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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