Watercolour

A Posh Frock

A Posh Frock - NB
A Posh Frock

“A Posh Frock” is my watercolour sketch for today. Frock is an old fashioned  word for a woman’s or girl’s dress and a word not really used much today. But being an old fashioned word it is perfect for my old fashioned, vintage watercolour dress.

The dress was painted with Daniel Smith’s Buff Titanium mixed with a little Naples Yellow. No other colours were used for the dress. The coat hanger was painted with a little Paynes Gray and the necklace was painted with Rose Madder. The paper used was Fabriano Artistico Extra White Rough, 140 lb and 100% cotton. I LOVE this paper! “A Posh Frock” measures 19 cm x 28 cm.

This was painted without a preliminary sketch – it was drawn with my paint brush…

Practicing my drawing in a separate sketchbook is really helping me with my watercolour painting. It’s helping me to be more confident when I put paint brush to paper. Straight away I can hear someone out there saying “but I’m no good at drawing…”. Well, the fact of the matter is this:

Anyone can learn to draw

True, some people are more naturally gifted than others but every single one of us can learn to draw. It just takes persistent practice and time. The main sketchbook I use for drawing at the moment is an A4 sketchbook I bought from Poundlands (a UK discount shop) for £1 – it’s brilliant. And I use a Derwent Mechanical Precision Pencil which costs £4.99 with a putty rubber costing £1.50. Drawing is cheap and cheerful and something I can do anywhere any time…

Painting without a preliminary sketch (drawing with a paint brush) is a whole lot harder, I have to admit, than just drawing with a pencil on paper. But, as with all things, it gets easier with practice…

“A Posh Frock” may just get put on the wall in my studio….

Watercolour

Garden Ewer

Garden Ewer - NB
Garden Ewer

A fairly simple watercolour offering for today – a garden ewer. Naturally, I painted this without a pencil sketch first. I picked this subject to paint to practice getting the shapes and lines of the ewer correct without pencil lines to guide me. The shape and form of the ewer is nice and simple. If some of the lines are a little wobbly on close inspection, for me, that is perfectly ok. Imperfection is perfection. Painting without a pencil sketch first, or “drawing with a paint brush” as I like to call it, is going to make my watercolour paintings unique. I’m personally not interested in painting realistic photographic quality copies of a subject, replicating every detail – I would much rather paint just the essence or a personal impression of a subject.

In her book Atmospheric Watercolours Jean Haines likens the preliminary pencil sketch to the bars of a cage that restrict you and fence you in when you are painting. That had a profound effect on me when I read it – I’d never thought of it like that before. And you know what? She’s right !! I think up till then I’d had a preconceived idea of how I thought watercolour painting was supposed to be and I was trying to fit in with that preconceived idea. When I read this section of Jean’s book those preconceived ideas vanished in a “puff of smoke”. They are gone forever. It hit home that I don’t need to conform to traditional watercolour painting philosophies ~ watercolour painting can be whatever I want it to be…

For this watercolour sketch I used a paper I’ve not tried before – Fabriano Artistico Extra White, 140 lb Rough and 100% cotton. This the first time I’ve actually used proper rough watercolour paper – up till now I’ve only bought NOT or cold pressed paper. So what do I think of this paper?? I love it… ! I love how the paint settles into the dips and troughs of the paper – it’s just beautiful. Why have I never tried rough paper before! I love rough paper so much I may never go back to using NOT/cold pressed paper ever again… (although, I will need to use up what NOT paper I already have left!)

Well I think I’ve waffled on enough for now! If you’ve read this far – thank you for sticking with me! I do realize that others may have a completely different view to watercolour painting to me and that’s completely okay too. At the end of the day, we’re all different and have to find our own path to follow that’s right for us personally…

Drawing & Sketching · Watercolour

The Lady In Grey

The Lady In Grey - NB
The Lady In Grey

This is today’s watercolour offering – The Lady In Grey. This is probably the closest I will ever get to life drawing! It measures  19 cm x 28 cm and was painted on Saunders Waterford high white paper, 140 lb NOT. It was painted loosely without a preliminary sketch. But I did do a pencil sketch on a separate sheet of paper first just to get a feel for the shapes and lines. Here’s my pencil sketch:

The Lady In Grey Sketch - NB

I’m hoping that practicing my drawing with a pencil in a separate sketchbook will help me to draw better with my paintbrush. The colours for the skin tones were: Buff Titanium, Naples Yellow, Quinacridone Coral and Burnt Sienna. The grey shawl was painted with a mix of Cobalt Blue and Buff Titanium to make a lovely soft blue/grey.

I like sketching with pencil in a sketchbook but when it comes to watercolour painting I much prefer to paint without a pencil sketch ~ something I’ve learnt from Jean Haines and it has well and truly stuck! However it is a challenge and I need lots of practice.

Looking forward now to what tomorrow’s watercolour offering might be…

 

Watercolour

The Blue Ballet Shoes

the blue ballet shoes - nb
The Blue Ballet Shoes ~ watercolour sketch

The Blue Ballet Shoes – a watercolour sketch. This is the same basic composition as my previous ballet shoe sketch but this one is a looser version, done without any pencil sketch. I did the “drawing” with my paint brush! I deliberately chose soft colours – almost ethereal colours.

Paints used were by Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton. Buff Titanium, Naples yellow, Quinacridone Coral, Burnt Sienna were used for the skin tones. Winsor Blue Red Shade mixed with white gouache was used for the ballet shoes. A little Yellow Ochre was mixed with the blue for the shadow. The paper used was Saunders Waterford High White, 140 lb cold pressed. I used Just two brushes – a #6 pointed round brush and a 1/2″ flat brush. My sketch measures 19 cm x 21 cm.

I much prefer working without a pencil sketch if possible but it is a challenge. And I did do a few practice sketches before this final version. Watercolour painting is a wonderful way to start the day…

Watercolour

Dance…

Dance - NB
Dance…

A watercolour sketch on Saunders Waterford, 140 lb, cold pressed watercolour paper. Drawing and painting practice. Daniel Smith watercolours were used. It was a challenge for me. But still much fun to do…

I am pleased to say my recent arm/shoulder injury is steadily improving. I have a way to go still but significant improvement has been made. I find painting easier now which pleases me enormously…

Watercolour

Pear Shaped!

Pear Shaped 1 - NB
Pear

I spent some time a couple days ago doing some simple still life watercolours of some pears. Not too much detail, just simple shapes and shading. The painting above and below were painted on Saunders Waterford High White paper, which was 100% cotton and 140 lb cold pressed…

Pear Shaped 2 - NB
A Pair Of Pears

These watercolours were quite appropriate really as life has gone a little “pear shaped” for me at the moment. I have a painful and debilitating arm injury at the moment which has required numerous trips to the hospital and still more trips to come. It’s my right arm and of course I am right handed… ! So whilst I have managed to paint, it has been a challenge and I can’t spend as long painting as I would like to. My arm is improving but progress is a bit slower than I initially thought it would be…

Pear Shaped 3 - NB
Practice sketch for “A Pair Of Pears”

Above is a practice sketch for “A Pair Of Pears” above. It was done on a small scrap of paper (acrylic paper actually…) just so I could practice getting the shapes, composition and colours right…

Very simple watercolour work – within my current limitations and very much fun to do!

Watercolour

Loose Rock Pile

Loose Rock Pile - NB
Rock Pile – a loose, impressionistic watercolour sketch

A watercolour sketch of a rock pile someone built on the beach…

This is the same rock pile as in my previous post but painted with a completely different interpretation of my original photo. This version was created using techniques I’ve learnt from Jean Haines books. This version is much looser, lighter and ethereal and I didn’t use a pencil sketch first…

Interestingly I used the same two Daniel Smith watercolours for this as in the previous rock pile – Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and French Ultramarine – only in more diluted mixes. This one too was painted on Saunders Waterford High White paper, 140 lb cold pressed and 100% cotton and also measures 19 cm x 29 cm. I did wonder whether to add more detail to this version but decided to leave it just as it is.

So which one of my two rock piles do I prefer? I like both versions but… this loose version has a little bit more of the “wow factor” for me personally. I prefer this one. This loose version appeals more to my creative nature.

So what do I learn from this? Everybody has to find their own style of painting. This teaches me that my natural style of watercolour painting is meant to be loose, more impressionistic than realistic – painting this way brings me much more excitement and happiness…

Watercolour

Little Blue Hyrdrangea Flower

Little Blue Hydrangea Flower
Little Blue Hyrdrangea Flower ~ watercolour

A watercolour sketch of a little blue hydrangea flower. This sketch is my interpretation of one of my own photos which you can see below. This turned out not quite as loose as I originally intended it to be but I like it all the same. No pencil sketch for this – I just used my paintbrush to paint the general shape of the little flower and then gradually worked on some details. It’s worth clicking on the sketch to view it larger…

This is my original photo:

Ocean Blue - DIB

I think I will regard this as a practice sketch and have another go at this – try for a looser version and alter the colours a little, it’s all good practice…

WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Vintage Bottle

Vintage Bottle - NB
Vintage Bottle

A vintage bottle from my kitchen window sill painted with watercolours. The bottle is quite old and the glass is a lovely turquoise/green colour when the light shines through it. Having been inspired by Jean Haines new book Atmospheric Flowers In Watercolour, I started looking for different vases, glasses etc. that I could put flowers in to paint. Then I remembered my little vintage bottle collection – they would be perfect to put flowers in! This is a practice watercolour sketch done in my khadi paper sketchbook. I thought I’d better practice getting the shape of the bottle right first before starting a proper painting…

From my sketch you can see that the top of the bottle has been broken in the past and the glass is rough and uneven. The bottom and sides of the bottle are thick and domed. The colours I chose to capture my vintage bottle were Cobalt Teal Blue, Cobalt Turquoise and Viridian. Now I just need a nice rose to go in it and I will have a lovely floral still life to capture in watercolour…

#WorldWatercolorMonth

Watercolour

Grab A Glass… !

Grab A Glass - NB
Grab A Glass!

A fun watercolour I did yesterday ~ a bottle of wine, just sitting quietly on the work top in the kitchen waiting to have it’s cork removed… !

This was painted on A4 Khadi paper, 300 lb and 100% cotton. I probably won’t buy this paper again but I need to use up what I already have. The colours I used were Winsor Violet and Indigo for this watercolour.

This was just pure fun to paint and it puts a smile on my face. And it’s also good practice for me. Painting with watercolours doesn’t always have to be about producing “a masterpiece”, sometimes it’s enough to just have fun painting simple every day things. And it’s very relaxing and therapeutic…