I don’t seem to have had much time for my art work lately so this week I made time for it. For just an hour or so I decided that everything else can wait….
I started with a fairly simple watercolour sketch of an apple:
I used Prussian Blue and Lemon Yellow plus a tiny bit of Burnt Umber for the stalk The paper is Saunders Waterford and this sketch measures approximately 8″ x 7″.
Next is my first ever attempt at painting a person, albeit a fairly abstract one….
I like my abstract lady in the rain. I have never been very keen to include people in my photography work, although there a very few exceptions. However, I am very keen to have a go at painting people with watercolour. The colours used here were Paynes Grey, Yellow Ochre, Rose Madder and Burnt Umber. The paper was a left over scrap of Khadi paper and measures approximately 6″ x 6″.
Inspiration for these sketches came from a mixture of Hazel Soan and Jean Haines, both brilliant inspirational watercolour painters. I painted straight onto the paper, no pencil sketches or lines – more drawing with a paint brush.
I enjoyed painting these watercolour sketches. They’re fairly simple and didn’t take long. So it just goes to show even with a busy schedule I can find time to paint if I really want to – even if it’s just 20 minutes or half an hour. Plus watercolour painting is so relaxing, de-stressing and therapeutic….
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…. !
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….
I got up quite early this morning and did some sketching….
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…. !
My lovely brother-in-law Colin treated me to a lovely Jean Haines watercolour book: Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolours. This is my version of the first exercise in the book. The purpose of the exercise was to practice holding the paint brush correctly (not to create a finished piece of work). I found this exercise very useful and now realize that I’ve been holding my brush all wrong!
This was my second attempt at this exercise – the first was a complete dogs dinner! I also used slightly different colours to the ones mentioned in the book. The paper I used was A5 Khadi paper.
This is a very beautiful book and once I open it I find I can’t put it down…. ! I love Jean Haines’ loose way of painting with watercolours. I will share more of my interpretations of the exercises in this book over the coming weeks as I progress through the book.
A small watercolour landscape. I painted this some weeks ago and I wasn’t sure if I liked it. So I just left it to one side for a few weeks and then went back to it. I do this with my photography sometimes if I have images I’m not sure about. When you look at images or art again after a few weeks you see things with a fresh perspective. When I revisited this watercolour I decided that perhaps it’s not so bad after all – I quite like it. I like the deckle edge of the paper (Fabriano Artistico NOT paper – 100% cotton)….
Today I decided I would also share just a few places that I get lots of wonderful watercolour inspiration from.
One page I love to visit is debi riley – The Creative Zone for Making Art. Debi is a very talented artist with many years experience. Her work is beautiful and she very generously shares her wealth of knowledge and experience on her blog. It’s a wonderful, inspirational place to visit for artists of all levels of experience. As a person still in the early stages of my watercolour journey, I’ve found it invaluable. My suggestion is: make yourself a coffee, make yourself comfy in front of the computer and lose a couple of hours exploring Debi’s blog – you wont regret it….
Next, I love colour. I love mixing colours and experimenting with colour. One stunning web page I love to visit can be found at Jackson’s, a UK art supply shop. Here you will find a beautiful Daniel Smith watercolour paint chart. Please do have a look.
What I love about this page is that you can view virtually the entire Daniel Smith range of watercolours all on one page and the colours are stunning. What I also love about this page is that you can click on each individual colour and it will tell you the pigment numbers that make up that colour and the properties of that colour, ie. it’s lightfastness, transparency, whether it’s a stainer or granulator etc. This information is invaluable to me. How can you not be inspired by all these beautiful colours…. ??
Another place I’ve found watercolour inspiration from lately is from a book called 10-Minute Watercolours by Hazel Soan. This is only a small book, inexpensive and it’s not a new book. But it’s a fantastic book – inspirational! This book simplifies watercolour painting and for me that’s a good thing. Hazel achieves many beautiful and inspirational watercolours in this book in just 10 minutes. Hazel makes two statements in this book that I will remember forever:
“Painting is an act of creation, not imitation.”
“….you are using the subject matter to create a watercolour, not using watercolour to re-create the subject.”
Those statements are quite profound and I will leave you to think about them….
I will share more of my sources of inspiration another time….
Some exercises in colour harmony. It’s all about mixing warm and cool colours….
Mixing Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, (warm colours) with Ultramarine Blue (cool colour) to create simple sunset seascapes….
I have put these colour harmony exercises into my watercolour work book. Inspiration for these exercises came from the book “Tate Watercolour Manual Lessons from the Great Masters”, the section on Joseph Mallord William Turner, whose work I absolutely adore….
Time spent on simple exercises like this is a very useful learning process for me. I’ve almost finished reading this book. Then I’m going to start it again from the beginning and do more of the exercises….
This is my very first attempt at painting a rose. And you will notice that I have used a large dollop of artistic license with the colour. It measures 7″ x 10″, which also makes it the largest watercolour painting I’ve done to date – I’m getting adventurous…. haha!
I’ve wanted to paint some roses for a while now but haven’t felt confident enough to do it. But last week a friend bought me a bunch of roses, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to have a go. I started off by doing a pencil sketch first. I’ve tried drawing roses before and made a complete pigs ear of it but this time I actually made quite a good job of of the drawing. I guess practice pays off….
I told myself “if I can draw it, I can paint it… “. I didn’t paint my drawing, I’ve left it in my sketchbook. I got my watercolour paper out and based on my sketch, I drew faint pencil outlines of the rose on my watercolour paper to use as a guide. Then it was just a case of letting the painting begin….
I know in reality blue roses don’t exist but I think it’s high time someone produced a hybrid…. ! The colours for my rose were Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Blue and Chinese White and the stem and leaves were Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna and a touch of Sap Green.
My rose watercolour isn’t perfect by any means but I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. I’m going to paint more roses but probably in slightly more traditional colours….