John’s Rose Bites the Dust & Spotted Lily 2

Zantedeschia, Spotted Lily (Watercolour)

Zantedeschia, Spotted Lily (Watercolour)

It’s a quick post today, just for a catch-up… I spent more time today trying to make the paper work for me with John’s Rose and eventually admitted defeat with this one. I just can’t get any sharp lines or bleed the colour properly and the washes are just soaking straight in and drying with a very strange spongelike texture – see the insert below for a small detail of the painting as it stands now.

I think I’m just going to have to resign to defeat with this paper as it is at the moment. Maybe I can buy some DIY sizing liquid to try coating the rest of the pad with, but it’s fairly impossible as it is to get results from it. I did start the painting afresh, but there’s not much to share at the moment.

John's Rose (Watercolour)

John’s Rose (Watercolour)

Thank goodness it only seems to be one of the two pads I bought. Fortunately, the other block seems to be behaving much better, as you can see by the second stage of the Zantedeschia Lily that I started before Christmas. I just think this probably needs the leaves defining a bit more and some of their trademark spots adding and then I can stop 🙂 .

A New Year with Old Resolutions… John’s Rose

John's Rose (Watercolour)

John’s Rose (Watercolour)

Happy New Year, and an enormous Thank You! to everyone who has joined and supported me on my journey so far. As many of us do at this time of year I’ve been thinking during the Christmas break about resolutions, goals and ambitions for last year and the coming one… what I’ve achieved and which slipped out of focus.

I certainly lost some of my drive to paint over the final weeks of the year, in part due to a surge in workload from my job and the added stress that came with it. So, close to the top of my list this year is an old resolution to try and manage that aspect of life better and always make a little time to relax and enjoy the things I love to do.

Above all, I’d like to work on playing more and worrying less, especially about results… I know I can learn so much from experimenting and letting go, but it’s going to be tricky if I continue to be critical. I had so much fun at the Jean Haines workshop in November, sharing ideas and trying new things in a safe environment… I have to find a way to capture that and keep it alive!

I’ve already discovered a new and exciting blog to follow this year: “The Wash a Week Challenge”, which features seven watercolourists from around the world who call themselves the Washing Girls. They have made a pact to paint and post a wash each week, for the whole year. This should offer me lots of inspiration 🙂 .

To start my new year with enthusiasm I had a search in last year’s ‘Inspiration’ folder and found a photo from our trip to the UK in June. Jim’s Dad, John, has created a beautiful garden and beside the front door is a magnificent pale peach rose with very dark green leaves… I love the way the rose compliments the colour of the brickwork behind it. Here is a beginning, on the paper I don’t really like (but Will be used 😛 ). The absorbency of the paper has given the first washes a very soft effect.

The Problem with Roses…

Faded Rose (Watercolour)

Faded Rose (Watercolour)

The best place in our house isn’t actually IN our house… it’s the old couch we have on the porch that’s bathed in sun for three quarters of the day. This is something I neglected to mention in my last post – it must have seemed odd that I could paint roses on the couch ‘en plein air’ (except for those of you who’ve sat on it).

Today I spent another hour sitting in the sun trying to capture the last rose of the three that I painted on Monday. They don’t last long as you can see (I hope!), this one is also fading fast and the petals are only just hanging on. One good gust of wind, or a light shower, and they’ll be on the ground with the rest.

Firstly with this practise study I tried to make the bloom larger, it was very difficult painting so small last time. I also wanted to be more delicate and capture the sun shining through the petals. Not an easy thing to do… I think I was just about getting somewhere when I had to stop. I’m still starting off too dark, and I think my brush was a little large – but I’ve heard you should paint with as big a brush as possible to stop you focusing on detail  and fiddling.

And I fell off the page – you can just see the ring bindings on the left… it’s quite pretty though for all it’s faults 🙂

Plein Air Painting on the Couch

Plein Air Roses (Watercolour)

Plein Air Roses (Watercolour)

It’s been such a beautiful day today that I decided to switch my day around and paint before working… what’s more, I grabbed a handful of portable supplies and headed into the front garden to study what might be the last three roses we get this year.

I think this rose bush has been in the garden for a very long time, many years before we moved in… the stump is quite large and gnarled and it grows tall long stem red roses with the most amazing sweet, heady scent – it was a joy to sit for an hour and dabble 🙂 .

The session did deteriorate into quite a bit of fiddling as I was working on a small Watercolour pad, one that I haven’t used before, and the paper was difficult to get used to. Luckily paint lifted out nicely from it so I just played with marks, adding and lifting, pushing the paint around. Not at all loose and flowing but fun anyway, painting by feel rather than using my brain to understand what was happening and decide what action to take next.

And I never did get back to the work I was supposed to do….

Soft Summer Roses, Pt. 4

Soft Summer Roses (Watercolour)

Soft Summer Roses (Watercolour)

What a lovely end to the week! I’ve spent an hour or so this afternoon building up the petals of the top rose, adding shadows and extra depths of yellow to the heart of the flower, and then also adding some foliage here and there.

I have to admit I’m thoroughly pleased with this picture… it’s so unlike anything I would normally expect to produce… not in the subject matter because I love roses, but it’s so much more delicate and also looser – probably because I managed it without any drawing, absolutely no pencil outlines! That obviously helps immensely, and means it doesn’t look like a paint by numbers :-).

So it must be time for a Friday evening, had a great day, end of the week type celebration – See you at the pub, first drink’s on me 😉