Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Hanging Loose

This year I have tried hard to get more movement into all of my art. I quite freqently change mediums but I want to inject more vibrance into my subjects. Whilst on holiday I got the chance to spend a few hours with Mary Dillon. Mary paints very beautiful botanical work but, also very loose and vibrant watercolours. Some examples of her work are shown here Mary is also a very lively person and I knew that the opportunity would also be fun! The first thing I noticed is that Mary is much more disciplined than I am. I confess to mixing my watercolours very haphazardly and cleaning my brush in between colours is not something I do naturally ;) The first thing we did was to create a colour chart....given that I have never done this in my life!

Strangely enough I have referred to it frequently in subsequent paintings! Mary uses a lot of splatter and salt which I love. She also builds up her work in layers. This is not unfamilar to me in coloured pencils. Anyone that has ever had a go at fruits will know that yellow is often the base colour. It provides the vibrance and light and this painting technique is similar. We used very heavy paper and in three hours this was how far I got with some pomegranites picked off a tree...I know you cannot really pick pomegranites here unfortunately!

I was going to finish it when I got home but, there were some things I knew I would do differently. For a start, I had been quite tentative with colour and I also found that my pencil guidelines had got lost along the way and I hadn't accounted for leaves in the foreground. So I ordered myself some 600gsm paper and decided to practice.

I was happier with this version ...at the end anyway. I confess that at times, I have been frustrated at my efforts especially at some stages and was so tempted to look more closely at Mary's work! But, I resisted that, the technique can be taught but I don't want my work to be a (very poor) imitation of Mary's. So, for the next one I set up my own little still life and went berry picking. I love Autumn fruits so it was a natural one to have a go at right now.

Something that I did want to do was to ensure that I kept my highlights better. So I used masking fluid. I have to say that masking fluid on 600gsm paper is tricky. It works well for small highlights on berries i.e dots here and there but anything bigger than that took a lot of work afterwards to correct. Needless to say I have been more cautious with it's use since. Following this one, I though it was time to move onto to move familiar subjects and I attempted to paint a blue tit. I wanted a sort of snowy background and chose indigo blue as the main BG colour. Oh, dear...what a disaster that was! On this occasion, I was far too heavy handed. I tried afterwards to scrub it off but learned that the pigment in indigo blue is much like paynes grey and it doesn't come off no matter how much water you use. I would show it but, in a fit of pique, I threw that one in the bin!

The next effort was some flowers that I had taken photo's of in the summer. This time I made better use of "a little" masking fluid and made sure to leave some highlights. I also found that Inktense water colour pencils really provide a little vibrance and a touch of definition and I liked them whilst the paper was still a little damp especially. I also found that for tiny little highlights, you can gently scrape with a knife...once it is dry.

For some reason after this one, I was disheartened. I didn't really know where I was going with this. Thankfully I watched a video on youtube about painting ponsietta's loosely. On here Debbi Wilson was suggesting that you paint 30 (paintings) at a time, keep going, keep experimenting......so although I was about to give up a while, I took her words to heart. Not ponsietta's though... this time I moved on to holly. However, I decided at the current rate of use that I may have to work a bit smaller. My paper supply is dwindling (doesn't help when you chuck them in the bin), so I halfed a quarter sheet.

I normally like working quite large but, I did find it easier worker a little smaller. Drying time was easier to guage and my flow went a little better.....meanwhile, I have since been back working on that little bird. Iteration number two.....:p.

Thanks to both Mary for her company, time and patience and also Yvonne Ayoub for her generosity once again (giving up her studio and valuable painting time).


sue said...

Colour charts ... colour wheels... I know they are sensible and useful and all that but I'm too much of a 'Gung Ho' person and usually dive straight in (and then struggle to rectify my mistakes)!!

I do like your pomegranite and berry paintings. Worth persevering definitely

CherryPie said...

They are all very nice but I especially like the one of the berries.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

i've done so many colour wheels these last 3 years for college, they can be helpful but are sometimes a pain to do. I wish more students would do them tho, knowing the opposite of colours comes in handy

love the vibrant colour with all of these, and never throw things out! even if it looks horrible you can see where you messed up and try not to do it again

kaslkaos said...

Love the berries, and flower, and the bird. Love them. You keep progressing, it's always exciting to see.

forgetmenot said...

Thirty paintings at a time!!! That would certainly keep one busy. I love how all of your paintings turned out--very nice indeed. Mickie :)