Paper, Paper Everywhere….

Whenever I go to an art shop or browse an on-line art catalogue I am always overwhelmed by the selection of paper on offer…paper for all mediums and preferences..

For those of you kind enough to stop by and read my blog, you will know that I have a rather parsimonious attitude to the paper I practice on…using only old sketchbook sheets…and even these vary in weight…

…but today I decided to go mad, call it Friday Frivolity if you will…

….the above are initial watercolour washes… the bottom right is on sketchbook paper whilst the other two are on 300lb Fabriano Artistico HP paper – I know, whatever was I thinking….

It’s fairly obvious how the sketchbook paper buckles under the amount of water I use – and I am lazy and can’t be bothered to stretch it – but the Fabriano paper is lovely. It withstands lots of water and a lot of rough treatment; I used a brush along with a roller, old credit card and stick to move the pigment around… without damaging the surface.

I continued to add washes….and with the help of Adobe Photoshop Express for virtual cropping and framing…these are the results…

Sticking with my favourite colours of Daniel Smith Rich Gold, Indigo, Paynes Grey and Quinacridone Gold…..I based these on Norfolk reed beds… ??

It was actually lovely to have experimental pieces that might be worth framing and not be worried that the paper has buckled…there’s a lesson in there somewhere…

Only problem now is that I would like more of the Fabriano paper…doesn’t bode well for my piggy bank when I head off to the Patchings Art Festival next week….



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!