Day 9: White Cat


White-cat (watercolour)


I couldn’t resist returning to the white cat again, so I could try painting the eyes properly at a better size. So I found a scrap of paper and sketched the head only this time.

I applied some masking fluid around the ears, the whiskers and for the highlights in the eyes, you can see where it’s a bit yellow, and then some light washes for eyes, nose & ears. The shadows around the chin contour ended up less defined than I intended but maybe I can improve that on the next session.

Obviously it still needs a bit more work to be done, but I’m fairly pleased so far…

Day 8: Wash practice & potted cat


watercolour cat sitting in a stone planter cat

Potted cat

I had a lovely afternoon mucking around today, I experimented with some wet into wet washes – I’m not too keen on the colours but they mostly seemed to work OK. Then I went back to the potted cat sketch that I started a few days ago and put some more detail into it.

Overall I’m happy with the progress I’ve made on the cat, the shape and shading is pretty close and the planter almost looks ‘stoney’ – I think this could have been emphasised more though. My biggest problem was starting this too small which made painting the features on the cat really hard. I think I may try this again at a sensible size as I’d also like to practice making the technique looser.

practice washes

practice washes

With the washes I followed the example of Birgit O’Connor after watching her tutorial on Artists Network, wetting the paper first and then running pre mixed colour washes into it. Her colours are much juicer than mine, but generally the results were similar. While I had some wet washes sitting there I also experimented with pulling the colour back out, by using a clean wet brush and also by scraping with my fingernail – these are the odd marks you can see in the washes.


Day 7: Yet more red gum


Red Gum watercolour



Today the Red Gum practice pieces received some more attention… one is a bit clearer than previous attempts, but the other is quite messy as a result of trying to add some blue shadows behind the flowers. The cleaner one unfortunately suffers from too heavy a red background and I’m reluctant to try & alter this after the other failed.

I’m not really happy with either – I think I need to find some ‘back to basics’ exercises to learn to control the water/colour ratio of my strokes better. I think I’ll go & see what I can find along those lines for tomorrow….

Day 6: Extreme Heat Challenge!




Hi all, the temperature in Sydney reached 45.5° centigrade today, darned hot!



First thing this morning I shut all the windows, doors & curtains and settled in for the duration…  I could never have imagined this before I moved to Sydney, as a teenager in the UK I was a sun worshipper. A hot day was (& I suppose still is for most in England) something to cherish and bask in! Over here it’s just too much these days.

At 5pm it was still pushing 40 °c and I hadn’t done anything… facing defeat I did sit for half an hour and play, but the paint was drying really fast. Anyway, I put a 2nd wash on both Red Gum practice pieces, hopefully one more coat will see a result, good or bad! I’m trying to reserve judgement but let me know what you think.

Day 5: Digital sketch with tablet

Lily, sketched on tablet

Lily, sketched on tablet

I had quite a busy day today, with opticians and a few other appointments. It was also rather warm all day and to be honest by the time I got home I didn’t think I couldn’t face another session of watercolours.

In fact I wasn’t sure I could stay awake this evening to paint anything… horrific, to think I might miss a day less than a week into this challenge….

So whilst Jim (the better half) was enjoying his after work beer on the porch I joined him with my tablet to experiment. This was the tablet bought for me as a present last year because I was going to spend all my time sketching on it, even while watching the telly (even? I mean especially!).

Unfortunately my first few trials had showed that it was nothing like using the computer, so I hadn’t tried for again for months. The software available isn’t anywhere near as versatile as using Photoshop with a Wacom  and I just can’t paint with my fingers… I suppose I’m too old to remember when I was good at that, if I ever was ;-). I do have a stylus but it’s still fat and so it’s difficult to work out where the stroke will appear, as many of you may know.

Anyway, tonight I settled down without any expectations as such, a temporary aversion to watercolour, and an open mind… and amazingly, after an hour or so, I have realised it IS possible to get acceptable results, as evidenced by the partial sketch here. I just needed to learn a new strategy, be quick enough to catch the light and not get bitten by too many mozzies at dusk!