Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Brush Practice

A little lay off and the need to get working again had me dig out the watercolours this afternoon. A warm up was required before turning to more serious pursuits. 

In watercolour painting some of the more difficult techniques are involved in the manipulation of the brush and controlling the flow of the paint. Adjusting edges requires a feel for what your selected pigments will stand in terms of lifting out. In the last few days I'd been browsing the latest book by Jean Haines, Atmospheric Watercolours and enjoyed much of the thinking that she puts into her vibrant wash work. This book, I understand, is a best seller and it is easy to see why. Her admirable work is garnering much interest and praise and she is becoming the equivalent of a painting pop star. The ideas that Jean advocates are well worthy of exploration, particularly for those who have difficulty loosening up their work, a category that includes me.

So with a head full of ideas garnered from the book and some pigments that are relatively new to me I set about making a little image that would let me revisit some of the techniques mentioned above. The first job was to lay down an underlying wash of some of the colours I intended using then allowing them to mix on the paper. Colours were Cad Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Apatite Green, Genuine Amethyst and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. The addition of some salt was made to create a little texture that could hint at unspecified foliage. I also decided that this would be a one brush approach and reached for my trusty Da Vinci Artissimo that I've mentioned in a previous post, I love it.

After they had dried I began to place the trumpet shapes of the blooms in Translucent Orange with touches of Perylene Maroon. When they dried it was a case of making negative shapes with washes of the colours used in the first pass. To finish off the exercise some fairly extensive softening of edges took place, having left edges to dry to be worked on later. An interesting warm up.
  

Spring Selection - Watercolour on Not paper 12" x 10"

8 comments:

Sharon Whitley said...

well it's looking gorgeous - I've got her book but only browsed at it so far - have got so many art books but the trouble is I'd rather be painting so I never get anything out of them lol!!

Yvonne Harry said...

A really delicate painting, Mick! Lovely colours and I quite like the misty feel to it.
Just a personal choice, but I would crop both sides of the painting in quite close to the flowers as , for me, this would give lots more impact and I don't think the background adds a lot to the composition

Ray Maclachlan said...

Very nice Mick, you really are working at controlling the medium. Great colours too.

Peter Ward said...

Nice and loose Mick and the granulation is interesting. I tend to agree with Yvonne though.

As for Jean Haines she is certainly flavour of the month but, although I have both her books,I pointed out some of my reservations when I reviewed her most recent book on my blog.

Mick Carney said...

Sharon - Thanks. I think books are an interesting prompt to experimenting with technique, but you are right doing it is better than reading about it.

Mick Carney said...

Yvonne - Thanks. You are absolutely right, to make a satisfactory composition it needs serious cropping.

Mick Carney said...

Ray - Practice, practice, practice, that's what I need. Thanks.

Mick Carney said...

Peter - Agreed about composition. I also agree with much that you wrote when reviewing the Jean Haines book. Nevertheless, this or indeed any other book can be useful as a source of ideas and prompts to try out unfamiliar techniques.