Tag Archives: wet brush no paint

Colourful landscape exercise

This colourful landscape is inspired from when I lived in the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales where the light is so dramatic.

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The following landscape exercise is excellent for warming up and uses the same techniques.

Working on white paper, I add lots of water to the top half of the paper and then add juicy red and orange watercolour paint into the wet area….allowing it to bleed.      Feel free to use any colour combination you like.

Note that the bottom part of the paper is still dry.

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In this frame, I use a clean wet brush to  gently pull down some of the paint from the horizon line, making sure to leave some dry white areas between the foreground and the horizon.

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I now add some of the same intense dark shown on the horizon line to the bottom of the image to give the image a sense of balance.   I have also indicated the boundaries of fields…leaving dry white areas.

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Given that the sky reflects directly onto the land, I brought the same colours from the sky into the foreground.   Note that there are still dry white areas showing…..

Also I have allowed the paint to settle and do its own thing which is one of the exciting elements of watercolour painting.    

Using a knife I scraped out some paint in the foreground.

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Floating free of time like the Magical Hummingbird

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A Bientôt

Playing and Doodling using old paintings

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I needed to play and doodle yesterday, and so I pulled out a piece of watercolour paper which I had already thrown some paint on.    Not sure what I originally intended, but that’s not important.

If you look closely you can see that I have sketched the profile of Claudia, with a blue water colour pencil.   I used a photograph of Claudia as my jumping off point.

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Anyone who has taken one of my workshops will know how important I consider the warming up process to be.    Like dancers, musicians and athletes, painters need to warm up at the beginning of the day.    Playful exercises using newspaper, wall paper lining or painting over old sketches is freeing. 

In this frame, it’s all about the negative space.applying colour into the area surrounding the profile, which immediately reveals the face.   Even though I am working over a colour ground, I have applied juicy watercolour next to the face, and then with a clean, wet brush, I have pulled the paint out.

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Remember when working from a photograph, it’s not about copying – rather using it as a jumping off point.

I decided to add some Indian Red water colour to the hair and into the negative space.   If asked why….my answer would be because the colour was on my palette and I felt like it:)

Given that I am working off a colour ground, I have applied some Winsor & Newton gouache, permanent white…Had I been working  on white paper….I would have left dry white paper for my highlights. 

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I have added some Cadmium Orange water colour which brings a vibrancy to the image.

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In the final frame I decided to use the Permanent White, along with some Naples Yellow gouache around the image to bring a sense of interesting light and movement.

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An artist who was recently visiting, talked about the problem of feeling that everything she did had to be a finished painting, even in her sketch book.       In our discussion she realised how this attitude prevented her from playing, doodling and freeing up.  

Happy Doodle Day….

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A Bientôt

 

 

Portrait (2) using three colours

Here is another portrait where I have used three colours.  Winsor & Newton – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, and Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours – Raw Umber Violet.

Once again I am using a photograph of Peter Deunov as my jumping off point.   

Even though the subject’s eyes are closed….I still begin my sketch with the eyes.

ImageNote that all the white in the image is dry, white paper, and again I am using the technique of wet brush no paint….which means that after applying paint to the shadow areas, I then pull the colour out using a clean wet brush. 

ImageObservation is of course key, however, I tend to see the world as a jigsaw puzzle….a kaleidoscope of shadow, light, and colour.  

In her book, Drawing on the Artist Within, Better Edwards, suggested an excellent exercise for those who believe that they can never draw or paint  a face.

Take a portrait – it can be a photograph or painting, and turn it upside down.     Remove the logic of what it is, and just copy the shapes you see.     You will be surprised.

ImageFollow the map of the face. 

ImageWhen tutoring portrait painting workshops, over the years I have seen people get hung up on a nose, regardless of the medium used. They tend to keep adjusting it, adding more colour, and ultimately ending up with a mess….when often all that’s needed is a shadow next to the nose……which points out the importance of always being aware of the whole subject,  not just one portion.   Remember everything is interconnected. 

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I am leaving white paper for the beard and hair allowing the viewer fill the gaps in.    Note how the yellow ochre wash to the left of the face, reveals  the highlight on the eyelid, nose and beard. 

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Final image.

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A Bientôt

Portrait in three colours

Since returning from Portugal I haven’t had much extra time to post demos and so here is the breakdown of a watercolour portrait using just three colours – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Raw Umber Violet.

I always, without exception, begin a portrait with the eyes…..the window to the soul.  

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At this early stage in the watercolour, I will know whether or  not I have captured my subject.    

 

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I don’t usually work from photographs….however, in this instance, I was so drawn to the face of Peter Deunov, (1864 – 1944) I decided to do so.    When working from a photograph, no matter what the subject – the key is to use the image as the jumping off point, and to then make the painting your own. 

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Peter Deunov had a lot of white hair and a beard, and so in this image, I will simply suggest the hair by leaving white paper, allowing the viewers imagination to fill in the gaps.     

It’s key in this image to leave the emphasis on the depth and intensity of his eyes. 

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Throughout this portrait, I have used simple techniques.    Applying colour in the shadow areas, and then with a wet brush and no paint, I have pulled out the colour.     This gives me soft edges and alleviates the age old issue of mud in a watercolour. 

The finished image….

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Wishing all my friends in the States and other countries a very Happy Mother’s Day this coming Sunday.    This is the one holiday that continues to confuse me.    In the UK we celebrate a month earlier!

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