Watercolour

The Sky’s The Limit… !

I’ve been practicing painting skies. I would like to paint more landscapes this year. When painting landscapes quite often the sky is the first thing that is painted. Obviously I don’t want to “fall at the first hurdle” so I must practice!

I get a good view of the sunrise from the window in my little home studio, so I do get to see some very varied and interesting sky colours and cloud patterns in the early mornings; I’m hoping to draw inspiration from these. Also I have an archive of my own sky/sunrise/sunset photos (from my photography days) which I am going to draw inspiration from.

I have a collection of very different skies to share with you today. All the skies I’m about to share will be glued into a sketchbook, stating the colours I’ve used, for my future reference:

Above a storm is brewing! The colours I used were Ultramarine Blue, Indigo, Lunar Black, Burnt Sienna and Monte Amiata Natural Sienna. Daniel Smith watercolours were used for all the skies in this post; and all the skies were painted on Arches Aquarelle Rough, 140 lb except for one which was painted on Fabriano Artistico Extra White rough, 140 lb.

Here we have a bright blue sky with light fluffy white clouds with just a hint of grey. Colours used are Ultramarine Blue and Flint Grey (my own grey mix).

Heavy rain falling… ! Colours are Prussian Blue and Indigo. I’ve seen heavy rain like this falling in the distance out at sea…

Above is the one painted on Fabriano artistico Extra White paper. Colours are Ultramarine Blue and Sepia. The Sepia mixes with the Ultramarine to create some lovely greys…

More stormy skies! I threw some colours at this one – Prussian Blue, Paynes Blue Gray, Lunar Black, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Quinacridone Burnt Orange. Some artists chose not to use ready made blacks, preferring to mix their own but I keep Daniel Smith’s Lunar Black in my palette for several reasons – 1. It’s TRANSPARENT, 2. It GRANULATES, and 3. It MIXES beautifully with other colours to create stunning granulating colours (like Lunar Blue for example).

Lightning storm… ! Colours are Indanthrone Blue, Carbazole Violet and Cascade Green. I did also use Winsor & Newton’s Titanium White watercolour (not gouache) for the lightning.

This sky has a little shimmer added to it courtesy of a little mica powder. Base colours are Prussian Blue, Paynes Blue Gray and Gray Titanium; the mica colours are Gold and Baby Blue – they added a little extra interest to an otherwise slightly dull sky…!

The sky above and the one below are loosely based on skies I’ve seen from my home recently. They were both seen  just minutes apart each other, yet they are very different; they are testimony to the fact our skies are constantly shifting and changing, sometimes very rapidly. Above I used my own Flint Gray and Quinacridone Coral; the sky had a soft light grey cloud cover but with a definite pink undertone, which showed through the lighter patches of cloud.

The pink sky quickly disappeared and gave way to blue sky with fluffy light ochre clouds, and a light dusting of  grey underneath. The colours I used here were Yellow Ochre and Ultramarine Blue.

The start of a new day. This is a sky I see often from my studio window as the sun starts to rise and it’s usually a sign that it’s going to be a beautiful day. The colours I used here were Cobalt Blue, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Coral and my own Flint Grey.

No two skies will ever be exactly the same; there will always be wonderful new painting inspiration to be gained from looking up at the sky. And a beautiful atmospheric sky can change the whole mood of a painting. I am going to paint skies (for my personal reference) on a regular basis now; I wont blog about all of them but may post a few here and there.

A lot can be learned about colour from looking at the sky. So next time you’re out don’t forget to look up! What shapes, patterns and colours do you see? What colours would you use to paint what you see? Notice how sky colours never clash – they always look amazing together. So now I need to practice putting what I see in the sky above onto watercolour paper. I’ve discovered that painting a few skies is a great warm up exercise when I begin a painting session. So  why not give it a go – look out of the window at the sky and have some fun painting what you see!

Watercolour

Experimental Seascape

Experimental Seascape - NB

An experimental seascape in my Khadi paper sketchbook. The sky is indigo and the sea is a mixture of different blues plus Daniel Smith Rich Green Gold. It looks more effective when viewed from a distance and the real thing looks better than the photograph! I’ve been trying to build up a few light layers of colour without overdoing it. I was tempted to work on this a bit more but I think I’ll leave it as it is…

MIXING RICH GREEN GOLD

I’ve also had a little play with Daniel Smith’s Rich Green Gold (not to be confused with Daniel Smith’s Green Gold, a different colour)…

Mixing Rich Green Gold - NB

First I mixed Rich Green Gold with some popular blues. You can see from the chart above I made some lovely green shades. Then I mixed the Rich Green Gold with some reds and made some lovely browns and burnt orange colours. The photograph doesn’t really do them justice. What I’ve learnt from this is that if I want to create some lovely vibrant earth colours then Daniel Smith’s Rich Green Gold is a good colour to create them with…

Watercolour

A Stormy Sky

A stormy sky over a turquoise sea…

Stormy Sky Over A Turquoise Sea - NB
A Stormy Sky Over A Turquoise Sea

Sometimes the light is so beautiful at the Cornish coast ~ on one side of the sky you can have briliant sunshine and on the other you can have dark stormy clouds, all at the same time! The sunlight makes the sea a beautiful light turquoise colour and the storm clouds cast dark shadows over the the distant coastline…

This is a watercolour on Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton paper. The colours used were: Paynes Grey, Ivory Black, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue and Viridian. My seascape measures approx. 7.5″ x 5″.

Watercolour

Sail Away….

Sail Away - NB

A quick and simple wet in wet watercolour seascape sketch. It took me about 10 minutes. It measures just 5″ x 3.5″. I used just blue paints, apart from a tiny touch of white guache for the sails of the boat…

Colours used: Prussian Blue, Indigo,  Phthalo Blue, Cobalt Teal Blue

Paper: Fabriano Artistco Watercolour Paper, 100% cotton, 140 lb Cold Pressed

You don’t always have to labour for days and hours over a detailed masterpiece, sometimes something quick and simple is enough….

Watercolour

Creative Seascapes

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)….

Seascape 4 - NBPhthalo Blue, Emerald, Raw Sienna….Seascape 1 - NBA touch of permanent Rose for a slightly evening, dusk touch…Seascape 3 - NBand a little Prussian Blue ~ one of my favourite blues….Seascape 2 - NBThese will all assume their rightful places in my watercolour sketchbook….

Watercolour

A Rainy Day In Scotland

Rainy Day In Scotland - NB
A RAINY DAY IN SCOTLAND

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…

Watercolour

Cloud & Sky Studies – Part 1

A little watercolour practice in painting skies and clouds:

Sky Studies 1 - Rain Clouds - NB
RAIN CLOUDS

“Rain Clouds” above was painted with Paynes Gray

Sky Studies 1 - Storm Clouds - NB
STORM CLOUDS

“Storm Clouds” was painted with Indigo for a slightly more moody looking sky

Sky Studies 1 - Bright & Breezy - NB
BRIGHT & BREEZY

“Bright & Breezy” was painted with Cerulean Blue and tiny touches of Phthalo Blue

Sky Studies 1 - Sundown - NB
SUNDOWN

“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…

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Watercolour

Woolalcombe Sands Watercolour

Woolacombe Bay Watercolour - NB

This is my very first ever watercolour seascape. It measures 15 cm x 11.5 cm and was painted on watercolour paper (140 lbs Cold Press). You can click the image to view larger. It’s a very simple seascape and loosely based on this image of Woolacombe Sands, North Devon:

Hazy Winter Beach - RN

I added a little more colour to my watercolour than what’s in the original image. I used just 3 colours – Cerulean Blue Hue, Indigo and Raw Sienna. When I took the photo the very bright hazy sunlight bleached most of the colour from the seascape.

As far as watercolour painting goes I am very much a beginner – very much to learn… ! I’ve always loved watercolour paint – I love the loose washes of colour that so readily mingle with each other, I love both the rich bold colours and the delicate pastel shades too and I love how the watercolour paint flows so effortlessly across the paper…

I have stuck my watercolour seascape into my dedicated watercolour sketchbook. And there will be more watercolour paintings in the future…

Photography

A Black Diamond

a-black-diamond-edit-nb

A black diamond in a shimmering sapphire ocean under an aquamarine sky…

St. Clements Isle, just off the shore of Mousehole, Cornwall, UK, on a beautiful sunny day. I love the blue tones…

very-vintage-st-ives-nb

A very vintage and creative view of St. Ives, Cornwall, UK. I used one of the photographed papers from my Winter Erosion Bundle as a texture over a St. Ives photo. I love the vintage effect and colours…

Sketchbooks · Watercolour

Aurora

 

aurora-rn

A 9 cm x 10 cm abstract mixed media sample for my collaged sketchbook, inspired by the Aurora Borealis. The colours at the base are Intense Blue (Phthalo Blue) and Lemon Yellow watercolours. The blue bled into the yellow to create a gorgeous shade of turquoise and to that I added a touch of Emerald and the tiniest bit of Yellow Ochre. When dry I added complimentary shades of Pearl Mica to add a starry sparkle to my Aurora