Try, Try & Try Again….

Having almost run out of white acrylic paint – obviously calls for a shopping trip – I have returned to the watercolour and inks… I love working with these; the way they flow and pool, the way they interact and the ‘happy accidents’ that arise really get my creative juices flowing…

I am slightly obsessed with indigo and the sepia FW Acrylic Ink and in my favourite square Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook I feel free to relax and let go, creating loose spontaneous work…

…then I try to do the same on ‘proper’ paper, you know, heavyweight watercolour paper……and everything goes out of the window…my arm feels constrained and all that spontaneity is gone….. It doesn’t seem to matter how often I tell myself it’s just a piece of paper there is a voice in my head screaming ‘yes, but it costs £6, £7, £8/sheet or whatever…’ so immediately there is the pressure to create something worthwhile….and the creative juices dry up….. I know I am not alone in feeling like this and I know it’s all in my head…. (just to say I am trying really hard not to add a ‘but’ here…)

However, having been accepted to take part in this September’s Melbourne Festival, the need to produce work has spurred me to keep on trying…practice makes perfect as the saying goes…. so another day, a different paper….

This time I am using Cass Art mixed media paper…

… I know the paper is not as expensive as single sheets of say Saunders Waterford or Arches watercolour paper, but it is still a decent quality and weight…so I continued…but I couldn’t understand why the colours weren’t matching my sketchbook work…. until I realised that although I was using Indigo, the sketchbook studies were done using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour whilst I was working with the Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour on the paper…. same name but different…

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the vibrant Daniel Smith watercolours…but in this instance I prefer the Winsor & Newton shade, especially the way it reacts with the sepia ink… so change of pigment and on I go….trying…

 

…here’s a Daniel Smith Indigo study…

…and here is a Winsor & Newton Indigo initial wash…which I like as it is…

….I will keep on trying…and eventually I will produce some pieces I am happy enough to mount and frame…..meanwhile…..I will add the rest to my ever-growing ‘reject’ pile or should that be ‘learning’ pile….

 

 

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Further Friday Fun….

I know….my posts are like buses… you wait ages for one and then two arrive almost together…

Anyhow,  remembering that Friday is supposed to be my ‘play day’…although I actually started dabbling with these yesterday… I have continued experimenting…

Working in mixed media I am looking at ways of capturing the ethereal quality of sky and water, interspersed with bird flight/song… apologies for sounding pretentious…

I began in my trusty square sketchbook from Seawhite of Brighton using Daniel Smith Indigo watercolour and sepia FWAcrylic ink applied over white oil pastel…

Going darker…

Today I have been working on Cass Art Mixed Media paper 250gsm…

…tearing it up to make the similar portrait style…

I do work with quite a lot of water and I found the paper started to curl which made it a bit awkward when applying the ink…(I am lazy and don’t stretch, hence I like 250/300lb paper)…however, I like the high white, slightly rough textured surfaced and the curling did result in some interesting effects…and they are drying flat.  Not sure where these are going but will continue to experiment!!

What is your preferred surface/paper…?

Fun Fridays…..

A couple of interesting art related meetings have happened over the last week…leading to some things being updated, planned….slightly more confident that my aspirations for this year will come to fruition… more of which in a later post….

As part of my new found insight into the creative process I have decided to assign Fridays as fun days….days that inspire, whether that be a walk, visit to a gallery or exhibition…or just a day where I give myself permission to ‘play’ without being hard on myself….

Today has been a ‘studio’ play day… I know I want my next body of work to be based around the marker buoys and patterns on the mudflats of the Menai Straits… but I have been getting a bit ‘hung up’…cursing because I couldn’t reproduce the freedom and expression of my sketchbook work onto paper…so, today, no pressure, just playing in said sketchbook or on random scraps of paper…

….using whatever medium comes to hand…ink, watercolour pencil…

…playing with Photoshop…

…interesting seeing the different effects of the various paper…

It’s been fun..and interesting, providing an even more abstract idea for work….roll on the next Fun Friday…

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…

Magic in the Water…

Despite living in central England I love the water….I really empathise with this quote by Loren Eiseley – ‘If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.’ (Although, I hasten to add, I also find magic in the mountains….) Whether it’s the sea, a lake, a river, stream, puddle, rivulet or ripple, there is something about water that draws me to it….

Just over 100yards from where I live is the River Soar and is a favourite place of mine to wander along, to sit awhile….

…to ponder and wonder….to such an extent that I am now reading Tristan Gooley’s book, ‘How To Read Water; Clues and Patterns from Puddles to the Sea’..

Along with the physical properties of water, Gooley intertwines history, anthropology and his own experiences…am finding it fascinating…..

Water also plays a large part in my attempts at art….and I have spent the morning playing with my favourite Daniel Smith watercolours, lots of water, sepia ink and granulation fluid – something I had forgotten I had until Ann Blockley used it in her demo at Patchings Art Festival

I used Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT paper produced by St. Cuthbert’s Mill and Daniel Smith watercolours – Perylene Green, Lunar Blue, Blue Apatite Genuine, Moonglow and my favourite, Rich Gold Green…along with granulation fluid and a black watercolour pencil…and water!

The following three are my favourites – judiciously cropped and framed using Photoshop…

Not sure where this experimentation will lead to, if anywhere, but it’s fun…and, being a person who puts such pressure on myself to produce masterpieces every time I pick up a brush…having fun and enjoying my art is something I should concentrate on….the magic will come, hopefully!!

Watching Paint Dry……

One of those mornings where you are waiting for the telephone engineer….you know the sort…’they will be with you some time between 8.00am and 1.00pm’…. I find it hard to settle when I know that, at some point, I am going to be interrupted …so I decided to make myself some watercolour swatches a la artist Ken Hurd’s tip…a pick up/put down sort of task…

I have seen the square colour charts before but the idea of making swatches of the colours seemed a much easier way to choose colours and see which ones harmonised better…so obvious, makes me wonder why I didn’t think of it earlier…

I  used St.Cuthbert’s Mill  (I just can’t seem to get this link to work)Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT watercolour paper for the swatches, writing the make and shade on the back….

It’s also a useful way of making me see what watercolours I really have….if you are anything like me, you have some favourite shades that you use all the time, and then there the other tubes you bought on a whim and never seem to use for one reason or another…I might actually get round to using some of them now…..

….and guess what, the telephone engineer has just called to say he is running late, and he won’t be with me until later this afternoon……might just go and watch some more paint dry……

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….