Watercolour demo – using the Cala Lily

“Human subtlety sill never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.”     Leonardo da Vinci. 

20-11-15 - 1 (478)

On the 18th September I will be giving my first live workshop since lock down at THE INSPIRED HUB in Hampton http://www.theinspiredhub.co.uk       

I first mentioned the inspired hub two months ago on this blog in a post entitled ‘CREATIVE THINKING, PERSONAL WELLBEING AND COMMUNITY.’         The HUB is proving to be a wonderful addition to the Hampton (SW London)  community. 

Using watercolour, and beginning with playful exercises the workshop will focus on spontaneous painting and loosening up.      

Watercolour is a beautiful medium.        There are a few basic techniques to learn – each one taking time and patience to master.      Allowing ourselves to play with the medium will help build confidence and ability.     

In this instance I have sketched out two cala lilies – using yellow ochre.    I am working on a Saunders and Waterford Hot Pressed – heavy paper.  (more about papers at end of blog)

20-11-15 - 1 (607)Having sketched the basic image I add ‘juicy tube paint’ into the negative space (the area surrounding the lilies).    I am using a mix of Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon with Winsor & Newton Winsor Violet and a little Winsor & Newton Cadmium Orange. 

When we add paint to the negative space – we automatically reveal the subject…..20-11-15 - 1 (787)Using very small amounts of pigment I begin to add colour to the lily.    For this I use Winsor & Newton Green Gold and a touch of Windsor & Newton Cadmium yellow. For the dark green in stem and shadow I mix some Winsor & Newton Burnt Sienna with a tiny amount of prussian blue and Gold Green. 

All the whites are dry white paper. 

20-11-15 - 1 (799)I begin to build depth inside the lily using small amounts of pigment – making sure to leave dry white paper for highlights. 20-11-15 - 1 (805)As I build up the colour I am mindful of bringing the background colours into the Lilies.    Everything is connected….nothing is isolated.     By moving colour around a painting we bring a sense of harmony and rhythm.

It is important to note, that when we change one fraction of a painting – (no matter what the size) we change the whole.     This is true for everything in life. 20-11-15 - 1 (806)The finished watercolour is an observational exercise revealing the subtlety of nature….. and at the same time honing watercolour technique.       I hope that there is an element of energy and movement.  20-11-15 - 1 (478)The most important thing is to PLAY  and warm up.    This can be done on any paper including newspaper…..The key is to release any fears or anxiety about messing up a good piece of paper.  Ultimately this is a freeing up mechanism.

When purchasing watercolour paper – it is measured by weight and surface quality….Cold Pressed for rougher surface.  NOT (meaning not hot pressed) is smoother and Hot Pressed is very smooth.    My analogy is that using cold pressed is like roller skating and hot pressed like ice skating – NOT is somewhere in the middle.

When we purchase a piece of lb140 weight paper – this simply means that the ream of paper (500 sheets) weighs lb140 – and of course the same applies for all weights.    It’s a good idea to purchase a sample pack of papers.…and again PLAY.

Another example of where I have used strong colours in the negative space to reveal the image.     After I add colour to the flowers – leaving dry white paper for my whites. 

30 thoughts on “Watercolour demo – using the Cala Lily

  1. davidjrogersftw

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful work. Best of success to you in your workshop. Im sure it wil go famously. I thank you too for the opening quote–nothing is superflous in nature, which means those awful trimes we sometimes endure and hate were not superfluous but were necessary too. Bye, Janet.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you so very much my dear friend….Thank God that we have our art disciplines – regardless of what is going on in the world, painting, writing, music, all give and bring great joy and depth to our existence. Janet xx

  2. Jet Eliot

    I happen to stop by on the day you are giving your live workshop, Janet, so I am sending lots of smiles your way. This was a delightful art lesson and much appreciated. Wonderful to see the step-by-step process unfold with the paintings. I also appreciated the painting analogy to life: when we change one thing we change the whole. Hoping your workshop today was a beautiful change toward even more beauty.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good afternoon Jet…I hope this finds you well and safe. I thank you so much for thinking of me on Friday when I had my first live workshop since lockdown…and what a great pleasure it was:). Everything went well, and even the weather was perfect. My next post will be all about it. Janet X


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