Sunday, 16 January 2022

Quick Paintings

 

Otter Estuary
Watercolour on Paper
16.5cm x 12cm (6.5" x 4.75")

Watercolour is a medium with personality. The inexperienced find it unpredictable. It appears to have a mind of its own - there is even a YouTube channel called The Mind of Watercolor.

While novices flounder, experts charm the paint to their will. The only way to develop and maintain this rapport is by painting a lot - something I haven't been doing for the last few years. My plan to rectify this is to paint at least a couple of quick watercolours each week. They should only take 10 minutes (ish), so I can’t use a lack of time as an excuse.

Trent Evening
Watercolour on Paper
16.5cm x 12cm (6.5" x 4.75")

My main goals are to experiment and to create interesting washes by painting everything as a single big shape - letting the colours mix on the paper. In the initial pictures, I painted everything in a single pass without waiting for things to dry. Now, I am painting the background (usually the sky) in one sitting and the major shape as a single wash in the next sitting.

East Bridgford Barns
Watercolour on Paper
12cm x 16.5cm (4.75" x 6.5")

I am pleased that I’ve painted 8 of these little pictures in the first 16 days of 2022. It is a huge increase on the amount of painting I did last year. The emphasis is on quantity, not quality, but these are my favourites.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Rainbows

Happy 2022
Watercolour on Paper
16.5cm x 12cm (6.5" x 4.75")

Rainbows is the third topic in the Skies and Weather chapter of Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice.

I cross referenced Claudia’s advice with the section on rainbows in James Gurney’s Color and Light (A Guide for the Realist Painter). James explains  “The colors of the rainbow should be lighter than the background”. I think this is the main challenge for painting rainbows in watercolour - how do you keep the colours vibrant, but lighter than the sky. I didn’t pull it off this time, so I will have another go.

The tree in the foreground was in a neighbour’s garden. Sadly, it was sick and had to be cut down last year. I had a grandstand view from my office window of the tree surgeon taking down a tall tree in a confined space. It distracted me for a whole afternoon when I should have been working.

Happy 2022.
May the New Year bring us all peace, health and happiness.

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Rain Clouds

Walking Home
Watercolour on Paper
15cm x 24cm (6" x 9.5")

 Rain Clouds is the second topic in the Skies and Weather chapter of Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice.

The approach is similar to the one Claudia used for Cumulus Clouds, but with darker colours. Claudia finished her examples with ink work to darken the cloud shadows and indicate rain, but currently, I prefer to stick with watercolour. 

This is the end of a walk in April 2009 - we set out in the morning, had lunch in the Horse Chestnut and are hoping to get home before it gets much darker or starts raining.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Drawing and Painting the Landscape – Copying Others

 

Allotment Shed
Copying Others - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Ink on Paper
14cm x 18cm (5.5" x 7")

Lesson 28 of Drawing and Painting the Landscape by Philip Tyler is about learning from the mark making of other artists. It is the last lesson in the Mark Making chapter.

Phillip provides a list of artists. He suggests studying their mark making and comparing the marks in their drawings with the marks in their paintings.  He also recommends copying excerpts from their drawings.

Excerpt from Six's Bridge by Rembrandt
Copying Others - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Ink on Paper
14cm x 14cm (5.5" x 5.5")

Rembrandt is the first artist on the list. I studied as many of his drawings and etchings as I could find, copied an excerpt from one of them and then drew a picture of my own. I didn't try to imitate Rembrandt's marks. I was interested in whether my subconscious would  be influenced by the recent scrutiny of his drawings.  
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I haven’t studied the work of an artist in this way since the Analysis of Reproductions and Composition from Reproductions exercises from The Natural Way to Draw. It is something I enjoy doing and should do more regularly, but there is always something more pressing to do. Maybe I will set a goal to study the drawings of an artist from Philip's list each month.

There is a rookie mistake in the drawing of sheds. One of the fence posts touches and lines up exactly with the edge of the leaning door. This unintentional alignment creates a long jarring diagonal line. It happened because I didn’t do any preliminary setup. I just started drawing and was concentrating more on mark making than composition. Just goes to show – you always have to be thinking about the bigger picture.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Cumulus Clouds

Along the Valley
Watercolour on Paper
16.5cm x 12cm (6.5" x 4.75")

Cumulus Clouds is the first topic in the Skies and Weather chapter of Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice.

Across the Valley
Watercolour on Paper
12cm x 16.5cm (4.75" x 6.5")

Claudia uses a wet-on-wet approach in her examples. I painted lots of skies - there were plenty of disasters and these are my favourites. I used to prefer painting skies on dry paper (see Lake District Sky Studies) because it is more controlled, but with a bit of practice (and patience), wet-on-wet seems a better technique for painting fluffy clouds. It is important not to rush in while the paper is soaking. You need to wait until the paper is beginning to dry and not to be too precious about painting exactly the clouds you can see – I ended up aiming for atmosphere not accuracy.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Drawing and Painting the Landscape – Texture and Space

West Bay Harbour
Texture and Space - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Ink on Paper
14cm x 19cm (5.5" x 7.5")

Lesson 27 of Drawing and Painting the Landscape by Philip Tyler is about Texture and Space. It expands on the theme from previous lessons about using different marks to describe textures. It also explores how varying the level of detail though a scene can create a feeling of space and a focus for the picture.

Bradgate Park
Texture and Space - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Charcoal on Paper
14cm x 19cm (5.5" x 7.5")

Philip observes the closer something is, the more detail and texture we can see. By using simple uniform marks in the background and increasingly distinctive marks as we move into the foreground, we create the illusion of space.

Brecon Barn
Texture and Space - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Watercolour and Ink on Paper
16.5cm x 21.5cm (6.5" x 8.5")

He points out that if everything in a scene is treated with the same level of detail, the image lacks visual contrast and depth. He discusses simplifying the landscape and using detail to draw the eye to particular parts of the picture.

Brecon Barn (Too Much Detail)
Texture and Space - Drawing and Painting the Landscape

Watercolour and Ink on Paper
16.5cm x 21.5cm (6.5" x 8.5")

In the last picture I experimented with this idea by drawing everything with the same level of detail. It's a challenge to spend time on something and to deliberately spoil it, but it provides an important lesson about learning when to stop.

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Stone Walls

Top of the Rollers
Watercolour on Paper
16cm x 22.5cm (6.25" x 8.75")

This picture was hard work. My initial washes were a disaster. I went too dark, too early and ended up with a horrible mahogany coloured mess. I nearly abandoned, but I managed to lift a lot of the colour and was left with an interesting base layer. I then modelled each of the stones individually – each one becoming a little painting in its own right. 

Stone Walls is the last topic in the Earth Textures chapter from Creating Textures in Pen & Ink with Watercolor by Claudia Nice. I'm looking forward to the next one – Skies and Weather.