Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Watercolour - A Snow Scene

In my last post, I discussed why I did not think much of a recent watercolour. I was intending to repeat it (or at least complete it) with those comments in mind.

I was at my art group last night and saw a painting in a magazine which really caught my eye, thus inspired I decided to try and capture the scene in my own style. Here it is:-

The drawing is a little sloppy but I am not too bothered about that at this stage. I am simply trying to get a decent painting. So am I happy with this? Well no. I believe that one of the issues is that this is a far higher key painting than the one I used as a reference. To investigate this, as I had packed my paints and brushes away, I tried to improve it in photoshop. I played with lightness and contrast and with saturation, the result was:-

I do think that this is much better, although I had to back off a little on the contrast as the bottom right corner was beginning to get far to dark and the differences in the colours was getting lost.

It is surprising how such a minor change can make such a difference to the end product. Of course, I know the importance of tone in a painting but like all amateur artists (well many at any rate) I often forget their importance as I try to get down the colours I want.

With pastels, I would just go over with another shade or tint of pastel, however it is not so easy with watercolour. But these practice sketches are bringing home how important the basics really are. I hope the lessons are sinking in. The next few weeks will tell, I would love to hear what you think about my musings or even about the art itself.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Some You Win, Some others ...

You lose, LOL.

Now after last weeks, what is wrong with this and why?

I think I could have painted this better in pastel, Or more likely, I was painting this as if I was using pastels. I should have left white space for the middle ground trees and foliage for example.

Also there is no real contrasts in tone, yes there is some but I have mixed up recession thru tonal contrast (the hills) with aerial perspective and colour recession. There are no shadows to speak of and the result is flat and uninteresting.

Lastly, I used a small brush for the last painting, I was using a pocket w/c set. I had to use the brush quickly and scrub/move the paint around. Here, I had decided to use tube colours and a larger brush. Maybe too large for the areas of the painting where some texture would have helped  create a feeling of detail.

I am going to try this same subject again and try to improve it based on the above comments. But I will also try to improve this painting by completing it with pastels. See if I can do something with it as a mixed media work.

Watch this space ...

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

A Return To Watercolour Painting

You know how it is, as an artist you want to be able to use all those wonderful media that are available and thrust at you from all directions. However, when you try a different medium, you have to learn how to use it. Of course, all it takes is practice. But to use more than one medium succesfully is difficult.

Moving from one to another often feels difficult. Just as you start to feel happy using say, pastels, you feel compelled to try another. You take out your watercolours, which you may not have used for a few weeks and horrors ... it feels like starting out all over again.

Even swapping more frequently, it feels like one step forward and two steps back. At least that is how I find it.

Now it has been a couple of years, possibly, since I did any real watercolour painting; I did try a little pen and wash but it was a very short experiment. I have been pastelling and even then painting mostly abstract and semi-abstract works. Coming back to watercolours and using a brush rather than my fingers (well thats how I feel with tiny pieces of chalk in my hand) and I am finding it difficult to make the paint do what I want it to.

I hated my first effort so much I actually threw it away - tore it up and put it in the rubbish bin. That is what I felt about it, and I have made a point of keeping almost everything I have done over the years I have been painting. The second was a little better, BUT not much, and I include it here as a point of reference, just to show that I am improving.

Those buildings look awful, and that tree - horrid!!! On the whole though in the background there is something about the brushwork which I felt was moving in the right direction. The next painting is starting to look a little better.

I even felt good after this attempt, and whats more several members of the art group were quite appreciative of it. Just waiting for next week now. Can I keep the improvement on course?