Day 335: A Break in the Clouds…

Safe Mooring (Watercolour)

Safe Mooring (Watercolour)

Well, it didn’t all just fall into place today, but I think there was a breakthrough in colours and a possible layout for the sky after I found a demonstration on You Tube that inspired me.

The weather here really isn’t playing fair though and it was really difficult to paint today with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees all day – I don’t think it’s cooled down yet and it’s now 10.15pm! So, wet into wet became moist into bone-dry, and any attempt to work with the paint just made cauliflowers and lifted the paint underneath. Hence my clouds are looking a bit tatty.

I can see the potential though, if I plan carefully and paint early enough for the washes to stay wet… I also took a bit of time to invent a landscape around my practise sky :-).

Day 332: Tired Old Eyes…

Tired Old Eyes (graphite)

Tired Old Eyes (Graphite)

The festivities are getting into full swing around here and I had my first Christmas party this afternoon with everyone from Pilates. As a result I’ve been wearing contact lenses all afternoon and my eyes are now suffering a bit. In fact, they’re feeling somewhat like the eyes of my subject here which is referenced from a photo on Paint My Photo – my never ending source of subject matter 😛

I’m looking forward to an early night and lots of rest… tomorrow I really must start putting something together for the Members Show at Project Gallery which is taking submissions on Monday 16th December – Yes, that’s only a week away and I haven’t started yet!

Day 331: Flint & his Bone, Pt. 2

A Bone to Pick (Watercolour)

A Bone to Pick (Watercolour)

Just a little more added to this picture today… I spent ages on his eye, which surprisingly isn’t ruined yet – neither is it finished yet either. The paper just didn’t seem to want to take paint, maybe I got more masking fluid on there than I thought…

A few other areas have had initial washes and will need darkening some more. I also had a go at his spotty paws, but when that too started being difficult I backed off and went to practice coding websites instead! Tomorrow will be a better day I’m sure, or the day after (I have my first Christmas party tomorrow afternoon!) 🙂

Day 319: Puddles, Pt. 2

Puddles (Watercolour)

Puddles (Watercolour)

Before I began painting today I spent an hour or so this afternoon looking for reference material to help me paint reflections. When Google failed me (yes, it can happen) I resorted to books and became engrossed in a Ron Ranson book Mum & Dad brought over with them called Big brush Watercolour.

Unfortunately I didn’t get much help with reflections, but I did read heaps about using tone and value to design the scene and about simplifying landscapes to create a better composition. I know most watercolour books cover these subjects and like everyone else I tend to skip them, but this was well written with lots of practical advice and was actually interesting. I read half the book in one sitting…

Mostly it pointed out that as I’d skipped all the planning in this current painting (surprise, surprise!) I will encounter lots of potential problems, including knowing where to go next with it. My background is too bright and colourful, which brings it forward: I don’t think I have a single, clear, focal point: I haven’t planned any interesting areas of counter-change, where the lightest lights are next to the darkest darks.

Well, I’m having fun, and don’t you learn most from your mistakes? So I carried on regardless and started to paint the middle ground tree trunks – they’re probably also tonally too strong which will make it harder to make the front one stand out, but anyway, I’m enjoying learning by experimentation 🙂

Day 318: Rainy Day Memories

Puddles (Watercolour)

Puddles (Watercolour)

We’ve had a few more thunder storms today, dark and wet and dramatic, but between them the sun has been beaming down with surprising heat. On days like this our pooch, Flint, loves to take refuge in the puddles that have appeared under the trees, breaking his walk with an occasional dip and then racing around with a new lease of life once his belly is wet.

Mum asked me last week why I wasn’t trying some wet paintings while we’re having all this rain. My first thought was ‘too hard’, probably my second thought too… but I do love reflections of tree trunks, and I’ve always wanted to try my hand at a painting that Mum & Dad have by a family friend, Miss Tuff. Painted in oils, it’s an image of the trunks of several trees standing in puddles. It has gorgeous rich dark colours and sparkling light captured in the wet patches.

Miss Tuff was a lovely lady and had a very interesting past working in British stately homes painting wallpaper, a long time before it came printed on a roll. With a wonderful childlike innocence she was fascinated by absolutely everything. When Dad met her I think she was already in her seventies and she was learning woodwork in the same class as he was.

My attempt is based on some trees in our local park, which often gets flooded. Not so much a close up as hers, stage one was to get the sky and water in and a wash to indicate the ground. The colours here are not as they really appear as I kept painting after it got dark and had to take the photo in artificial light, hopefully tomorrow I’ll get one in daylight.