Tag Archives: watercolour demonstrations

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

 

Watercolour demo…..

Along with workshops, I also like to give watercolour demonstrations.    This is an excellent way to give people a taster of what watercolour painting can be.

It’s always important to remember that my demo might be very different from other artists.    What I say and do isn’t necessarily what others might agree with, or indeed people wishing to learn about watercolour painting might wish to follow.    It’s just another way of approaching the medium.

Red landscape – A very simple watercolour exercise….perfect for beginners. 

P1100748I gave a demonstration on Monday at The Hurlingham Club in London, but as I haven’t had time to unpack my bag yet, I am using an example I have on file.

In this frame I wet the ‘sky’ area of the painting – dropped some colour into it and allow the paint to bleed (run)……..It’s important to note that at this point the bottom part of the paper is kept as dry white paper.

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This next technique is possibly one of the most important – it allows for the avoidance of Mud!!    The enemy of any watercolorist….

I have taken a clean, wet brush and gently teased the paint from the sky area, which is still wet, and pulled the colour down.     Note I have left some dry white paper at the horizon line.

Always have several pots of clean water available….again this helps in the avoidance of mud.

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Working on dry paper, is called ‘dry brush’ which can be very confusing given that the brush always has to have some wetness to it.    Like all things there’s all sorts of jargon which can bamboozle someone knew to the game!

In this frame, using a mix of purple and burnt sienna…I have indicated dark areas in the foreground – consciously leaving a lot of dry white paper.    I have also allowed the same colour mix to bleed up into the skyline….giving the illusion of trees on the horizon line.

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And finally the finished image.      Note the areas where I have left – dry white paper’  (this gives the sparkle to watercolour painting) – and also that I have allowed the paint to run….and do its own thing….which I find is one of the  great joys of watercolour painting…..plus an excellent lesson in ‘letting go of control’.

Finally I took a knife and scraped out a few lines in the foreground, indicating reeds/grasses.

The exercise is a great one to PLAY with….the importance of which I can never emphasise enough.       I find that tube paints allow me to work with juicier colours……again if just starting out, purchase in expensive set of paintings to PLAY with……

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And of course I must finish with a magical hummingbird.           They do seem to  be weaving their magic at the moment:)

Here is the l link to my new ‘Hummingbird page’ – http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts     

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Enjoy a lovely weekend….

A Bientôt

 

Portrait painting using watercolour

in 1995, I had an exhibition of portraits in Brittany, France.      The portraits were of people I had painted in the United States, Wales, England and France.

I was asked by the Gallery to give watercolour demonstrations during the month of the exhibition.    Given that it was based on portraiture, I decided to ask some of some of the local people to sit for me.

Although I had painted water colour portraits over the previous years, this proved to be the beginning of my painting spontaneous watercolour portraits wherever I travelled.      I quickly realised that using the spontaneity of watercolour, I could capture the essence of my subject in about thirty minutes or less. 

I painted this large portrait of Caroline, when giving a painting demonstration in Le Pecq, Paris some years after the exhibition in Brittany.

In this instance, I am painting the portrait on an already prepared cadmium orange ground.

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I am using juicy watercolours from tubes – and as is always the case with my portraits of humans or animals, I draw with my brush and begin with the eyes. 

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Caroline was a wonderfully colourful and dramatic subject….

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I am feeling the urge to get on the road again and paint more portraits:)

A Bientôt

subjects with a sense of immediacy and 

Art in the Algarve – watercolours and sketches

As I mentioned earlier, the purpose of this course was to work on watercolour technique and at the same time observational skills.   The watercolours shown in this post are a small sampling and they are in no particular order.

I would begin each session with demonstrations….in this case using flowers from the Market, I made rapid watercolour sketches on white paper and paper with a colour ground.

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The course is for all levels, including total beginners, which brings me to the first image which was painted by someone who had never been to a watercolour class before.

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One of the key elements of the course is to show people how to avoid the age old problem of muddiness in their watercolours.     One of our group who had worked in watercolour for quite some time had become very frustrated with this issue, and so I was delighted to see the work she produced…..with absolutely no mud!

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Although the emphasis of my workshops is to use watercolour in a spontaneous manner, sometimes it’s very helpful to make more detailed observational studies.

This watercolour of beans from the market, is just that – an observational exercise.

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Much emphasis throughout the week was all about the use of sketch books.    Here you can see the sketch made when visiting the Island of Culatra, and the beginnings of a watercolour painting from the sketch.

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A series of lily watercolours – exploring the use of negative space in an image.

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Taken from a small sketch.

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One of the group had a particular interest in trees and made many interesting studies.

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ImageUsing strong colour in the negative space to achieve a sense of drama.

ImageThere was so much more work, but these images will give an idea of what was achieved.

One of the lasting memories I will have is painting in the courtyard later in the day when local pigeons would be let out.    The flapping of they wings would cause a beautiful dream like echo…..quite lovely.

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The pigeons seen from the roof of the school….flying free.

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I will now look forward to my course at the school next April….

http://www.artinthealgarve.com

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

   

 

 

Art in the Algarve – establishing rhythms

As mentioned in my last post, David Clark has organised a cohesive structure at the Art in the Algarve school, allowing for each tutor to focus on the job at hand.    I was delighted to find that life and costume models are available, which is something to consider for further workshops, but for this my first time at the school, it was necessary for me and the group to become comfortable with one another and acquaint ourselves with our surroundings.

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I find that when a group of individuals who don’t know one another meet in a new place things can often seem overwhelming…..where to begin?

My first suggestion was that everyone pick a spot in the studio where they could lay out their supplies – easy to grab, without shuffling though bags or running back and forth to rooms. 

Given that I always emphasise the necessity of warming up before a days painting, the next stop was to gather in the two courtyards….and begin to observe the exquisite shadow play…..and at the same time, make rapid notes and sketches. 

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I always begin a watercolour workshops regardless of the different levels of skill, with the idea that we are all starting from scratch.  One of the key elements of the course, was to use sketch books for gathering information, thoughts, memories and observations, and as the week developed transfer those thoughts and ideas to larger paintings.

I also begin every day with rapid watercolour demonstrations, emphasising the importance of adding any written notes to sketches, i.e. time of day, etc. 

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Given that most people on the course were interested in honing watercolour techniques, on our first morning the apple once again became a great subject for rapid observational sketches.     By  using such simple subject matter, observational skills were honed and basic watercolour techniques practised, allowing the group to observe more clearly what was happening with the constant change of light and shade. 

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These rapid observational sketches  and our sketch books became the foundation block for everything else we did during the week. 

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The Art in the Algarve school is a feast for the eyes.    So much to see, and of course the wonderful olive tree, (symbolising peace,)  meandering up through the different levels of the building is a constant source of inspiration. 

A rapid demo in my sketch book of the olive tree….again demonstrating the importance of allowing the sketch book to be a place for thoughts, ideas….nothing has to be perfect.   It’s all about seeing and expressing thoughts as quickly as possible.  Capturing a moment. 

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On our first day we were introduced to Margarida’s superb food at lunch time…..and here she is in the kitchen. Image

 

Then in the evening after a most satisfying day’s painting, getting to know one another and exploring of the town we ate at a local Tapas bar, and oh what fun it was…..and the food again superb. 

As we walked back to the school after our meal at around 10.30 p.m. we were all amazed to observe the cleanliness of the streets. 

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My post tomorrow will focus on our visit to the weekly Ohlao market.

http://www.artinthealgarve.com

http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

A Bientôt

 

 

 

Workshop Demonstration (2)

My second demonstration once again tapped into the importance of negative space, and observation.     

The difference here is that the painting of the petals was less spontaneous and more considered.

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Using a photograph of magnolia petals as my jumping off point, I made a loose sketch of the petals, and then immediately wet the area in the negative space surrounding the petals, and applied juicy paint with a loaded larger brush.

I then allow the paint to bleed out to the edges of the paper.    This is an exercise in letting go of control….

For the petals I leave dry, white paper.      In a much more controlled manner, I then apply tiny amounts of pigment to each petal, being careful not to allow areas to bleed into one another.    The total opposite from what was going on in the background.

Given that I was painting this as a demo, there were time constraints, however, I might work on this painting over the next few days, developing more of the petal area.     Note the importance of leaving dry white paper for the highlightsand also note how the white paper shines through the transparent pigment.

The most important technique used in the petal area, is the use of a wet brush with no paint to pull out the small amounts of pigment applied to each petal.     This is also why it’s very important to have a minimum of four pots of water at all times….so that there is always clean water available.

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I enjoy the mix of loose, spontaneous painting with a more considerers detailed area. 

Again it’s important to remember that everything is interconnected, and so by bringing some of the same colour used in the background into the foreground we achieve a sense of natural harmony.

Because I was demonstrating and emphasising the importance of playing and experimenting, I then dropped some of the Winsor & Newton, Desiginer Gouache, Permanent White into the background….suggesting more petals, without any detail.

Note the two different areas of white….one using designer gouache, permanent white, and the other area on the petals, where the white is all dry white paper. 

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There are still a few places available for my workshop in April on the beautiful Algarve, Portugal.      Situated in an historic area of the Algarve, the venue affords excellent opportunities for outside and indoor painting.      With charming inner courtyards and a superb studio area, it is well equipped. 

More information is available at http://www.artinthealgarve.com   or you can e mail camilla@artinthealgarve.com

A Bientôt

Workshop demonstration (1)

When I give a workshop, I always place a lot of emphasis on warming up and observation.

It doesn’t matter what the subject or medium is being used…..these two elements are always key to a successful day’s painting.

For my first demonstration, I used a photograph simply as a jumping off point.

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The point of this rapid demonstration was to emphasise the importance of negative space which is just as important as the subject.

To achieve this, I mixed juicy tube watercolour and applied the paint with a large brush, leaving dry, white paper to indicate the flowers.

While still wet, I scraped out colour with a knife, to indicate the flower stems and at the same time give a sense of energy to the overall image.

I also dropped into the dark sky area, while still wet, some Winsor &Newton Designer Gouache, permanent white, allowing the paint to bleed and do it’s own thing:)

Remember, watercolour is a transparent medium and designer gouache, also a water paint is opaque.

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For the final image,  I added colour to the dry areas which gives the impression of flowers.

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A bientot