Serious Colour Swatches for Reference

Reference Colour Swatches (Watercolour)

Reference Colour Swatches (Watercolour)

I decided to get down to some serious reference preparation work today – paints, pigments, colours and how they behave in different situations. It’s the sort of thing that I generally try to avoid as I hope to have the knowledge stick in my mind purely by repetition and practise, but I’m beginning to realise that I just don’t use some of these colours often enough to remember their characteristics, and some I just plain don’t remember no matter how often they hit the paper!

I’ve been following an example that I picked up from a tutorial on Artists Network TV whereby each colour has several boxes and in each one you do something different – drop a spot of paint into a wet square, have neat pigment on the left and clear water to the right with a gradient between (my gradients aren’t very good, I’m afraid).

The first box, which is empty at the moment, will be to test the opacity of each pigment – first I need to find a permanent black marker to draw a line, then I’ll paint each colour across it. If I can see the paint on top of the black line then it has some level of opacity, transparent colours will show the black straight through.

Once the paint is dry enough the third box of each colour will have a strip across it’s length that has had paint ‘lifted’ by adding water then dabbing with a tissue. This will indicate how well the pigment lifts and whether it’s a staining colour or not.

So, these are all my yellows and browns, I still have blues, reds and greens to go. The set up of all the masking tape was a bit time consuming but I think it’ll be worth it when I take it all off again and it looks neat… plus there’ll be room then to write the names of each colour in. I hadn’t realised how many tubes I had, especially as I don’t use them all, but I thought it would be worth making charts of the whole lot as you never know when something a bit off my radar will have the perfect properties for a particular spot.

 

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 😉

Soft Summer Roses

Soft Summer Roses (Watercolour)

Soft Summer Roses (Watercolour)

Our small front garden has three rose bushes, all of which were here when we moved in… I wasn’t really a big lover of roses, but I’ve become quite attached to them over the past two and a half years. They’re all quite different – there’s a deep red, long stemmed single bloom variety with an amazingly sweet perfume (almost sickly sweet), a mutli-bloom candy striped pink and white one, and a small under-developed bush that only manages one or maybe two blooms a year… but when they appear they are so beautiful!

This rose bush has just delivered it’s first blossom of the season, possibly the only one we’ll see, and it’s the most perfect full rose of soft yellow with a delicate tinge of pink at the tip of some of the outer petals. It’s enticed me to try a loose rose painting, my first of the year, with no pencil outline to guide me. I admit, I studied a few online videos first to gain some ideas for technique – I have previously tried Jean Haines tutorials and today I found another artist, Trevor Waugh, who’s demonstrations are stunning.

My effort is a combination of both techniques, I think, with my own freehand interpretations… I’m really pleased with the start I’ve made, although I got caught out by the speed the washes dried so there are a few hard edges in the background that need addressing later. You’ll maybe have noticed that I left a space for another flower? That’s a bit of artistic license as it only ever grows one at a time, but I thought it might make for a better composition.

Day 314: Banskia Flower, Pt. 2

Banksia Flower (Watercolour)

Banksia Flower (Watercolour)

I found it quite hard to settle down to painting more of the Banksia flower… I was so pleased with the first stage that I didn’t want to carry on and chance losing that freshness, especially as I don’t know how I’m going to build it up from here.

I did however finally pick up a paint brush and started to darken the greenery nearest to the flower. I started off much too hesitant with no confidence in my strokes and the results looked unconvincing too. Fortunately as I just kept adding more, and sometimes taking it off again, it began to work better.

To me it’s looking a bit too much like a Christmas tree with a candle at the moment, but I suppose that’s not such a bad thing at this time of the year :-).

Day 310: Service Resumed!! It’s Good to be Back :-)

Banksia Flower (Watercolour)

Banksia Flower (Watercolour)

We’re back! And I hope you have some time on your hands because we have got some catching up to do! So, go and get yourself a coffee (or wine) and settle down while I quickly run through the past three days of “limbo without a website” and get back up to date. For the sake of continuity I’m still going to split it into separate posts, partly because I’m pedantic and also because I’ll loose count of the days if I don’t :-).

It all began on Friday when I sat down to write and found I couldn’t log on, and nor was the website running for anyone else (of course you’ll have noticed that). Research followed and then a support email to my web host – apparently it was a problem at their end and nothing I could do about it. So I toddled off to bed expecting everything to be back to normal on Saturday.

Disappointment followed, and then frustration… no support and no communication. Two days of calls and emails until I received a response today and finally some results. It’s so good to be back and find everything just as I left it :-).

Back to painting… Friday (as far as I can remember) was a great painting day – here’s the beginnings of a Banksia flower, done all in one sitting. I’m particularly happy with the way the bottom left corner is looking like spiny foliage and I’m looking forward to getting into details.