Tag Archives: daniel smith watercolours

Mixing watercolour and Gouache….the transparent with the opaque.

“No Experiment is ever a complete failure.   It can always be used as a bad example”.   Paul Dickson. 

watercolour/gouache – view from the Rhiwiau in the Brecon Beacons Wales Viewfromrhiwiau1master.jpgcompI am always asked what is the difference between watercolour and gouache.

Watercolour is a transparent medium.    Gouache is Opaque.    Watercolour and Gouache are intermixable….

In this post, I will show examples of pure watercolour as well as the mix of watercolour with gouache.

Pure watercolour – Brecon Beacons Wales 20181029_115354  About eighteen years ago – I was in my studio in Wales going through a period of feeling blocked.     Always a difficult time for a creative!

Over the years I have learned that the best thing to do when this happens is PLAY.     I put out big sheets of inexpensive paper on long trestle tables.    Using large brushes and anything else at hand I began to throw paint around.      I found some gouache, something I had not used before and began mixing it with watercolour and voila……..I loved the results and have been playing with the mix ever since.

I noticed that the gouache was bleeding into the transparent watercolour producing some very interesting marks.

The top swatch of colour is Winsor Violet watercolour mixed with Permanent White gouache on an orange background.  (more about colour grounds in a minute)

The second swatch is pure watercolour. 20181029_122319

The following portrait sequence of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.….shows in the first example, pure watercolour – where all the white you see is dry white paper.20181030_090534The second example shows pure watercolour on an orange ground.20181025_095849The third example shows a mix of watercolour and gouache.     When painting this way, permanent white gouache needs to be applied for highlights because all the white paper has been covered.  20181025_102005It’s important to note, that no one way is the right way.    The whole point of being a creative is to experiment….as my opening quote points out.

When I am going outside to paint I will prepare some of the pages in my sketchbooks with a ground so that if I wish to use a watercolour/gouache mix, I am ready to do so….which was the case here.    Ground colour naples yellow with a little burnt sienna. 20181029_140537 So what is a colour ground?        

It is when we cover our paper or canvas with a colour.     When using watercolour/gouache it’s important to remember that paper must be grounded at least 24 hours before using so that it is totally dry.    

I often use paint left on my palette for grounding.    If at the beginning of the work day I am struggling to warm up…grounding paper will often do the trick.

As you can see from this example, the paint does not have to be uniform or all one colour.   I am known for my orange grounds, but often use naples yellow, burnt sienna or anything else left on the palette.   You can use both watercolour and gouache  separately or mixed together to make a ground. 20181025_095826I hope this helps those who are interested.     The key is to allow yourself to EXPERIMENT and PLAY,    Remember it is only paper……

I leave you with a magical hummingbird drinking from the sweet nectar of life.…paiinted on an orange ground using a watercolour/gouache mix. 20-11-15 - 1 (358)

A Bientôt.

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)Watercolour is a beautiful medium.        There are a few basic techniques to learn – each one taking time and patience to master.      Allowing oneself 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 paint’ into the negative space.    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…..So often we struggle with a particular element of a painting, when all we need to do is observe the negative space. 20-11-15 - 1 (787)Using very small amounts of pigment I begin to add colour to the flower.    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 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. 

I hope everyone enjoys a creative weekend….no matter what your medium….and that the magical hummingbirds are with you.

watercolour/gouache11194395_10153252694930396_8127371946973631924_oNew hummingbird products including some pretty nifty wrist watches in my Zazzle shop.

http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts

A Bientôt

 

Spontaneous watercolour/gouache painting plus assorted palettes.

“The creative process is all about experimenting, letting go of the logical information that our brains have processed during our lifetimes, and embracing the concept of seeing our world in a much broader sense”    Janet Weight Reed – The Apple Exercise

This image is about being spontaneous – not being governed by an imagined outcome.  a case of going with the flow.…...watercolour/gouache20-11-15-1-510

I began with a mix of burnt sienna and prussian blue to make the darks, along with glorious Winsor & Newton Green Gold – a wonderfully transparent pigment.

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Working very fast and using an old image as a  ‘jumping off point’ I begin to build up the whole composition.

All white areas are dry white paper…..

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Continuing to work rapidly, I start to build up the image..using a mix of transparent watercolour and opaque designer gouache.      I use a knife to scrape out areas…to give a sense of energy.

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I am not concerned about the end result…rather am enjoying the process of letting go and applying juicy paint to the paper…

As is the case with all of life...it’s all about the journey and not the destination……..

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Building layers of paint, I have allowed some of the transparent watercolours to show through.   At the same time I add gouache to add opaque areas to the image.    All whites are dry white paper. 

I was going to add a hummingbird – maybe later…..

20-11-15-1-510

I have been asked what palettes I use for my watercolours…..this image shows a selection.

I am a creature of habit…and have had some of these palettes for over thirty years..namely the round palette and the tiny sketching palette.

The smaller palette in bottom left corner with fold over lid is perfect for travelling – and the large palette on right with lid is also goof for long haul trips.      When I run out of colour in my tiny palette, I simply refill it with tube paint.

I don’t clean off all the paint between painting sessions.     I run the palette under the tap using a brush to remove the messy areas.      This leaves blobs of pure colour which are still perfectly usable!     If it dries completely, you simply re-activate with water.

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A magical hummingbird for the week ahead….

If you visit http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts  you will see that the magical hummingbirds have been very busy:)

 

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A bientôt

Tutorial 14 – Luscious colour

This quick warm up exercise is all about colour…..wonderful, luscious colour:)

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Here’s what to do.

Frame 1.

I have Applied some glorious violet to the paper….Note that I have left a white area….and then while the paint is still very wet, I have allowed  some Permanent White Gouache to bleed into the wet paint, which provides a lovely fuzzy edge. 

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Frame 2.

 

I add some strong pigment into the wet violet paint and allowing it to bleed and do its own thing…..Any colours can be used. 

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Frame 3. 

I now add some more crimson into the mix. 

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Frame 4.

Note that I am using Daniel Smith watercolours for this particular warm up.    They are more expensive, and in this case prove that you get what you pay for…..superb pigments, however any pigments and colours can be used for this exercise…

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Frame 5

When I am testing new colours and pigments, I allow myself to PLAY….which unto itself makes for a superb warm up exercise. 

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Happy Wednesday and happy painting.

A Bientôt

Tutorial 8. Wet brush no paint.

In this short video, I load my big brush with juicy paint, and then making sure to remove all paint from the brush, I use the clean wet brush to pull out the colour.

I am working on a dry surface, and by using this technique, I am able to avoid muddiness, which is the enemy of all water-colour painters:)

Once again I can’t stress how important it is to have a minimum of four pots of clean water always at hand.

A Bientôt

Tutorial 7. Basic materials for watercolour painting.

This post is about basic watercolour materials.   

Something I have noticed over the years is that many people arrive at workshops, or go out for a day’s painting armed with everything and the kitchen sink:).     

Keeping life simple is definitely a good rule to live by, and this also applies to art materials. 

Frame 1 and 2 – Palettes

When painting indoors, I have used the same palette for over thirty years.     You will note that when I finish a day’s painting, I don’t scrub the palette clean…..to do so is to throw away good paint and money.     Rather, I hold it under a slow running tap and then with a watercolour brush clean off any areas where I have mixed paint.   

Even if the palette has been left to dry for several days, all I need to do is wet the remaining paint on the palette and the paint is activated again. 

My favourite watercolour palette:-

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I was given this little travelling palette about thirty years ago by a dear friend in the States.     The original blocks of paint have long gone, and so I simply fill the wells with tube paint.   Yes, it looks a little sad, however, after holding it under a running tap for a few seconds, it’s ready to go….

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Frame 3 and 4 –  Sketch books and paper. 

When travelling, I always carry a small sketchbook.    This is for recording quick images and writing notes.   This one is 5 inches square.      Note, one brush will do, plus a credit card with the corner cut off….also the credit card allows me through customs. 

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I will write a separate blog about watercolour papers, but today we are talking about papers and sketchbooks for playing and experimenting.      

I highly recommend that you purchase a ‘sample pack’ of watercolour papers from your supplier.    The packs are not expensive, and will allow you to play with different weights and types of papers.     

One of the suppliers I use, sells packs of 50 off cuts.    This is a very affordable way to purchase paper…for playing purposes.  Note I have put a colour ground on two of these. 

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Frame 5.   Watercolour Pencils

In my last demonstration using the Calla Lily as a subject, I sketched out the the Lily using a watercolour pencil.    To be honest, I hardly ever use them, but it reminded me how useful they can be.

In the first example, I have pulled out paint with a clean, wet brush from the hard line.    In the second example, I scribbled colour and then added water.   In the third if mixed blue and brown together and then added water. 

Watercolour pencils can be purchased from an art supplier. 

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Frame 6. – Brushes and knife. 

Note that I like to use a big brush and would suggest that when playing, you do the same.   It frees you up.    In this frame there is an uncharacteristically small brush for me, however, for demonstration purposes I used it to make the fine line.     The Rigger Brush (so called because it was used by Maritime artists to paint the rigging on ships) has a much longer head on it…and is very effective for fine lines.     

I have had this knife for about 17 years, since I absconded with it from a friend’s kitchen in San Francisco:)    I become attached to my materials and this knife is no exception. 

Note I made the broad marks, using the big brush and a mix of Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue, and then pulled out with my knife. 

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Frame 7.   Juicy paint vs Transparent paint.

I often refer to juicy paint when I am teaching.     This means that I load my brush with tube paint, and very little water.

When I want the pigment to be transparent and light, I use much more water and very little pigment.    In the first example, I have used a mix of Burnt Sienna, Prussian blue….I loaded my big brush and applied directly to dry paper.     I then took a clean, wet brush and teased out the edge.    

In the second example, I have applied Winsor & Newton Green Gold, using my big brush and lots of water….very little pigment is needed.     I have then taken a clean, wet brush and pulled out the edge. 

Using my knife, I have then scraped through.      This is the kind of exercise that I highly recommend.   

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Frames 8, 9 and 10  –   Watercolours. 

These are what the Winsor & Newton Cotman series watercolours look like.     They are very reasonably priced and are excellent for beginners and advanced painters, alike.       I purchase the big tubes, however, they also have smaller tubes.    

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When working on a colour ground, I use Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache Permanent White.   There are some pigments where I choose to use the Winsor & Newton artist’s grade colour which is more expensive.      By the way, Winsor & Newton has recently changed their tubes and so don’t be thrown by this. 

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A few years ago, I was introduced to the Daniel Smith range of watercolours and I love them.    They are more expensive, but absolutely worth it. 

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The following are some of the pigments I use.    

Winsor & Newton, Cotman series. – Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue, Dioxazine Violet, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Orange, Alizarin Crimson, Turquoise, Sepia, cadmium yellow hue, Burnt Umber 

Winsor & Newton – Artists grade – Green Gold, Burnt Sienna 

Winsor & Newton – Designer Gouache – Cobalt Turquoise Light, Opera Rose, Naples Yellow. 

Daniel Smith – Raw Umber Violet, Carmine.

Here are the websites for my favourite suppliers.

http://www.jacksonsart.com      http://www.kenbromleyartsupplies.co.uk     http://www.danielsmith.com  http://www.winsornewton.com

When I travel, as I did recently to the States, I order my paper from a supplier in the country where I will be working (in the States, Daniel Smith).    There are many excellent suppliers worldwide….the four that I have given here, I highly recommend.     All supplies can be ordered on line and delivered to your door.

Happy painting.

A Bientôt