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"

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Latest Challenge

Back to the regular series of monthly challenge pieces that I share with my painting friend, Peter Ward. This last couple of months had me setting the subject and I selected a photograph from a recent trip to the States.

Red Rock Country - Photograph

The picture presents a couple of problems, the representation of vegetation and the strong shadows. I feel that I've dealt reasonably well with the shadows on the rock but less well with the vegetation with insufficient variation to make interesting shapes. I'll be able to do something about that in a later session. The final image needs some compositional intervention to break up the middle ground a little. There you go, doing the thinking after the event rather than during the process. Another little prompt to oneself.

Red Rock Country - Watercolour on rough paper 16" x 12"

Saturday, 5 January 2013

I Really Don't Know Clouds At All

At last the frantic comings and goings of the Christmas period have come to a belated conclusion and the opportunity to dig out the paints has arrived. As a warm up before turning to some more serious projects I decided to attempt some cloud studies. I dug out a couple of canvas boards and my sketch books, selected a couple of drawings and squeezed out some paint. A little mixing on the palette and I was ready to go.

Most of my work is based in the landscape and one of the most important elements in making images in the outdoors is the depiction of clouds. As a warm up exercise the inclusion of clouds was important to me. Two different types of cloud condition made the exercises a little more challenging.

This made for an enjoyable session and whilst not totally satisfied with the results I have managed to get myself back focussed on making pictures.

Clouds 1 - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

Clouds 2 - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"