Art · Watercolour

Minimal Seascapes

A few simple minimal seascapes…..

Cornish Seascape Abstract 1 - NB

Swift abstract splashes of watercolour….

Cornish Seascape 2 - NB

Minimal, no fuss, no detail….

Cornish Seascape Abstract 3 - NB

Simple swipes of complementary colours across the paper in Windsor Blue Red Shade, Indigo and Buff Titanium….

Cornish Seascape - Mousehole Harbour 4 - NBAbove is a minimal abstract watercolour of Mousehole harbour (Cornwall, UK)….

And below is a soft grey sky, misty blue ocean and a sandy shore….

Cornish Seascape Abstract 8 - NB

I love the soft translucent washes of colour….

These simple minimal seascapes were a mixture of wet in wet and dry brush technique. I used Arches cold pressed paper, 140 lb.

There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about brushing beautiful watercolours over lovely watercolour paper, with no agenda or pressure to create a “masterpiece”…. it gives me a wonderful sense of peace and calm….

You can click on the images to view them larger or view them in my Art Gallery

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop · Watercolour

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 25

Welcome to week 25 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week we are using a bleach pen to create interesting patterns and textures in art. Here’s what I ended up with….

Week 25 - Bleach Pen 3 - NB

This is a Fiber Paste surface covered with watercolour paint, then bleach dropped onto the top with the bleach pen. Colours used were Indigo and Phthalo Blue. The colours and textures are wonderful….

Next something a little different (at least different for me!)….

Week 25 - Bleach Pen 1 - NB

A while ago my sister Carolyn sent me a bundle of art stuff in the post. In the parcel she included a pile of the strips used in salons to remove wax, with a note offering me a challenge to use them in some art. Challenge accepted!

Here they are used above as part of this weeks workshop. I covered them with a wash of watercolour paint and then dropped the bleach onto the wet paint in small drops. These strips are somewhere between a paper and a fabric and they are very porous, so you need something underneath to absorb any paint that goes straight through. Some interesting textures have been created. On the left, the colours used were Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Blue and on the right I used Prussian Blue. For the samples on the right I have shown both sides, as they are both different but interesting. Here’s a closer view of the left sample:

Week 25 - Bleach Pen 2 - NB

These salon wax strips, once painted and dried, would be good to use for collage work – they would add some extra interest and colour….

This weeks workshop was fun and very quick and easy to do. The next STW is about using petroleum jelly – I think it might just get a little bit messy – but we’re going to have some fun with it anyway…. !

Large images of my art can be viewed in my Art Gallery

Art · Watercolour

Watercolour Inspiration

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)….

Waterside - NB
Waterside

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….

Art · Watercolour

Tree Studies

A few simple tree studies in watercolour:

Tree Study 2 - NB

Lemon Yellow was painted straight onto the paper and the Prussian Blue was overlaid, wet in wet, allowing the colours to mix into an assortment of different greens…

Tree Study 1 - NB

When I painted the above tree I was really only doodling with my left over watercolour paint in my palette. But I quite liked it, so I cut it out and stuck it into my watercolour workbook.

The foliage colours were dabbed onto the paper with a sheet of screwed up kitchen roll, I used Cerulean Blue and Sepia. The trunk was painted afterwards with Lamp Black. While the black paint was still wet I dropped a tiny dot of water onto the top of each branch so they would blend into the foliage….

Tree Reflections - NB

My tree reflections above were created using an interesting technique. Before adding the paint I first went over my paper with gum arabic, just in the area I wanted my tree reflections. Then dropped my paint into the wet gum arabic. The gum arabic slows down the spread of the paint creating the interesting feathery patterns above. You can click on the image to view it larger and see the feathery patterns more clearly. The tree line above the reflections was painted after the reflections. Colour used was Prussian Blue.

This is a really interesting technique – please do give it a go if you’ve never tried it before. You can use it for all sorts of things, not just tree reflections….

So here I have done three different was of painting trees. I will explore many more ways of creating trees as I continue on my watercolour journey….

Art · Watercolour

Colour Harmony

Some exercises in colour harmony. It’s all about mixing warm and cool colours….

Colour Harmony 1 - NB

Mixing Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, (warm colours) with Ultramarine Blue (cool colour) to create simple sunset seascapes….

Colour Harmony 2 - NB

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….

Art · Watercolour

Ocean Colours

I’m going to begin this post with a little confession…… around 12 years ago I bought myself a pack of 12 Windsor & Newton professional watercolours and it’s only in the last 6 months that I have actually started making proper use of them… ! I’m also pretty sure that I’m not the only person who’s done that… !!

Out of that set of 12 colours there are 2 greens: Hookers Green and Sap Green. These are both colours that I have virtually never used. Like many artists, if I need green I prefer to mix my own from blues and yellows. Last week I decided to have a little play with those greens….

Ocean Colours 1 - NB

I started by mixing Hookers Green with Prussian Blue and some lovely ocean colours began to emerge. I continued by mixing the Hookers Green with Phthalo Blue…. more lovely ocean colours….

I went on to do exactly the same with the Sap Green….

Ocean Colours 2 - NB

 

…. even more lovely, lovely ocean colours emerged! I love these colours ~ they inspire me. I may not use those greens for foliage but they are certainly going to start featuring in some seascapes in the future.

So…. are you one of those people (like me!) who’ve had a set of paints in a drawer or cupboard for over 10 years and never used them? Why not get them out and have a play with them? Go on, you know you want to…. !! You don’t have to create a masterpiece ~ just play with them ~ mix some colours ~ let them run together, mingle ~ have some FUN with them….

Art · Watercolour

The Blue Rose

The Blue Rose - NB
watercolour on 140lb 100% cotton Saunders Waterford watercolour paper

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….

Rose - NB

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….

Art · Watercolour

Cornish Roof Top Sketches

When I visited my sister in Cornwall a few weeks ago I spent a little time doing some sketching outside the front of her house. As the house is quite high up on a hill you get a nice view of the Cornish roof tops. So I decided to sketch a few.

Cornish Rooftops Pencil Sketches - NB

I used a HB pencil on A4 sketchbook paper. This was good practice for me – I need lots of practice at drawing! Reasonably happy with my basic sketches I started to think about painting them….

Cornish Rooftop Colours - NB

My sketches were going to be painted with watercolours but first I needed to decide on what colours to use. After doing several tests on some spare paper, the colours above are what I chose to use. Cornish roof tops are predominantly grey with lots of yellow lichen growing on them. The chimney pots are lovely – very old fashioned terracotta pots in lots of lovely different shapes and styles…

Cornish Rooftop Painted 1a - NB

You can click on the images to see larger views. I did make a classic beginners mistake when painting these – I diluted my paint slightly too much. Hence the colours aren’t quite as strong as I would like. But I’ll put that down to experience and try to improve on that in the future! On the whole though, I like how my Cornish roof tops turned out. Here’s some closer views…

Cornish Rooftop Painted 2 - NB

Cornish Rooftop Painted 3 - NB

Lots more sketching is on the agenda in the future to hopefully improve my drawing and painting skills…..

Art · 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….

Art · Watercolour

Quick Watercolour Seascapes

Today I managed to find an hour to do a couple of quick watercolour seascape sketches….

St. Clements Isle Watercolour - NB

Above is a watercolour sketch of St. Clements Isle, just off the coast of Mousehole, Cornwall, UK. This is one of those paintings that is best viewed from a slight distance. This watercolour is loosely based on the photo below:

a-black-diamond-edit-nb

This is the other watercolour sketch I did this afternoon:

Turquoise Seascape - NB

This watercolour is of nowhere in particular and just came straight out of my imagination. I started this by wanting to just use up the left over paint in my palette and it kind of turned into a seascape…

I enjoyed doing these quick seascapes this afternoon. Both measure approximately 6″ x 4″ – just the right size to go into my watercolour sketchbook. Both were done on 140 lb watercolour paper.