colours I feel look good together in pairs. Many of the colour pairs I tried out first on a piece of scrap paper before painting them in my sketchbook.

I love all these pairs of colours but I do have some favourites… ! For example I especially love the Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples yellow together. Another favourite is the Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue GS. Also  favourites are the Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise and Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold….

This is such a fun way for me to expand my knowledge of colours, pigments and and how they react with each other on paper. And it’s also a wonderful way to work out which colours I personally like or don’t like together. I will do some more colour charts like this with different colour pairs – I have lots of colours I haven’t tried yet…

It is worth clicking on the image to view it larger.  You can also take this exercise a step further and put different sets of pairs together to make a foursome; for example why not put the ‘Permanent Orange +Phthalo Blue GS’ pair with the ‘Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue’ pair – that would make a lovely foursome. Or I could put the ‘Carbazole Violet + Indigo’ pair with the ‘Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise’ pair – that would be a gorgeous foursome. You get the idea…

Building up a collection of colour charts like this is a lovely way of seeing at a glance which colours could work for you and which do not. So why not get all your colours out and start pairing them up on a large sheet of paper – you may get some lovely colourful surprises…

WorldWatercolorMonth

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… ?

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 New Gamboge 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…

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…

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….

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….