I recently taught a beginners watercolour course at a local arts centre and in doing some preparation, was attempting some loose still life paintings, in the style of the late, great Charles Reid. No one comes close to his style but I think these later ones are an improvement on my very early attempts at watercolour.
Have a look at my earliest watercolour on this blog, which incidentally I started way back in October 2011 merely to keep a record of my progress.
The composition was acceptable, a reasonable attempt at negative painting, but the rest was pretty bad. I’m glad I started this blog (which was purely for my own record) so I do have a record of paintings that have since long gone. This one to the rubbish bin.
The following are my most recent still life watercolours, both painted with my limited palette of Cotman colours on Bockingford paper with cheap Renoir brushes.
I chose these budget supplies because I was allocated a limited budget to supply paints, brushes and paper for each student. I am more than impressed with Cotman watercolours. Classified as a student range the tubes have the pigment code, permanence and lightfast rating listed which a lot of the cheaper brands don’t.
The Renoir brushes also perform extremely well for their price. At $4 and $6 (Australia) each I don’t mind replacing them more often but so far they are still working like new.
Bockingford paper is manufactured by St Cuthbert’S Mill makers of many of the top watercolour papers, and is very forgiving. It is heavily sized and takes a lot of punishment, can be wiped back or erased easily, but sometimes this can be problem as multiple layers can tend to lift if the paint is applied with too heavy a hand. I’ll continue to use it.
I’ve been experimenting with gouache over gesso on these little canvases. It’s not as receptive as paper, as I like to begin with thinned paint to block in the shapes, progressively adding thicker paint strokes on top. The gesso is a bit resistant to the initial layer of paint and it takes a little extra work to cover the white spots that show in the weave. When finished I give the canvas a couple of light coats of Matt varnish spray. Ready to hang on the wall without having to frame behind glass.
Why bother with gouache instead of acrylic? No particular reason, I just love gouache!
And at last, my first selfie sketch without glasses! I have had follow up eye surgery after 5 months following complications with the first surgery. Now all is good and I am just using cheapie x2 glasses for reading.
Watercolour with watercolour pencil in 6 x 8 Quill cartridge paper journal.
Messing around this weekend with different texture techniques – salt and splatter. Quite unpredictable and I don’t really know what the end result will be until it dries.
Winsor and Newton watercolours on Arches 300g paper.
I think I have a problem. I suffer from ADD – Artistic Distraction Disorder. Each time I go into my painting room to clean up the mess from my last painting I get sidetracked and do something completely different instead. Or I have in mind to do a particular sketch and a different one grabs my attention. My problem is that I want to do it all and do it now.
At least I finished this sketch off today. It looked a bit bare at the bottom of the page so I added a quote from Charles Reid, an artist I admired right from the start of my watercolour journey.
And one I’m still working on with watercolour pencils. I rarely use them on their own, usually only as an addition over watercolours. But this makes for a tight drawing, not really what I wanted so I might play a bit with gouache as well.
Reference photo by Oty for the Wet canvas 2 hour challenge.
Last weekend the weather here was stunning, despite still officially winter. The temperature actually reached 24C on Saturday. Not bad for the south coast of Australia. Positively spring like. So we packed a picnic lunch and headed to a nearby beach. There were a few other people there, enjoying the sunshine, fishing and picnicking.
I wanted to try out my new plein air set up. I picked up a filofax from a flea market for a few dollars, cut some sheets of watercolour paper to fit and clipped it to a foam core board. I attached the palette with velcro tabs and cut a rough hole to insert the water container. One hand to hold the board and the other free to paint. It worked fine.
Next day the weather decided to turn back to winter : (
So stuck inside again I decided to paint my cyclamen before it finally carks it. It has survived 2 years and despite being put outside to fend for itself over the summer it flourished again this year.
I painted this in a journal I made from Canaletto? paper but it doesn’t seem to take really wet washes. Maybe it’s better for pen and limited washes.
I haven’t been doing much sketching lately. The autumn weather here has been rather gorgeous so I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sadly neglected garden. It won’t be too long and the garden will be neglected once again when the weather turns miserable. I have also neglected my blog too, so I’ll post a sketch from a few weeks ago and an oldie.
The hibiscus was an attempt at a watercolour of a lovely photo supplied by Crispur2005 for the weekend challenge on Wetcanvas. It was one of those days when the paint just wouldn’t work for me and it all went horribly wrong so I tried to salvage it with watercolour pencils, gouache and Pitt brush pen.
This next sketch was done while we were traveling around Oz. It was a quick contour sketch in a crappy book I had with me at the time.