Manny’s Watercolour Adventure
Haven't touched the watercolour gear because I'm helping with the clean up and helping re-build our Art Shed store, following the floods.
Every time I walk past my set up at home, I ache to get back to it.
Soon... real soon.
While I was in New Zealand, I tried my first plein air watercolour. I quickly realized my set up was inadequate. I had assorted gear in four different bags and it took what seemed like half an hour to set up!
Then, people seemed to come out of the woodwork to gawk at my feeble attempts. Of course it was impossible but I learned my lessons. I need ONE BAG which will fit all the gear. I need a wire hook to suspend from my easel for my water pot. I need a platform on my easel on which to rest my sponge and other bits. Most of all, I need a T shirt with " I can't paint and talk at the same time" or " I don't really care if your aunt Edna used to paint watercolours".
Actually, the spectators were all really lovely and no one had an aunt named Edna.
Hello again everyone.
We're getting ready to travel and I'm happy to be taking watercolours with me. They are light and compact. Being waterbased means no dramas at the airports (I hope). I'm going to take a couple of watercolour pads with me, no larger than A4 since we tend to zip around to see as many places as possible.
Another advantage is that my entire watercolour painting set up takes up no more than about two square meters in my home. It occupies one half of my computer desk. Here's a pic.
With this arrangement, my "studio" is right in the heart of my living space so there's less chance of procrastination. Furthermore, I have the luxury of working from computer images. So far, there are only a few tiny spatters of paint on my screen.
Despite the low cost of the Mont Marte field easel you can see it works a treat. It's tiltable top is ideal for adjusting the angle of my paper quickly. Having adjusted the tightness of the single lever, I just angle it up or down without having to fiddle with knobs. The lower knob is ideal for hanging either my adhesive tape or rags upon. You can see I'm using two palettes. I'm trying out the airtight plastic variety against the metal one on the left. More on these when I've done some mileage with them.
I'm also getting a feel for some of the different brushes. I really think the Mont Marte Hake is every bit as good as the dearer ones from other brands. Hakes seem to be ideal for large areas of washes. They also facilitate beautiful sweeps of "dry brush" technique ( where only the peaks of the paper surface pick up pigment). I'm using a variety of squirrel, sable and synthetics. I'll reserve my comments until I'm more experienced with them.
So much to report.
Happy New Year. Holidays are great. Spent several hours painting watercolours yesterday and today.
Since skies are so important I thought I'd start with them. I tried a graduated wash (darker at the top and lighter towards the horizon).
Then I tried a vareigated wash (one with different colours.... blue at top and warm yellow at the bottom). Later I tried putting in some clouds and their darker underbellies.
This sky was half successful with just a slight gradation of the warm towards the horizon, then some purple based on the sky colour dropped in.
The next sky is too busy and the cloud shadows are wrong. I will have to try different amounts of water in the brush. It seems this is the one big issue on which the medium depends.
I realize that clouds lifted out by using a tissue, can leave a hard edge, depending on how wet the paper was to start with.
Love the texture of Canson's Arches "rough" paper. Learned that the squirrel copper wire brushes hold alot of water.
I will watch Ron Ranson's video on painting skies and keep practicing different skies. Meg and I are off to N.Z. for a spell... should get lots of pics for inspiration.
My New Year resolution is to improve my watercolour technique.
I’m going to make my progress public (to share my journey and to keep myself from giving up)
I love the glow of watercolour paintings. Previously, my attempts have failed. I believe it’s the most difficult medium to master…but here goes!
I resolve to improve my watercolour painting. Here’s my plan:
1. Do at least a few small watercolours every week.
2. Study books and DVD’s on the subject and attend demos.
3. Share my experience, tips and hints in a blog on our website and post pics of my progress (or otherwise).
Materials (my Christmas presents to myself):
Squirrel “copper wash” brushes
Several other brushes to to trial
Professional watercolour paints from Art Spectrum, Winsor and Newton and the Schmincke range in our store.
Various watercolour paper types
Palettes, sponges, a brush holder.
Collapsible water containers.
Portable tripod easel with tilt top
Some inspiration and tuition:
Alvaro Castagnet and Joseph Zbukvic’s DVD’s on watercolour painting.
Below is one of my previous attempts. This is supposed to be a brooding sky. The unfinished land mass is in pencil at the bottom.
I have almost no watercolour experience. Note the cauliflowers and balloons and runs etc.
At lease I can't get much worse!