Lets start today’s post with the seed heads. Poppy seed heads to be exact. Just simple watercolour sketches but much fun to do:
An assortment of colours were used for these poppy seed heads. The Winsor & Newton colours used were: Olive Green, Raw Umber, Raw Sienna and a touch of Winsor Violet. The Daniel Smith colours used were: Cascade Green, Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Sienna Light, Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Goethite…
Next on my watercolour “to do” list was a seagull. I did just a simple watercolour sketch to get the basic shape, features and colours:
I started painting my seagull with the beak, using Hansa Yellow Medium & Quinacridone Gold by Daniel Smith. I had already chosen my colours after testing some on a piece of scrap paper. Next I painted the eye and then the negative outline of the bird. No preliminary pencil sketch was used. For the soft shading on the seagull’s head and body I used my own grey mix – FLINT GREY – and for the wing and tail end I used Lunar Black by Daniel Smith. I used Prussian Blue and a little Flint Grey for the negative outline of the seagull. This was very easy to do and I will move onto more involved seagull compositions.
These are large breakfast mushrooms, bought from a local supermarket mainly for the purpose of painting. But of course they will be consumed; no food is ever wasted in the creation of a watercolour! I used just three colours for this watercolour sketch: Verditer Blue, Raw Sienna and Sepia, all by Daniel Smith. I started with diluted washes of Verditer Blue; when dry I overlaid them with dilute washes of Raw Sienna. This process produced the soft mushroom grey colours. For the gills inside the mushroom I used Sepia. For the surface the mushrooms are sitting on I used Verditer Blue mixed with a little Sepia. This was a good practice exercise for me.
Finally these are some of the most recent additions to my watercolour palette:
I love all these colours. Verditer Blue is stunning; it’s a cooler blue than Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Blue but not as cool as Cerulean Blue. Raw Sienna by Daniel Smith is different to what I would call a traditional raw sienna; but it’s wonderful for mixing with other colours or, indeed, just on it’s own. There’s nothing better to add new life to your watercolour painting than having new colours to play with…
I have three very different watercolour offerings to show you today. The first is a watercolour sketch painted on my recent holiday to the Scottish Highlands…
Our holiday home in Scotland was right on the seafront in a very quiet little village in the Highlands. I enjoyed walking along the beach early each morning. It was so quiet and peaceful, very relaxing and soothing to the soul. On these walks I enjoyed picking up sea shells (see previous post), pebbles and other items of interest. Above is a watercolour sketch of some grey pebbles I found on the beach. All the pebbles were grey but all different shades of grey. I tried to capture all the differing shades of grey by mixing all my own grey’s in the palette first and testing them out on a piece of scrap paper before painting. Each of the pebbles were different shapes and had very different patterns and markings, which I also tried to capture in my watercolour sketch. They were very enjoyable to paint.
Above are patterns made by dropping dark watercolour shades into circles of water on watercolour paper. This was an exercise from Jean Haines’ latest book Paint Yourself Positive. I’m not going to explain the purpose of this exercise (you’ll have to buy the book to find out that… !) but it was a very simple and fun exercise to do. The colours I chose to use were Lunar Black, Paynes Blue Gray and Sepia – all by Daniel Smith. I love how the Lunar Black granulates – it’s a very useful shade of black to have in your palette. I love these darker colours but I also love brighter ones too…
Above is a watercolour painting of three bright, colourful squashes and was inspired by the veggie section in Jean Haines’ Paint Yourself Positive book (link above). I bought these squashes from my local supermarket (Morrison’s to be exact) – they are such wonderful colours and shapes. They were just begging to be painted! But I do have to add that no food was wasted in the creation of this watercolour – these squashes are absolutely delicious roasted… !
Three very different watercolour offerings here today but all beautiful in their own way and much fun to paint.
“It’s Time” is a small watercolour interpretation of one of my own images. It measures 19 cm x 17 cm and was painted on Arches rough paper. I used Daniel Smith watercolours. Just 4 colours were used, namely, Quinacridone Gold, Transparent Red Oxide, Lunar Black and Cobalt Teal Blue. No preliminary pencil sketch was used.
This watercolour nearly ended up in the bin. I was working on one particular section and as soon as I’d done it I knew instantly that it was wrong. It wouldn’t lift off. I’m stuck with it. My heart sank. I’ve ruined it… and it was going so well. It was at this point I spent a couple of minutes seriously considering whether or not I should just bin it and start again. I decided not to bin it. I simply left it on the desk in my studio and walked away. I shut the studio door and didn’t return to it till the next morning. Looking at it with fresh eyes I could see that maybe there was a way to recover the situation. I’m glad I didn’t throw it away now and I like how it finished up.
“It’s Time…” is an appropriate title for this watercolour as I’ve decided it’s time I knuckled down to some more intensive watercolour practice… !
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…
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…
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…
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!
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…
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 are 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….
I made time for a little creative photography today….
I photographed some of my paint brushes on my desk in my little studio.
I used my 18 – 55 mm kit lens with my Canon EOS 7D. I processed the image in Photoshop. Very simply explained, I desaturated the image so that it was almost black and white but not quite. Then I added two layers of one of my own textures. Finally I sharpened the image and saved it. Done.
I love how the texture layers have given the brush handles a lovely marbled look….
A collection of vintage blue and rusty coloured treasures from around my work room. Vintage dyed fabrics, a piece of dyed string, a vintage blue pressed hydrangea flower, a rusty coloured dried pressed rose, a rusty ring pull from a can – all on a vintage blue textured background. I painted the background paper with acrylic paints.
All these lovely things I collect inspire me and I will eventually use them in art work when the right project comes along. And I will then replace them with other lovely things… !