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 Lesson 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 · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 23

This week’s workshop is all about using shaving foam in mixed media art. This is something I would have never considered using in art before reading the Surface Treatment Workshop book. The basic technique is to apply shaving foam to the back of a disposable plate (or other flat surface), then drop paint into it, swirl it round a bit and then transfer it you your art surface. Here’s my first sample….

Week 23 - Shaving Foam 1 - NB

I applied my shaving foam really thickly to the back of a disposable plate I added yellow ochre, turquoise, indigo and gold acrylic paint, mixed it in the foam a bit and transferred it to my paper. I swirled the foam round the paper with the plate and then lifted it off. At this stage I had a choice – I could either scrape the foam off straight away or leave in on to disintegrate. I decided to leave it on to disintegrate by itself. I left it for 24 hours and returned to find the foam had disappeared leaving some amazing painted textures on my paper.

Now shaving foam is obviously not archival, so to preserve my lovely textured surface I carefully applied a layer of acrylic glazing medium. When dry I applied a second coat of glazing medium mixed with some pearl mica in complementary colours.

While the above shaving foam sample was disintegrating I started some more samples….

Week 23 - Shaving Foam 2 - NB

For the above samples I followed exactly the same process but using slightly different colours – Indigo, Prussian blue, Yellow Ochre and Gold. I left the foam on to disintegrate.

Week 23 - Shaving Foam 3 - NB

For the above I used Indigo, Prussian Blue, Pale Power Blue and Silver. When the foam had disintegrated to virtually nothing I was left with lovely lace kind of pattern. All my samples were finished with acrylic glazing medium to preserve the textures and patterns.

Shaving foam is interesting stuff to use in art but it is MESSY !! If you don’t make a mess applying it, you will make a mess scraping off any unwanted residue! It’s sticky and gets everywhere. I highly recommend giving yourself plenty of space for this technique and move/cover anything you don’t want to get shaving foam on! All that said, I’m quite pleased with how my samples turned out and it was fun to do….

Next week’s workshop is about using Rubbing Alcohol. It’s going to be interesting…

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 · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 22

Welcome to week 22 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week in  the workshop we were using pours. Pours are created by mixing acrylic paint with different mediums to create a pouring mixture which you then pour onto your art and let it run. Here’s my sample:

Week 22 - Pours - NB

To create pours you can mix the paint with an assortment of different acrylic mediums. I used just a little gloss gel and water with my acrylic paint. The colours I used were: Paynes Grey, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Cerulean Blue and White. I started with a collage base and then let my diluted paint run over it. I like how the colours have run and mingled together. I particularly like how they’ve run over the textured paper in the top left corner. Here’s a closer view:

Week 22 - Pours - Macro 1 - NB

I enjoyed using pours this week and this is something I will do again in the future. Next week in the workshop we’re using shaving foam – it’s going to get messy! But I’m still looking forward to it….

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:

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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.

Art · Watercolour

Flower Fun

I had a little fun painting some flowers for my watercolour sketchbook….

The Blue Flower - NB
THE BLUE FLOWER

The watercolour above is not any particular kind of flower – it just came straight out of my imagination…

I used Phthalo Blue for the majority of it and just added a few tiny dots of Permanent Rose. My mum fell in love with my bright blue flower so I’m going to find a nice frame for it and give it to her…

Lavender Watercolour Sketch - NB
LAVENDER WATERCOLOUR SKETCH

Fast and loose washes of colour. For the flowers I used Phthalo blue mixed with Permanent Rose for the mauve colour and I used Phthalo Blue mixed with Yellow Ochre for the stems and leaves.

After I painted this I asked my mum (who was with me at the time) if she could tell what they are… straight away she replied “lavender!”, so I’m taking that as a positive… !

I had great fun doing these and I am definitely going to do some more… !

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 8

Welcome to week 8 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. This week’s focus is on using gesso. Mostly gesso is just used to prime a surface before adding paint or other media but I decided to make more of a feature of it with my samples for this week…B & W Gesso - NB

In the above collage I painted four squares of gesso onto the paper – clockwise: dark grey, black, light grey and white. Then I simply added strips of vintage paper over the joins. I finished by putting four small squares of my own art work in each box. Very simple to do and a very simple design. I really like the neutral colours.

Neutral Striped Gesso - NB

Next I decided to have a play with some tinted gesso. Using one of my larger paint mixing trays I set about mixing white gesso with acrylic paint. I found you only needed very tiny amounts of paint to turn the white gesso into some lovely  pastel colours. In the sample above I used gesso tinted with sepia, indigo and just plain white gesso. Down the left side is a strip of fabric roses which I painted with indigo gesso.

Gesso Sketchbook 1 - NB

How both samples look in my sketchbook.

One of the prompts in the book was to stick objects items onto the surface and gesso over them. I decided to stick some vintage lace to my acrylic paper and gesso over them:

Vintage Lace & Gesso - NB

On the left side the lace is painted with Sepia gesso and the for the blue side I used Prussian Blue gesso overlaid with some white gesso to tone down the blue a little. For the next samples I decided to add some more colours to my paint tray – to the Sepia, Indigo and Prussian Blue I added Paynes Grey, Yellow Ochre and Turquoise….

Tinted Gesso Mosaic - NB

I used a large brush and a palette knife for the above samples. All the colours work really well together and the palette knife helped to create some lovely textures. This is how these samples look in my sketchbook:

Gesso Sketchbook 2 - NB

More tinted gesso samples:

Tinted Gesso 1 - NBTinted Gesso 2 - NB

The samples with stripes on I used some corrugated cardboard to stamp gesso onto my paper – stamping with gesso was one of the prompts in the book we’re working from. I also stuck some of the corrugated card I used into my sketchbook. This is how both these pages look in my sketchbook:

Gesso Sketchbook 3 - NB

I really enjoyed playing with gesso this week. I found my imagination ran overtime – I have so many other ideas for using gesso than what you see here but I just didn’t have time to explore them all this week. So I will have another play with gesso another time.

Just click on any of the images to view them larger…

Next week we are going to do Week 7 (which we missed out) and Week 10 together as they both focus on using acrylic gels – it’s going to be fun !

Art · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the Surface Treatment Workshop. The focus for week 2 is stencils. In preparing my samples for this week I made a discovery… a personal discovery… ! I’ve discovered that I don’t actually like frilly, flowery, fussy, swirly stencil patterns. I can appreciate them in other peoples work, other people can make them look lovely, but I don’t like them in my own work…

Having discovered this I now had to completely rethink what I’m going to produce for this weeks workshop. What I’ve also discovered is that I do like  simple shapes, lines and patterns and that unique, individual home made stencils are the way forward…

week-2-simple-squares-nb

For the above sample I used cut out paper shapes as stencils to create simple lines and squares…

week-2-polka-dot-divide-nb

For this image I used a Large Polka Dot stencil. Here we have several different versions of the same stencil layered over each other. Next, how both these images appear in my sketchbook:

week-2-sketchbook-nb

Next another polka dot design – just simple circles. In the centre is a small photo of a piece of my own art work – it has a circle theme which complemented the polka dots…

week-2-decreasing-circles-nb

For the next sample I made a homemade paper stencil. I used thick glossy paper, cut my stencil out and used it several times to create the design below. When I finished with the stencil I cut it up and stuck it over my design to add more wavy lines and colour. I finished by outlining some of the pattern with gold acrylic paint. The photograph below doesn’t really do the art work justice, the reality is much better – however, this was one of the best photos I got!

week-2-stencil-wavy-lines-nb

What I’ve taken away from this exercise is that I’m now determined to be a lot more picky about what commercially available stencils I buy. And I’m going to do a lot more home made stencils. OK, paper stencils are “use once-throw away” stencils but you do get a unique, original design that nobody else in the world has – that’s something that appeals to me. I have already made some home made stencils from acetate sheet – they are reusable and totally original!

For week 3 of the Surface Treatment Workshop the focus is on aluminium foil. I’ve personally never used aluminium foil in art before, so this will be a little voyage of discovery for me… !

Art · Sketchbooks · Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 1

week-1-stamping-circles-nb

This is week 1 of the Surface Treatment Workshop! Week 1 starts off very basically with stamping. For the sample above I covered a 6″ x 6″ piece of paper with collage and then simply stamped circles over the top in different sizes and colours. I rummaged round the house and found lots of things I could use for stamping circles – above I used a cardboard tube, a jam jar, a little bit of bubble wrap and… the best bit… an empty Belgian Bun packet! The larger dark blue circles were from the bottom of a plastic Belgian Bun packet – this has just got to be the best excuse ever for buying Belgian Buns!

week-1-stamping-blue-fish-nb

For the above sample I started with a 6″ x 6″ piece of paper and covered it with white gesso. Then I stamped a gold and turquoise pattern on the base of the sample using acrylic paints. To create the square pattern I used some of that rubbery stuff you put under mats and rugs to stop them slipping… ! For the small dark circles I used bubble wrap and then simply stamped the fish on. Very simple!

week-1-sketchbook-nb

Both samples have been stuck into a dedicated 8″ x 8″ sketchbook set aside especially for the project. I’m trying not to be overly fussy or fiddly with the samples for this project, after all, it is meant to be an experimental learning curve. I think I’m reasonably happy with how week 1 has turned out – now looking forward to week 2… !

Art · 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