Watercolour

Some Fun With Colour

I will begin this post with my custom built Winsor & Newton Professional watercolour paint box:

My W & N Paint Box - NB
My custom built Winsor & Newton professional paint box

This paint box started life as a 45 half pan set of Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours. Over many months I have gradually replaced the Cotman pans with Winsor & Newton Professional pans of my choice. The colours in this paint box have also been carefully selected to complement the colours in my Daniel Smith custom built paint box. The two paint boxes will constitute my sketching palette when I’m travelling.

There are 32 colours in my Winsor & Newton paint box…

Colours in my W & N Paint Box - NB

Going from left to right and starting with the top row, the colours are:

Naples Yellow, Winsor Lemon, Indian Yellow, Winsor Red, Permanent Rose, Rose Madder Genuine, Ultramarine Violet, Winsor Violet, Indanthrene Blue, Ultramarine Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Green Shade), Winsor Blue (Red Shade), Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue, Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise Light, Phthalo Turquoise, Winsor Green Blue Shade, olive Green, Permanent Sap Green, Green Gold, Yellow Ochre, New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Van Dyke Brown, Paynes Grey, Lamp Black and Neutral Tint.

There are also 32 colours in my Daniel Smith paint box too. So that makes a total of 64 easily transportable colours at my disposal when I’m travelling. Happy days!

I picked 3 primary colours from my W & N paint box – Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon and Winsor Blue (Red Shade) – and created a colour chart to see how many different colours I could create from them. I started with a sheet of A4 Khadi paper and drew with pencil as many boxes as I could fit on the page. When I finished I had 83 boxes, including 3 for my original primaries. That’s a lot of boxes – could I fill them all… ?? A tiny amount of doubt crept in…

Winsor & Newton Primary Colours - nb
W & N primary colour chart : Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, Winsor Blue (Red Shade)

First lesson learnt is to never doubt myself – of course I can fill all those boxes! I’ve done a few of these charts now and it never ceases to amaze me how many different colours/shades you can create from just a red, a yellow and a blue (and water of course)! It’s a great way to learn about colour theory and colour mixing. I highly recommend giving it a go, it doesn’t matter what red yellow or blue you use and it’s FUN !!

My next colour experiment involved Daniel Smith’s Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (MANS). I mixed it with a variety of different blues:

DS MANS With Blues - NB
Mixing Daniel Smith Monte Amiata Natural Sienna with Blues

Firstly I love the lovely soft greys you get when you mix MANS with French Ultramarine. When mixed with other blues you get some lovely earthy greens and wonderful soft turquoise greens.

My final colour experiment for this post is about mixing greys. The ready made grey colours available to the watercolourist are quite limited so learning to mix them is pretty much essential:

Twelve Shades Of Grey - NB
12 Shades Of Grey

Above are 12 shades of grey – 3 are ready made and 9 are mixed. Just in case you can’t read my handwriting, the grey shades are:

Top Row: Raw Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Burnt Sienna + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Paynes Grey (W & N), Paynes Blue Gray (DS), Neutral Tint (W & N)

Bottom Row: Permanent Alizarin Crimson + Viridian (DS), French Ultramarine + Yellow Ochre (DS), Carbazole Violet +Yellow Ochre +Viridian (DS), Raw Umber + Ultramarine Blue (W & N), Indigo + Yellow Ochre (DS), Winsor Green (BS) + Winsor Red (W & N).

Time spent playing with colour is always time well spent – there’s so much to be learnt from it. When I don’t feel like painting something “serious” or specific, some colour experiments are just the right thing and they are so much fun to do!

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

An Atlantic View

An Atlantic View - NB
An Atlantic View

A watercolour seascape sketch ~ large waves rolling in on to the sea shore on Cornwall’s Atlantic coastline…

In this seascape I was practicing painting waves assisted by carefully created back-runs. It was partially successful – I need to practice it more. The tricky bit is to make sure I reserve white enough paper for the waves first and then create the back-runs by adding the just right amount of clean water with a clean brush in just the right places at the right time and tilt the paper if necessary to ensure the water runs in the right direction.

The sky was painted using Ultramarine Blue and Raw Sienna. The grey was created by mixing the two colours in the palette first. The ocean was painted mostly with Prussian Blue along with Manganese Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Blue and Cascade Green. The little bit of sand at the bottom was painted with Buff Titanium. The horizon is a little wonky but then it is only a practice sketch so I’m not going to worry about that…

My seascape measures 19 cm x 29 cm and was painted on Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper (100% cotton). This was some very enjoyable watercolour practice…

Watercolour

The Beginnings Of A Seascape

Beginnings Of A Seascape - NB
Beginnings Of A Seascape

This is the beginnings of a seascape created using cling film (plastic wrap) inspired by Jean Haines’ World Of Watercolour book. The cling film creates lovely textures and patterns in wet pigment. In theory this is a fairly simple technique to use, so why have I struggled to get good results with it ?? However, I have persevered with it and above is probably my most successful attempt so far. The colours, textures and patterns in my seascape wash are beautiful. The cling film has helped to create a wild turbulent ocean. Please click the image to view it larger…

The colours I used were Winsor & Newton’s Winsor Blue Green Shade, Winsor Green Blue Shade and a tiny touch of Indian Yellow. All three are very strong pigments but they have worked together beautifully in my initial textured wash. I need to build on my initial seascape wash but I’m not going to rush it. I need to think carefully how I’m going to proceed with this painting and have some decisions to make before doing anything to it. So for now I’m just going to enjoy it as it is till I’ve decided…

Watercolour

Paintbox

I got up quite early this morning and did some sketching….

Paintbox - NB

This is my much used and loved paintbox. When I’m at home in my workroom I like to paint with tube watercolour paints but when I’m on the move or away from home I use my paint box above. The paints originally in this box were cheap and nasty, so I binned them and replaced them with Winsor & Newton pans instead. I hand picked all the colours myself and the colours are:

Top row from the left: Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Rose Madder, Dioxazine Violet, Prussian Blue, Indigo

Bottom row from the left: Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Turquoise, Cobalt Turquoise, Sap Green, Burnt Umber, Lamp Black

I’ve deliberately let the colours of the pans run, to give a slightly messy look to them because that’s how a paintbox should be – messy, used and looking like someones had some fun with it. I’ve certainly had a lot of fun with mine…. !