Art · Watercolour

Rocks

Here are some watercolour sketches I did over the past week. I was practicing painting rocks, as in the sort you find on the beach…

Rocks 1 - NB

The purpose of the exercise was to try and capture 3 dimensional shape and depth by changing the tone gradually from light to dark…

Rocks On A Beach - NB

I’ve chosen mostly rounded shapes for these rock sketches but I will try some more with more angular shapes. I’ve tried to capture a little texture in the rocks too by varying the tones of the paint. You can click on the images to view them larger if you wish.

These were fairly simple sketches to do; they didn’t take long; and they were fun… !

Art · Watercolour

Sailing

Sailing - NB

At the weekend I spent some time watching all the different sailng boats coming and going in the bay. I took some photographs and then sat outside to do some watercolour sketches of a few of them.

The photos I took were backlit so the boats were silhouetted. Therefore I painted them with just black watercolour paint – Lamp Black to be exact. The purpose of this exercise was for me to practice getting the shapes of the boats right – not with too much detail, but just enough to identify each sailing boat. I did start off with some very light pencil sketches first.

I enjoyed painting these and it was some much needed sketching practice for me…

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Art · Watercolour

The Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains - NB
The Blue Mountains

This watercolour sketch is an exercise in layering colour painted on khadi paper and inspired by Hazel Soan’s book The Essence Of Watercolour. When layering watercolours you have to let one layer dry completely before adding the next (unless you’re going for a wet in wet effect). This takes PATIENCE… ! I’ve found that patience is one of the hardest things to learn with watercolour painting – just letting certain areas of a painting dry completely without touching or fiddling. Hazel Soan is so right when she says in her book (link above) that much of a watercolourist’s life is spent watching paint dry… !

My landscape above is monochromatic but the colour was mixed in the palette first. The colours I mixed together for my landscape were: Prussian Blue, Indigo and Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue – all by Daniel Smith.  I’m going to practice layering much more and start experimenting with different colours to develop an idea of how they work together…

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Art · Watercolour

Watercolour Rose Macro

Watercolour Macro Rose - NB
Watercolour Rose Macro

A rose macro painted loosely in watercolour. It was painted on Arches paper. The colours I chose to use were Naples Yellow, Quinacridone Rose and Rhodonite Genuine ~ all by Daniel Smith. This painting is my interpretation of one of my own photos shown below…

Macro Rose

Painting an exact copy of the photo is not what I wanted to do – Hazel Soan’s words ring in my ears “you are using the subject matter to create a watercolour, not using watercolour to recreate the subject”. Just capturing the essence of what’s in the photo or my own interpretation is enough. At the end of the day, for me it’s all about getting lots of practice at painting with watercolours and this was very good practice for me…

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Art · 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…

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Art · Watercolour

Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

DS Colour Combinations - NB
Daniel Smith Watercolour Pairs

I indulged in a little colour play very early this morning before it got too hot. Here are 14 pairs of colours I’ve put together on a page in my khadi paper sketchbook. The colours I’ve used are:

Left Column:    (from the top)

Indigo + Permanent Orange, Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples Yellow, Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise, Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue Green Shade (GS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre, Rhodonite Genuine + Cadmium Yellow Medium & Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold

Right Column     (from the top)

Paynes Blue Gray + Raw Sienna Light, Phthalo Blue GS + Cobalt Teal Blue, Carbazole Violet + Indigo, Buff Titanium + Potters Pink, Cobalt Teal Blue + Buff Titanium, Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise & Viridian + Phthalo Blue GS

All paints used were by Daniel Smith…

The colours in each pair look lovely together. And as far as colour combinations go, I’ve barely scratched the surface. I haven’t consulted a colour wheel for this exercise and there are no rules. I’ve simply used my own judgement as to what colours I feel look good together in pairs. Many of the colour pairs I tried out first on a piece of scrap paper before painting them in my sketchbook.

I love all these pairs of colours but I do have some favourites… ! For example I especially love the Cerulean Blue Chromium + Naples yellow together. Another favourite is the Permanent Orange + Phthalo Blue GS. Also  favourites are the Quinacridone Gold + Ultramarine Turquoise and Quinacridone Coral + Quinacridone Gold….

This is such a fun way for me to expand my knowledge of colours, pigments and and how they react with each other on paper. And it’s also a wonderful way to work out which colours I personally like or don’t like together. I will do some more colour charts like this with different colour pairs – I have lots of colours I haven’t tried yet…

It is worth clicking on the image to view it larger.  You can also take this exercise a step further and put different sets of pairs together to make a foursome; for example why not put the ‘Permanent Orange +Phthalo Blue GS’ pair with the ‘Buff Titanium + Cobalt Teal Blue’ pair – that would make a lovely foursome. Or I could put the ‘Carbazole Violet + Indigo’ pair with the ‘Prussian Blue + Ultramarine Turquoise’ pair – that would be a gorgeous foursome. You get the idea…

Building up a collection of colour charts like this is a lovely way of seeing at a glance which colours could work for you and which do not. So why not get all your colours out and start pairing them up on a large sheet of paper – you may get some lovely colourful surprises…

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Art · 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…

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Art · Watercolour

New Colours & Rosebud Sketch

Introducing new colours in my watercolour collection:

New DS Colours 1 - nb

On the left of the chart the colours, from the top, are: Cadmium Yellow Medium, Rhodonite Genuine, Cobalt Violet Deep and Viridian. All from Daniel Smith.

I already have a Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow, so why do I need a Daniel Smith one too? I’ll tell you: it’s because the properties of the different brands are different; Daniel Smith Cadmium Yellow Medium is semi-transparent, whereas the Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow is opaque.  The DS semi-transparent Cadmium Yellow is going to allow more light to reflect off the surface of the paper resulting in a more luminous painting, whereas the W & N opaque will block more light resulting in a more solid colour. My personal preference is the DS semi-transparent Cadmium Yellow as I’m always irresistibly drawn to the light. But the bottom line I guess is that I need to know the properties of all of my watercolour paints ie. whether they are transparent, semi-transparent, semi-opaque or opaque, and understand how that is going to affect my painting. It may be on occasion that an opaque watercolour paint might be a more suitable option, depending on what I’m painting…

Anyway back to my new colours ~ I love the Rhodonite Genuine, it’s a gorgeous colour! It ranges from a rich dark pink to the most delicate palest of pinks and it also mixes on paper with the DS Cadmium Yellow beautifully to create a wonderful vibrant sunset orange…

The Cobalt Violet Deep and the Viridian have a beautiful granulation. The paler colour mixes on the right of my chart are as follows (from the top):  Viridian, Cobalt Violet Deep + lots of water; Viridian, Cadmium Yellow Medium + lots of water; Rhodonite Genuine, Viridian + lots of water; Rhodonite Genuine, Viridian, Cadmium Yellow + lots of water.  So whilst all my new colours are quite rich strong colours, they will make the most beautiful delicate pale washes with the addition of lots of water…

Pink Rose Bud - NB
Rosebud In A Vase

A small watercolour sketch of a little pink rose bud in a vase ~ just simple watercolour pactice. The pink for the rose bud is Daniel Smith Rhodonite Genuine…

Why not go and have some fun with some new colours… ?

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Art · Watercolour

Violet Study

Violets In A B;ue Glsss - NB
Violets In A Blue Glass

Following on from yesterdays post, this is another violet study. This time I used slightly different colours and varied the composition a little. The colours used this time were Winsor Violet, Winsor Blue Red Shade, Sap Green and Cadmium Yellow. It measures 19 cm x 28 cm and was painted on Arches paper.

It was a simple study to do but lots of fun and all part part of the learning process…

Art · Watercolour

Violets In A Glass

Violets - NB
Violets In A Glass

This is my interpretation of the first step-by-step tutorial in Jean Haines new book: Atmospheric Flowers In Watercolour Painting With Energy And Life.  I have gone a little “off piste” with this as regards the step-by-step instructions so mine doesn’t look quite like the example in the book  but I think that’s okay.  I quite like my finished results.

Colours I used were Daniel Smith’s Cobalt Violet Deep, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian and Cadmium Yellow Medium.  Paper is Fabriano Artistico cold pressed 140 lb and it measures 19 cm x 28 cm.

My mum has been given lots of flowers from friends and family after her recent accident so I’m going to use some of them as inspiration for some more flower paintings. I like painting flowers in glasses, vases and jars etc. so I’m going to try and develop this. I need to work on my technique and practice lots and lots… and lots more… !