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….
Do you like eating your greens? Personally I love eating my greens BUT…. painting them is a whole lot more fun….. !!
I did these watercolour samples back in the spring (hence the title of this post). These lovely shades of green (and some neutrals) were created by mixing 2 blues and 2 yellows. The blues were indigo and Cobalt Teal Blue. The yellows were Lemon Yellow and Raw Sienna. There’s a lovely assortment of beautiful greens here but notice the lovely neutral tones in the two bottom left colour samples – they’re edging toward the grey side which I love….
Above we have mixes of Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium and Cobalt Teal Blue…
On the top line from the left: Buff Titanium, Buff Titanium + White, Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue
On the bottom line from the left: Cobalt Teal Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue + White, Cobalt Teal Blue + more White
I love mixing colours, it’s such a fun thing to do and so relaxing. But it’s also a great way for me to learn how colours mix and react with each other. These colour samples will go into my watercolour workbook…
Today I spent a couple of hours redesigning my blog. I’ve been fiddling with different blog designs on and off for months now but I finally found one I liked. A simple clean light design that I can easily customize if I feel the need for a change. I hope you like the changes here….
Here are four post card size creative seascapes. Just loose washes of watercolour in some bright and some pastel seaside colours and they are best viewed large (click on the images)….
Phthalo Blue, Emerald, Raw Sienna….A touch of permanent Rose for a slightly evening, dusk touch…and a little Prussian Blue ~ one of my favourite blues….These will all assume their rightful places in my watercolour sketchbook….
I have just finished my samples for the Surface Treatment Workshop for this week (which I’m hoping to post tomorrow) and had some acrylic paint left in my palette. So, not wanting to waste the paint, I decided to do a quick mini acrylic seascape on canvas. It’s veering slightly towards the abstract side….
My painting measures 7 cm x 7 cm. So the photo is actually quite a bit bigger than the original painting but that does mean that you can see the detail, especially if you click on the image twice. Acrylic colours used were: Prussian Blue, Indigo, Pale Power Blue, Turquoise, Cerulean Blue, Pale Olive and White. So for a small painting that is actually quite a lot of colours but I do like to do lots of layers of colour with acrylic paints….
A wet in wet watercolour sketch on 140 lb hot pressed watercolour paper. The majority of this sketch is done with Paynes Grey, with just very tiny hints of Sepia and Prussian Blue. This took me about 15 minutes.
When it rains in Scotland the mountains very quickly blur into the clouds and mist and they still look beautiful. This sketch, my abstract rendition of rain on the mountains, will be stuck into my watercolour sketchbook…
A little watercolour practice in painting skies and clouds:
“Rain Clouds” above was painted with Paynes Gray
“Storm Clouds” was painted with Indigo for a slightly more moody looking sky
“Bright & Breezy” was painted with Cerulean Blue and tiny touches of Phthalo Blue
“Sundown” was painted with some soft sunset shades, namely: Sepia, Cadmium Red Pale Hue and Lemon Yellow. These colours were inspired by an image in my photo archives.
I enjoyed doing these very much and I plan to do more using different colours and trying different cloud patterns. Being a seasoned photographer I have a whole heap of “sky” photos in my archives to refer to for a little help and inspiration.
I remember years ago my brother saying to me ” What ARE you photographing??” as I had my camera pointed at the sky. I happily replied ” Clouds…”, his reply was “You’re weird.. !! ” shaking his head, with that cheeky grin on his face… ! LOL !!
I’ve learnt over the years to be completely indifferent to the strange looks I get when I photograph unusual things, at strange angles. If I like the colours, textures, shapes etc. I photograph it – I’ve learnt to trust my artistic judgement and not be self conscious about what other people think…