Flowers Plus

Painting is beginning to fill my thoughts – though it is still having to fight the garden for top place.  My new friend sent me flowers as a thank you for introducing her to Hazel Soan, and one of Hazel’s demonstrations was about painting flowers.  I felt impelled to try painting them even though flowers is not one of my usual subjects.  And I have to say I rather pleased with the result so far.

It really does leap off the page, not just in the photograph,which can sometimes happen – a really enjoyable quiet hour.  Unfortunately, that was just before Easter when family activities and beautiful weather meant I had to stop there.  I want to finish it and took a photo to that end, but that quiet time painting from life has made me want to try it more often.  Of course, I am fearful of ruining it.

The old gate

My classes will not be opening till next September, though we are having three full day outdoor painting and sketching meetings in May and June.  At the same time, two other pieces of work unrelated to painting are at an end and …….. Hazel Soan has a new DVD and book on Watercolour which will need careful study.  She is so inspiring, and I have just introduced her to a new painter friend.  All these circumstances have arrived together just as I am beginning to see things I want to paint.  I hope and trust the block is lifting.

Here are two efforts which are the first results of the above, both overworked, and therefore under-thought, but I can see my painting brain awakening as I progressed from  one to two.    The most that can be said for the first one is that I had a go and enjoyed it.  The drawing of the gate is Wrong, no perspective and the flaming bush has grown in size and dominance.  I like the high light on the slender tree.  The drawing in Two is better, so there is a progression into the painting, the bush is bright, smaller and less shouty.    There is more interest in the tree trunk is the foreground, but I think  gate one is better than gate two.

Added Effects

This is the final week of the term in which my class have been re-visiting watercolour basics –  it’s always good to revise, especially when, like me, you’re dissatisfied  with current efforts.  So we were examining what wax resist, different sizes of salt granules, using a natural sponge, scratching with a craft knife, and using the other end of the brush, can do for a painting. In the past, I have resisted such assistance, as I have resisted mixed media, being an delusional purist (if you can’t do it with a brush, you need to improve your brushwork!).  But that’s very silly, since tightens the work, and gives a totally false sense of superiority, and cuts down the fun.

I chose a collection of pebbles as the practise piece, as they have interesting textures, and colours.

You can see the wax resist – it’s just a candle – on the tops of the stones, giving a speckled effect.  What is less clear in the sponge work on the left pebble.  It was also a chance to practise wet-in-wet to make the pebbles seem rounded.  Quite a low key end to the term, but I think we all gained from a look at basic skills.

Fruit – joined up painting

Earlier on we saw what painting all shadowed areas in Ultramarine Blue could do to simplify painting even a complex picture (Light and Shade again – March 7th 2019).  This week we looked at another way into a painting by unifying the objects using a pale wash of Raw Sienna.  We were using fruit, so Raw Sienna is a good choice.  So much fruit has a yellow based hue, and it goes happily under other yellows, reds and blues, sometimes enhancing, sometimes creating secondary colours.  Above all, it creates unity.

The Raw Sienna wash swept (or crawled, depending on confidence!) over the fruit excepting only the strong highlights .  Next we washed in the appropriate colours of the given fruit, stopping short of those highlights, so that the previous wash acted a transition between the two washes. Shadows help the illusion of the third dimension, and you are now ready to titivate, or not, as your mood takes you.  Simples!