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!



Pleased to announce…blog update

I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in the ‘Inspired by Nature’ exhibition at Blue Owl Art, Grantham, Lincolnshire. Running from 30 April – 31 August, the exhibition is for work that has been, like it says in the title, inspired by nature!

Fragile Lands II will be exhibiting a new body of work, which I have called ‘Fragile Lands’: it consists of eight pieces inspired by my love and affinity for the landscape – The Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors, the North Norfolk coast and beyond….

Fragile Lands IIGrowing up in rural Lincolnshire I came to love and respect the landscape in all its many guises, whatever the season.  As a child, time seemed to stretch on forever, and although the countryside altered with the farming calendar, the bones of the landscape appeared infinite. Fast forward to the present and we are aware, more than ever, of the earth’s fragility. The mixed media work I will be exhibiting looks to capture this juxtaposition of permanence and vulnerability: the contour lines of the landscape contrasting with the delicacy of the tissue paper and soft ink and watercolour washes.

Fragile Lands IIIThe work is intended to be impressionistic, abstract even, rather than representational: it is my response to the landscapes I love and the issues it faces.

Fragile Lands IVFragile Lands VI am thrilled to be exhibiting at Blue Owl Art again – it’s a great gallery, has a great selection of contemporary craftwork as well, along with an on-site cafe serving delicious food – what more could you want?!

Fragile Lands VIThe Preview Night is 30 April from 7 – 9pm – do pop along if you can, would be great to see you there!!

Fragile Lands VIIFragile Lands VIII