The Artist’s Curse…..

Spent the morning experimenting…..actually just playing, with no particular aims, or thought…

Using the sample paper I got from St.Cuthbert’s Mill at the Patchings Art Festival – a mixture of Saunders Waterford and Bockingford – I put the pigment directly onto the paper before adding water, ink, and in some cases, granulation fluid…with somewhat mixed results…

…perhaps that was to be expected as I definitely wasn’t feeling it …..

Even tried a colour I don’t usually use – Perylene Red – in an effort to get the creative juices flowing….not sure it worked….

Decided to take a closer look at one of the pieces….

…and thought that if I turned it on it’s side….

…I could potentially see honesty seed heads and teasels….so I did the fatal thing, the artist’s curse….and fiddled…

….you would think I would know by now – what can I say, I’m a slow learner …oh well back to playing….oh sorry, I mean experimenting…


Experimenting & Loosening Up…blog update

As someone who hardly lifted a paint brush during my time at uni, and even prior to that, wasn’t exactly known for painting, I have recently been spending my time attempting to get to grips with the medium. Even though it has a reputation for being difficult, I have chosen to work in watercolours – glutton and punishment spring to mind! I haven’t had any formal lessons in watercolour – I’m very much ‘going with the flow’! I’m sure watercolour purists would be horrified, and I’m probably breaking every rule in the book – but you know what they say about rules….

Using this medium, along with lots of water, has also provided me with an opportunity to ‘loosen up’ Sometimes I have a tendency to work ‘very tightly’, as in an earlier piece I did called ‘Bowed But Not Broken’ –

Bowed But Not BrokenI want my paintings to be more expressive, more about the paint and the marks – abstracted in a way, although still with a nod to the landscapes I love.

Initially I experimented in my sketchbook – the good old Seawhite!

imageimageimageimageI used Winsor & Newton Professional watercolours along with some Daniel Smith colours – both very good, worth paying that bit extra for! Eventually I could put it off no longer – I had to experiment on ‘proper’ paper! Although the saying is that a good workman should never blame his tools, I think this is definitely a case of ‘the better the paper, the better the result’! I therefore treated myself to a selection of watercolour papers from Jackson’s Art Supplies – highly recommended for their easy to use website and prompt service!

It’s been really interesting learning what the various papers can take! First off I tried Fabriano Artistico Extra White HOT press 140lb. Lovely smooth paper, the paint, along with a fair bit of water moved beautifully over the surface. Here, I should admit to not stretching the paper beforehand…I know, I know – rules… As well as using paint brushes, and here I’m admitting to a bit of hero-worshipping – I use Jean Haines Watercolour brushes (again, worth every penny!) I also use sticks, wooden coffee stirrers & old/unwanted plastic store cards. On this paper I was able to swirl and push the paint around very easily without damaging the surface.

imageimageAlthough the paper withstood quite a lot of water, it did buckle a little – perhaps a reminder to stretch it prior to use. However, I see they do the same paper in 300lb so I might order some of that next!

Next I tried the Bockingford NOT 250lb paper – an altogether different surface! This paper withstood a LOT of water but I found I couldn’t use the plastic card to move the paint around so much as I damaged the slightly rougher texture of the surface. Instead I used my brush along with a wooden stirrer (used very lightly) as well as tilting and turning the paper to create runs.

imageimageimageI was impressed with both papers and would be hard pressed to choose a favourite! Not so my choice of colours, I seem to have a thing for Payne’s Grey, Indigo, Raw Umber and Yellow Ochre – reminding me as they do of the North Norfolk coast in winter, and the autumnal fenland fields of my childhood.

I have yet to try the Arches Aquarelle 400lb sheet or the Two Rivers 300lb – mainly due to my lack of confidence in my ability and the cost… When I do pluck up the courage I will let you know how I get on!


Trials and….blog update

Been busy experimenting and trying out various papers in the hope of producing some work that I am happy with – and will consequently submit to the Surface Gallery in Nottingham for their Postcard Exhibition in January.

I found the 150gm white cartridge paper great if I wanted to use pieces of card to move the watercolour pigment around –

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsI like khadi paper as it can take quite a lot of water, pigments etc but in this instance it didn’t produce the effect I was after –

Carolyn J Roberts


Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsI then tried Bockingford 10NOT (535gsm) paper produced by St. Cuthbert’s Mill, and with my trusty Jean Haines watercolour brushes came up with these washes –

Carolyn J Roberts

Below are the ones I am most happy with so will probably be submitting these – Carolyn J RobertsWhat do you think?

I have also been practising using my iPad for drawing using Procreate with the following mixed results –

Carolyn J Roberts

Carolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsCarolyn J RobertsI am still getting to grips with all the effects as you can probably tell!

Patchings Arts Festival…blog update

Yesterday saw Peter and I visit the Patchings Art Festival at the Patchings Art Centre, Calverton, Nottinghamshire. Bathed in sunshine, under azure blue skies, the art on show here is of a very different nature to that I studied at Loughborough University. Indeed, and I’m probably going to be a little controversial here, I’m sure some art critics would categorise the art here as being that of the Sunday afternoon hobby painter kind. I, however, have a foot in both camps! Surely anything that stimulates you to take an interest in art, at whatever level, that inspires you to have a go, has got to be a good thing? Most of us began our artistic journey by drawing and painting what we saw around us – we didn’t start out producing sculptures, video work, paintings that have more to do with the materials than the subject, even, dare I say it, audio-visual installations! For some people, the work on show here is what pleases them, for others, it inspires them to go further on their artistic journey – suffice to say, if we all liked the same things, the world would be a very boring place! And if I could paint half as well as some of the talented artists here I would be very happy indeed! Anyway, ‘Debate of the Day’ over with (for now I’m sure!), onto the Festival!

Patchings FestivalThe glorious weather contributed to a great day, strolling around the marquees, eyeing up all the art materials… Got what I considered a bargain from the Two Rivers Paper Mill and met the lovely guys who make the paper – so enthusiastic, brilliant! Bought a squirrel mop head brush from Rosemary & Co that I can’t wait to try – (unfortunately sable was out of my price range!) and some Bockingford watercolour paper from Charlie Downs at the Yew Tree Studios! Also received some free samples of Bockingford paper when we went to the St. Cuthberts Mill Marquee to see a demonstration by Jean Haines – a very talented watercolour artist who paints in a wonderful loose way and very generously shared lots of her tips!

Although we had to pay a nominal fee to see Jean Haines, many of the other artists were doing free demos at their stands and were again, very generous in answering questions and giving tips! It was great to see the work in progress – not sure I would have the nerve! Andrew Geeson, another watercolour artist who paints in a very loose manner, gave a very amusing and informative demo, providing a great insight into how and why he works in this way!

Patchings FestivalPatchings Festival






The extremely warm weather made the marquees very hot at times – no doubt one of the reasons the Pimms stand was doing a roaring trade!! We had taken our own picnic (eaten sitting on the grass in the sunshine!) which was just as well because when we visited the refreshment tent later for a cup of tea, the chiller cabinets were empty – sold out of sandwiches and cold drinks! However, the art, artists, demos and the choir all made for a great atmosphere and a very enjoyable day!

Next week I am visiting the Loughborough University Degree Finals Show which will be very different but just as interesting!