What follows here is a warts-n-all look at some more of the paintings I did in January, my first month of watercolour painting – indeed, my first month of having progressed beyond the drawing of stick figures. I’m not going to write much here – I’ll comment on each of the paintings, instead. Feel free to do the same in the comments section at the end of the post.
This is a little (7.5 x 7.5 cm) gift card I painted. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. In fact, I’ve had trouble giving it away. It only took about 5 minutes to do.
This A5 piece took me a couple of evenings. I made a very fine pencil line across the page to mark the top of the brick wall, but other than that, it’s all free hand.
Obviously there’s room for improvement. The cat’s paws are too transparent, and the cat is very long in proportion to its head, which is poorly defined. Also, although I love the little conifer to the left of the bird bath, I do think it’s a bit prominent, being a solid area of colour. I now know how to tone it down – wet it and lift some of the pigment off it while it’s wet. I could also put some stippling over it, to give it a bit of texture. But I want to leave it how it is, as a record of what I knew at the time.
What I love most about this piece is the irises behind the bird bath. I just thought them up at the last minute, as the area looked a bit bare. Composition is a skill I’m working on, along with learning how the paints, brushes and papers behave.
What inspired me to paint this piece was the idea of representing hollyhocks and foxgloves with just a few blobs of colour. That’s where I started, and I was thrilled with how it worked out.
This is the most structured piece I’ve done so far. The brick wall sees to that.
Leftover paint garden
This is a postcard-sized piece on which I literally used up some leftover paint I’d mixed up for another piece. This one was inspired by an idea in a book I bought a few weeks back called Ready to Paint in 30 Minutes: Landscapes in Watercolour, by Dave Woolass. I used the little sea sponge that came with my paint set to soak up the leftover paint and make the pink and (almost invisible) lemon flower bushes, and a brush to do the trees, sky and path. I wasn’t going to put this one here, but my record of progress wouldn’t be complete without it. This is another one that only took a few minutes, maybe 10 in total.
Landscape with salt
This one is copied from the Dave Woolass book mentioned above. That’s the idea of the book – to copy the exercises to practice the techniques. This one involved sprinkling salt over the foreground while the paint was still wet, and letting it dry. The result is the white shapes you can see on the blue foreground. Quite a pleasing effect if used sparingly.
I think I probably needed to put something of interest up in the sky to the left of the tree. It looks a bit spare, to me. But I wanted to stick with the exercise on this occasion, and I also wanted to move onto a new painting.
This one is really rough and I will do a neater version of it very soon because I love the colours. This was inspired by a book I bought last week, 30 Minute Artist: Painting Flowers in Watercolour, by Fiona Peart.
I used a technique called double loading the brush, which is described in the book. That’s where you load the brush with one colour, in this case, cadmium yellow, and then load just the tip with another colour, in this case, vermillion. You then draw the brush across the page and the colours mix both in the brush and on the paper. It’s quite magical, and I’m looking forward to doing more of it. I think I went a bit heavy on the vermillion, as I was hoping for a bit more yellow in the flowers.
The white daisies are done with a technique called negative painting, where you use the background colour to define the shapes. I have to admit that the whole background, including the daisies, was an afterthought. I was mainly focused on getting my two-toned flowers down, but I really love how the blue completes this painting, rough and all as the background is.
This one got a bit out of control. It was looking good until I started over-working it – a trap for new artists, so I hear.
I used a bit of felt pen for the stamens in this one. Don’t ask me why there’s a pink cloud above the poppy. It’s regrettable, that and the too-blue green with which I’ve gone over those two buds in the foreground. They were looking so good. You know what it was – I didn’t wait till it was dry before assessing what else it needed. Had I waited, I probably would have left well-enough alone and been super-pleased with the result.
My curiosity about what might have been just got the better of me so I Photoshopped it. See what you think:
This is the last piece I have to show you for now. I’ll do some more painting this weekend – can’t wait. This one was inspired by Shayda Campbell’s video, Watercolor Florals Episode Two: Monochrome Motif.
Thanks for reading to the end. As with my previous post, I hope something in here has inspired you to have a go yourself at some creative pursuit you’ve been wanting to try.