Tag Archives: watercolour/gouache mix

Painting exercise – An Iris, symbolising love a wisdo

Even though we are still in February, I am feeling the onset of Spring.     Everywhere I look, I see the signs.    So many bulbs shooting up through the soil and that tell tale sign of the sap beginning to rise.     Such an exciting time of the year.    These feelings are begging me to use vibrant colour…..and so I am using an Iris as my jumping off point for a watercolour/gouache painting exercise.

rapid watercolour with a little gouache here and there…….20-11-15-1-731I have learned that the Iris symbolises love and wisdom  – two elements that we can never have enough of…..

This is a playful exercise….a good way to warm up.

Using a big brush, I apply bold colourful marks to the paper….You can do this exercise on newspaper, inexpensive wallpaper lining, anything at hand.   The key is to go for it and enjoy. 

20-11-15-1-725

I begin to establish the form of the Iris….important to note that all the whites you see thus far are dry white paper.     I am emphasising keeping dry white paper areas in this exercise, rather than wetting the whole sheet.    This will give more control and ultimately those dry white areas bring sparkle to a watercolour painting.

20-11-15-1-726I add paint to the background and pull out certain areas with a clean wet brush….all the white areas showing are dry white paper.

To avoid muddiness – a clean wet brush can do wonders in moving paint around.     20-11-15-1-727I then decide to give the image more drama and add a dark wash into the negative space surrounding the Iris.      I don’t use black…this dark is made up from  a Burnt sienna/ Prussian Blue mix plus some of the purple I have used in the Iris. 20-11-15-1-729While the surface is wet, I scrape out some areas with a knife.   I have also added a little Permanent White Gouache into the final frame….note how the gouache bleeds from the Irish into the surrounding paint.

Very important to move colour around the picture and to allow the paint to do its own thing….this is where watercolour mediums are quite magical20-11-15-1-731I have several short videos on YouTube which can be helpful.   They can be found by entering my name into the YouTube search engine.

Along with Podcasts I plan to do some longer videos during the coming year.

Remember love and wisdom are the words for today….two elements the Magical Hummingbirds understand well.

20-11-15-1-545

A Bientôt.

Not thinking too much and letting go of self doubt……

“Chattering Monkeys are the little demons that fill our heads with reasons why we should not, and cannot do something.    Igore them”   Janet Weight Reed -The Apple Exercise. 

rapid warm up exercises.  

I used the the same brush on all four sections.    The left two sections are on white paper, the right two are painted on a colour ground.

20-11-15-1-188

Adding cadmium orange to all four sections – (the same colour used for the ground) connects the images.

20-11-15-1-201

Prior to giving a workshop last week for SOFAP – Fulham/Hammersmith Arts Society, I read some wise words from fellow blogger and writer  David Rogers…whose book  ‘Fighting to Win’ – Samurai Techniques For Your Work and Life,  talks about moving through the things that prevent us from being all that we can be.

I used the following two points from David’s book as the base line for the workshop.

1) Don’t think too much.          2) Let go of self doubt.

Rapid watercolour demonstration – Light on trees – one of the views from my window – Saorge. 

20-11-15-1-236

I always encourage a group to warm up and play at the beginning of a session….This is the foundation block for a day’s work and as vital to the artist as stretching is to the athlete and dancer.      In doing this we practise not thinking too much……and letting go of self doubt. 

Using photographs from my recent visit to  Saorge as  ‘jumping off points’- we begin to explore the rhythm and shapes of the landscape and Village.

Rapid watercolour of Saorge – on white paper.  

20-11-15-1-301

When we let go of self doubt and stop thinking too much, – when we allow our sixth sense and intuition to prevail, self imposed expectations disappear, freeing us up to explore the creative process.

Medieval village of Saorge – rapid watercolour  on white paper

20-11-15-1-228

In the following demonstration, I worked from a colour ground – which means any whites are added using Winsor & Newton Permanent White designer gouache.         ( When grounding paper its important to let the paint dry for a minimum of twenty-four hours before adding more paint.)

I am often asked what is the difference between watercolour and designer gouache?

Watercolour is transparent.     Designer gouache is opaque.       I often mix the two elements.    I began to do this about fifteen years ago when playing in my studio in Wales….

watercolour/gouache/felt tip pen are used to explore the alleyways of Saorge.

20-11-15-1-309

As we warm up..we are reminded that everything reflects upon everything else – all of life is interconnected.       By moving colour around a painting we bring harmony to the image.

By observing the harmonious flow of nature we learn so much.    Observation, observation, observation….one can never get enough of it.

In this rapid sketch – I am looking down onto  trees and roof tops.   Note the roof tiles are a natural purple colour which integrates into the surrounding landscape where the roof slate comes from. 

20-11-15-1-310

A little humour to finish this post.

As I was watercolour painting on the deck of the house where I was staying in Saorge…one of the sketches blew onto another roof below….and for all I know it is still there.    An example of ‘letting go’ 🙂

watercolour sketch on Saorge roof. 

20-11-15-1-663

Next week, I am off to Chester and Liverpool.    My friend the artist Miza Tavares has invited me to demonstrate at a workshop she is giving.    We will be painting the human form…one of my favourite subjects.    I will write about this in my next blog.

Today I finish with magical hummingbirds…

This image is on the front of my new calendar…which is available through http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+giftsp1170342

 

A Bientôt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

En Bal D’amour – Spectacle pour 10 clowns

13227592_10153388039805882_1640174500288876379_oI am off to France this week to stay with my dear friend Claudia Nottale who has a production in rehearsal for a performance on Sunday 29th May.

I am fortunate to be painting watercolours of the actors as they rehearse leading up to the performance.        Will show all after I return.

En Bal D’amour is showing at Maison de Quartier des Confluences Nantes.

A rapid watercolour/gouache of Claudia – One of many portraits I have painted of Claudia since we first met in 1978. 

10363513_10153085659260396_902871099764241904_n

May magical hummingbirds surround us all this week and of course the actors as they rehearse……

20-11-15 - 1 (20)A Bientôt

When is a painting finished?

I am often asked the question – When is a painting finished?   

This quote from Jidda Krishnamurti is my jumping off point for thoughts on this subject.

‘There is no end to education.   It is not that you read a book,  pass an examination and finish education.    The whole of life,  from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.’

The piano – rapid watercolour/gouacheOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEach painting we work on (including preliminary sketches and warm up exercises) is connected to all the work we have produced in the past and any work we will produce in the future…….Everything is interconnected.

Unlike many jobs where there is a clear beginning, middle and finish – a painting can take minutes, hours or years to complete…….and even when the painting is not being worked on – the seed of it’s idea is still sprouting information, even if at a subliminal level.

I painted a ground over an old watercolour to make this image…A great way to recycle old paintings that haven’t worked.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomething to consider is that striving for perfection can sometimes cripple the creative process.

As artists we seek to attain technical prowess, however it’s important to remember that warming up,  playfulness and risk taking are all part of the exploration and creative processOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlways try to work on more than one image at a time.     This can prevent overworking the painting and producing mud, particularly when working with watercolour!

When the question is asked – ‘where do I go next with this painting?’  It is time to stop.   Move onto the next painting and  invariably at a later date the answer will be revealed to your initial question.     Paintings communicate with us if we allow enough space and time…….            OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  When working on canvases….it is customary to turn paintings to the wall – sometimes for long periods.     This helps an artist to see the painting in a fresh light at a later date.    Any work produced in the interim feeds the artist with new information, which is often relevant to the original piece.          OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARegardless of the end goal…rapid sketches in any medium, along with honing observational skills help an artist to focus the mind.

Many years ago, I gave a workshop in Wales where a group of us walked the Brecon/ Monmouthshire Canal for one day.      Every fifteen minutes we stopped and sketched for fifteen minutes.….Initially, this was daunting to some of the participants….however, by the end of the day…people were producing quick sketches, filled with information.

The point of this story is that sketches had to be finished within fifteen minutes – which again was an excellent way of focusing the mind and also removing the desire to achieve the ‘perfect’ sketch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen we focus on the journey and not the destination – we are freed from restraints which might otherwise interfere with the creative flow.   The joy and learning will be  found in the doing, and answers will be revealed in their own good time.

Magical hummingbirds, of course completely understand this concept:)   Have a beautiful weekend.

watercolour

P1130684

 

An ongoing process…..

Another glance into an Olhao alley, Portugal. – http://www.artinthealgarve.com

watercolour/gouacheP1160215

There is no final Ta Da in my work….it is an ongoing process.    

Given that everything is interconnected, my creative life doesn’t stop when I put down my brushes.      It flows and continues through my thoughts and actions in all areas of my life.

P1110085

When I first exhibited in the early seventies – I was quickly picked up as a Wildlife Painter.    A reputable gallery took me into their stable, and it appeared that I was off to a flying start.

For fourteen years I painted large watercolours and oils in the wildlife genre.   My attempts to move towards new subject matter were not appreciated.

P1110087

Ultimately I broke the cycle and began a new series of work in the mid eighties.     The point of this is to say that the creative process is exactly that….a process.

We are never finished…rather always beginning. 

P1110089

Now, many years later I am incorporating wildlife into my large oil paintings, which are about Interconnections…..

P1110106

A Bientôt

Recycling old paintings….Lily turns into a Kent landscape.

I am re blogging this post because it’s a reminder of one way to recycle sketches/paintings.     

Anyone following my blog will know that I believe warming up before a day’s painting is key.    Like athletes and dancers, painters need to stretch.

Here is an example of recycling an old image by simply painting over the top of it.   I will be using designer gouache because of it’s opaque coverage. 

Kent landscape

P1140440

The old painting, of a lily will be used in the same way as I would use a colour ground.   

I turned the lily image upside down to use as my ground.

P1140417

I start by using Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache – permanent white to block out the background and to form a base for the sky.

P1140418

Slowly I add more colour to the mix, and although the old painting has been dry for a long time, I  still pick up some of the original colour  – which will add to the finished effect.

P1140421

After indicating the foreground…..(note that some of the colours in the sky are reflecting onto the land), I strengthen the contrasts around the painting.

It is always important to remember that everything in life is interconnected, and so when working on any element of a painting, it’s vital to keep the whole image within the mind’s eye. 

P1140437

Finally adding the detail of trees on the horizon line.

P1140440

Another way to recycle old paintings, is to cut them up.   Within each section I often find something new and interesting.

A Bientôt