Colourful cow on canvas

If you fancy seeing how I painted this cow with watercolour on canvas, I’ve done a short film: https://youtu.be/X25NZoXGXGQ

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New Facebook group

A place to share ideas, get tips, show your work, get feedback… that’s the idea of the new Facebook group I’ve set up – Watercolour on Canvas. So if you fancy joining in the conversation please come on over to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/463275440905151/.

It’s meant to be a friendly and supportive group, so hope to see you there.

Posted in Art, canvas, how to, step by step, Techniques, Uncategorized, Watercolour | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paint magazine from the SAA

Have you ever thought of joining the SAA? It used to be the Society of All Artists – encouraging people to paint and explore. They publish a magazine six times a year, have a very good online shop and do workshops too. If you ever do exhibitions, their higher levels of membership include public liability insurance – most handy if an easel falls on someone!

I have just been writing an article for their November magzine – all about ink and watercolour on canvas. Quite pleased with the demo – here’s a preview:

Before:Fox4web

After:fox6web

If you fancy finding out more, do look at their website www.saa.co.uk

Posted in animal portraits, Art, canvas, how to, step by step, Techniques, Uncategorized, Watercolour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New Book!

After months of waiting, it is published! Painting Watercolours on Canvas is live. Now available online, direct from the publisher, or in all good book shops….Painting Watercolours on Canvas …..or even to download onto your Kindle.

It all started back in March 2018, when the I approached the lovely folk at Crowood Press with an idea. The idea became a chapter synopsis, which in turn became 30,000 words of text and 150 photos. The copy got edited, then page set in early winter, followed by a professional proof (you can never spot your own typos). Next indexing and a cover design, before going off for printing in India. A slow journey back on a container ship and voila! Published in the UK. The US has to wait just a little longer.

You can buy direct from Crowood too: http://www.crowood.com/details.asp?isbn=9781785005893&t=Painting-Watercolours-on-Canvas

It’s practical, it’s enthusiastic, it’s designed to get you going! I would love to know what you think. If you like it please try to leave a review on one of the big sites. If you don’t like it, please let me know (be gentle, but honest!).

Posted in Art, book, how to, step by step, Techniques, Uncategorized, Watercolour, workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wake up and smell the coffee!

Painting a monochrome is such a good thing to do if you haven’t painted for a while. So I often start a new term with one, but let’s be honest, it can be a little boring. So I had a bit of a brain wave. We experimented painting with tea and coffee …and no one spotted I was making them do a Monochrome.

This was my demo piece:

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The issue we quickly found is it is hard to get a really dark tones. Even espresso was pretty weak. Adding just one teaspoon of water to one teaspoon of instant coffee, gave a sticky liquid which took ages to dry. It also dried with a sheen. So layering was the way to go. Thinner layers dry with an interesting hard dark edge. Thanks to Barbara, we discovered that roibos tea produces a beautiful warm colour and that seven layers is the limit.

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Some people added ink, which worked well, others used a spot of mint tea to add green. What I noticed is that people painted in a looser and freer way than usual. I think because it wasn’t ‘real’ paint, and it was a bit oddly behaved, people were a bit more relaxed. I think their painting benefited- what do you think? The room smelt lovely!

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Pen and wash – a quick way to loosen up

If you are struggling to loosen up your work (and there is nothing wrong with tight work), try pen and wash. The pen or ink gives you the control you crave and acts as a scaffolding to hang loose watercolour washes upon.

You can see a time lapse here: https://youtu.be/bEPJgnV4Tw8

 

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Any umbrellas?

Today’s class topic was ‘umbrellas’, so I am feeling a little guilty that I may have caused the torrential rain… oh well, I did say it could be a cocktail umbrella, a parasol or a rainy one.

As a reminder, I showed a little demo and it is always worth reiterating the process from subject to end point.

Starting with your reference, whether life or photo, just ask yourself ‘why do I want to paint this?’ Identifying what you want to communicate helps you eliminate any extras, sort out your composition, select colours to reinforce emotion, and helps you know when you are finished.

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This street market caught my eye (from Pixabay). I wanted it to be brighter sunlight and to have the feeling it was sketched from life, not from a photo.

Next, do a thumbnail sketch. Not a thing of beauty, but one that helps you see big shapes, areas of light and dark and any tricky spots. I played around with the placement of the people, got to grips with the awning between the two umbrellas and identified where I wanted to mask a few highlights. It’s far better to work this out on rough paper, and not your watercolour paper.

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The final step is to paint. Having masked a few of the supports and some of the branches of stuff on the left, I spattered a little into the nearest flower areas. Once dry, I laid in a yellow wash over and around the brollies, leaving the sunlit areas white, I moved to a darker grey blue was behind the seller and green with lots of white gaps at the front. Using richer paint I then worked on the red umbrella, the figures and flowers, finally adding in dark areas after the masking was removed. I reminded myself that I wanted it to look fresh and lively, so stopped too soon, rather than too late.

79F43814-A1CB-4377-ACDD-4B210CB1DF51I reckon the hard work is done up front with watercolour, don’t you?

 

 

 

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