Monday 11 April 2016

Warminster Art Society Painting workshop

What a great day we all had on Saturday, and what a fun group this is!
I am thrilled to tell you that it was such a success that they have booked me for next year already! Thank you!

The workshop was using acrylics, and although some people had not had much experience using them, they all came prepared with their canvasses, paper and so much enthusiasm that we were bound to succeed. This group also enjoy the odd slice of cake during the day which seemed to keep their energy levels up because they worked hard and concentrated all day.

Our theme was painting children paddling and this was my demonstration after the first stage of  basic 'blocking in'
You can see examples of 2 of my finished paintings using these techniques, so its useful to see the sort of result we aim to achieve on the day as well as a more 'worked' painting. I usually take the minimum of equipment and paint in a similar way to the way I paint 'plein air' my aim is to avoid all details and concentrate on purely the important elements of the subject using simple brush strokes to achieve this.

Once this stage is reached its a question of adding more colour but maintaining the tonal values. 

This is the stage my painting reached once I add simple brush strokes without too much detail.

This is my final painting once I added a bit more. I could keep working on it and build it up so that it was pretty detailed, but I think that would make it looked overworked and it would loose its impact. 

I had a lovely day with you all in Warminster and I hope you were inspired to use these techniques in the future. Well done everyone.

Monday 4 April 2016

Doodling with watercolour

Experimenting and 'doodling' with paint is a great way of discovering ways to develop your skills using watercolour. Once you decide that the painting you are about to do is not going to be a 'painting' as such, but a discovery, play time if you like, then the pressure is off and you can just enjoy pushing your own boundaries.
This is the kind of thing it can lead onto and the sort of direction which you might find fun.

Summer Iris
Before embarking on something this complex, this is a great little example of something you might like to try.

First of all, decide on perhaps a flower you like, and the colours you want to play with. Limit the size your going to work on - say A4 If you have a flower in front of you, or failing that, a photo, all the better, but avoid 'copying' it.
Work quickly so that the entire study remains wet in places, allowing the paint to escape into adjoining sections. Don't worry if it looks a bit wonky, or isn't exactly what you intended, and don't scrap it!
For this I used my Pyramid brush, but you an use any brush you have to experiment with.

Step 1
OK, now is the time to add another layer, darken areas, wash on a background colour allowing the colours to merge and perhaps flick paint onto the painting or speckle it on. Have a bit of fun and try and get some texture and a bit more depth to it.
I like to use the Golden Leaf brush to stipple the surface inviting colour to move into it. Its important that you use a big brush, that opened out so that the speckled sections are not too small. If you poke about with a small brush you can only work in a very small area so the rest of it is all drying as you are concentrating on your tiny bit. Try and look at the whole study, not just the tiny bit you are working on.

Step 2
So now we are at the stage that its starting to look interesting. Its time to add another colour and move things up a gear. If you are using different colours, always try a small sample of the colour you plan to use and place it near a section in your painting that has the most colour variation in it.
You can now see if this is likely to work or not. Never paint a random colour onto your work and 'hope' it will look good. Its fine if you know its going to work, but if in any doubt, do try this.

Stencils and masks can be loads of fun. They can add depth and interest as well as change the focus within your painting.
If there is an area your a bit disappointed in, you can camouflage it using textures either stippled on top, or stencilled. You may want to create more interest in an area or soften a section.
If you are using stencils or make, the number one tip I can give you is to remember that 'water is the enemy of the stencil' your paint needs to be used fairly dry, sponge or stipple it on.

Step 3
Backgrounds seem to unnerve people so adding something really dramatic can be rather fun if not perhaps a little daunting. If you want to play safe, use the same colours as you have used within the painting already, or perhaps try to add something totally different especially if you plan to add more layers on top.

Step 4

If you fancy doing a bit more of this kind of thing, there is some stencil work in my Water soluble Media book and on the DVD there is a nice piece of film footage of my completing some sunflowers using stencils as a bonus section at the end of the DVD. You can watch the entire creative process to music. 
Anyway, I hope today's post inspires you to get your paints out and do some watercolour doodling of your own.