Friday, 26 April 2013
Yesterday, I did a demonstration painting for Chagford Art Group. A blank sheet to completed watercolour painting in 2 hours, with a 15 minute tea break, can be quite a daunting prospect. However, I've been doing these for about ten years now, so I know what I'm in for.
I stretched a half-sheet of 200lb Bockingford Rough paper to my board, the previous day. Stretching the paper beforehand provides a lovely, flat surface to paint on and I know that I'll be able to soak the paper without fear of it buckling (I still carry an extra sheet, just in case of a mishap).
I began by quickly sketching out the main shapes, with a 5B pencil. I then diluted some colours in my mixing palette. I usually begin a painting by applying a wet-in-wet wash to the entire sheet, mixing colours on the paper, to create a soft-edged shapes. Once this was dry (on demo's I use a hair dryer to speed things up), I began creating more solid forms and recognizable shapes. Finally, I put in the shadows.
Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Here's me in action during a painting demonstration at Art Holidays in Dorset. I was there last week for a course on painting from photographs. My aim was to show students how to use their photographs to create loose and lively watercolours, rather than simply copy them line for line. We had a good break, and much work was done... accompanied by some good food and hospitality, courtesy of Christine and John who run Art Holidays.
Many thanks to Nobu Konno for the photograph, who came all the way from Japan for the course (and a whirlwind tour of the UK).
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
'The Devil's Slide' is a 400 foot slab of granite on the island of Lundy. This small island, 3 miles by 1 mile, is 10 miles off the N. Devon coast. It is owned by the National Trust and is accessible only by sea or air.
We travelled there by boat, the MS Oldenburg, some years back. There are hardly any trees to speak of. It's like a mini Dartmoor, all on it's own in the middle of the sea. The coastline is very rugged, as you can see from this painting. There are similar views where I live in S. Devon, which I find very inspiring.
I used a limited palette for this painting. My intention was to depict the play of sunlight and shadow and give some kind of feel of distance.
Sunday, 31 March 2013
I chose this unusual format for the painting, as I thought the narrow shape lent itself to the street scene.
Totnes is just a short bus ride away from us, and is a place I visit often. The town dates back to AD 907. It has many ancient buildings, including a Norman Castle, and is said to contain more listed buildings than any other town.
Scenes looking up, or down, a hill make interesting subjects and are a real test of your grip of the laws of perspective.
Thursday, 28 March 2013
Boatyards can be inspiring locations for artists. All those boats... and junk! This boat was being worked on, surrounded by crates, boxes, ropes and everything else you'd expect to see in a boatyard.
What made me take a second look though, was the effect of strong sunlight. It can transform something you'd normally walk by, into something special.
What you can't see is the large, white boat just to the left. This was responsible for the lovely reflected light that you can see in the shadows. It bounced light into the side of the boat and made it something worth painting.
Wednesday, 27 March 2013
This peaceful little cove is quite near to where we live. It was a warm, hazy scene and I wanted this to come through in the painting. After drawing the outline onto a sheet of stretched paper, I diluted several colours, separately, in the wells of my palette (cobalt blue, raw sienne, raw umber & alizarin crimson).
I then wetted the entire surface of the sheet with clean water. After allowing this to settle in, I began dropping in these colours, wet-in-wet, allowing them to mix on the paper. This inititial wash creates a very atmospheric look, which will influence any washes that are applied on top.
Once dry, I began working from the distant headland to the foreground, with wet-on-dry washes.
I don't know what it is about old wrecks like this, but they make irresistible subjects for many artists and I'm no different.
What makes it interesting for me personally, is the light and shade effect and the way that the light is visible through the cracks in the hull.
This rests by the Exeter Canal, just along by the Turf Locks hotel. We ended up here after a long walk from the relatively busy city, along the canal path, to the very peaceful spot here.
I chose a very limited palette to keep the colours subtle.