“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” — Pablo Picasso
So today is another fun exercise. Playing with saturation levels results in beautiful gradients. The idea here is to start with your paper tilted to at least 30 degrees so that the “bead” of water can run downwards. Secondly, prepare your colour so that you have enough to cover the paper and by saturating it to the correct level (meaning that the watercolour should not be wishy-washy but swirl when putting your brush in it). Pressing firmly on the mop, the first horizontal stroke is with clear water, make sure that you have a bead before continuing. Next stroke with a higher saturation level, until, in the end, you reach 100% saturation (meaning no water). I used a brush Mop #4 for this exercise. After the first stroke of water, do not add any more water to the mix. Midway you will dip directly into your colours to get the saturation level higher.
My favourite is the mix of Ultramarine with Burnt Sienna and I don’t know if you can see it, but at the bottom of the gradient, the texture almost looks like wood or wool. So interesting. My second favourite is the middle one. So which one do you think would be best for a stormy sky? Which one would be best for an early morning sunrise? Let me know what you think…
Now the trick to all of this is being able to apply this technique in an actual painting. Hah! Peut-être qu’il y en a entre vous qui comprennent ce que je veux dire…
Paper: Etchr Sketchbook, size A4, 11.4 x 8.3 in [29 x 21 cm] Colours Left: DS Ultramarine Blue + W&N Burnt Sienna Colours Centre: DS Ultramarine Blue + W&N Burnt Umber Colour Right: DS Cobalt Blue + W&N Burnt Umber Brush mop: da Vinci, casaneo #4
One never knows what one is going to do. One starts a painting and then it becomes something quite else. It is remarkable how little the ‘willing’ of the artist intervenes. — Pablo Picasso
I’ve been going through all of my drawers and found a myriad of different watercolour papers that I decided to test out today. I decided to test all of them out with the same combination of mixed colours (Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue, a bit of Q. Gold and a small amount of red to neutralize the colour). I used a wet-in-wet technique which is, I think, the reason that my colours are are too unsaturated. I definitely do not like how the Strathmore paper bloated with the water. The Arches paper combined the different intensities of colour a bit too much (but my paints were too watery). The Fabriano and Fluid 100 papers were fine and the Saunders was intense as the paper is darker than the rest. To note that the Fabriano paper was not HP (hot-pressed) as the other ones so to compare it with the others is not really fair, as I usually love the results on this paper. I think that I might redo this exercise tomorrow with more saturated paint colours.
That is what happens when you stop painting for a while… humph! My technical eye went for a ride and said bye-bye -))) Well, guess what I will try to achieve tomorrow? Good saturation levels — hah-hah!!!
I am crazy about two colours: carmine and cobalt. Cobalt is a divine colour and there is nothing so beautiful for creating atmosphere. Carmine is as warm and lively as wine… the same with emerald green. — Vincent van Gogh
This wonky Friday portrait is just what I needed… a bit of craziness during pandemic times. I am having so much fun with these portraits, and I was long overdue. Today I used a Zebra Brush Pen from Pilot that I bought at JetPens. Everything is written in Japanese on the pen, so I can’t really read what is written. It gives a thicker line that I usually use and gives it a caricature-like quality which goes well with the model that I chose.
Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″ Watercolours: Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Q. Gold, Alizarin Crimson & Ultramarine Pen: Zebra Brush Pen Fine LINK
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
I have been living in the same house now for 17 years, our longest time up to now, with my husband. Our first house we lived in was for 9 years, then our second house was 6 years, then another one for 4 years, then a temporary place for 2 years while we were constructing this one, and now 17! Huh-huh!You must by now be guessing my age -))) The reason we have lived in this one for so long is very easy. I love nature, being surrounded by trees, birds, critters great and small. I love the quietness of this place and the huge lot.
So my quest today was to do a portrait study and I wanted to find someone who looked a bit flamboyant… and the beard did it! I am slowly getting back into my watercolours but I still have a way to go to feel utterly comfortable with this wonderful medium.
I also cleaned up my palette, and squeezed some new juicy colours into it. A clean palette does not last long as it gets dirty really quick — well for me anyway, and it is a thing of beauty. DS means Daniel Smith, W&N means Winsor & Newton, H means Holbein… Some painters classify their colours by cold/warm. I don’t. I classify them as if they were on a colour wheel… it must be my years of teaching colour theory.
Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″ Watercolours: Mostly Cobalt Blue, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Sienna, some Gold Green Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki SEF Ink: DeAtramentis Black Document Ink
Permit the brain to separate from the hand. Soften your vision, focus beyond and before. Allow yourself to be “entranced” by your work. Feel a “process” rather than an outcome, and… Live in the life of the brush, chisel, roller. — Painter’s Keys
September 1st already and I am really not ready for autumn! After many months of not painting nor drawing, the deadline was today. So to get out of this artistic break as we might softly say, I decided to choose my most difficult challenge. Faces!!! I was never good at these, and I would like to be better, and with practice I know that I will, and that goes for everyone.
There are many flaws in this drawing, but especially in the painting values. They are all either too vibrant or too soft… it is a question of getting back into watercolours also, to test the value of the wash and know when I put down my brush it has the correct value. The proportions of the face are too long or not wide enough. The hues are not diverse enough, but hey! This is how we learn. To analyze what is wrong, and to rectify for the next painting. And persevere and move forward.
I have been following for years the “Queen” of drawing faces, and she is found here. You will see that she is quite amazing… makes it look so bloody easy -)))
Paper: Pentalic Aqua Journal 8″ x 5″ Watercolours Fountain Pen: Pilot Namiki SEF Ink: DeAtramentis Black Document Ink
“Look three times, think twice, paint once,” is a time-honoured shibboleth. — The Painter’s Keys
Following up on my gouache quest, I had to paint this twice as my first one had pretty good skies, but a dull lower third. I took this photo when I was in Varadero, Cuba in 2012 and the skies were majestic & scary at the same time. The ocean was calm, but there was a rumble of distant thunder and eminent rain. Such a beauty!
If you are wondering about the quote, I have been following Painter’s Keys for a very long time and for an artist, it is filled with great advice and painting anecdotes. You should look at it.
On another note, this Friday is my last day as a paid employee of John Abbott College, and next Monday my real retirement begins after 26 years of working in the Public Sector. I am overjoyed and grateful that I do not have to go in to teach as COVID-19 is still in our midst and to mingle with 7000 students would be scary even though I am double jabbed. But I do not have to worry as I have retired — yeahhhhh!!!.
If you are interested in learning more about how to paint in gouache, you can look here for the info for Shari’s link.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” — Socrates
My relationship with Canada Day is a mixture of different belongings. I feel like a Canadian and I am also a Québécoise and I identify mostly with Rigaud where I live and Montréal, which is a great city. I think and read and write in English but I live 50% of the time in French. I was born a Catholic but I am an agnostic-atheist.
In Canada, the term Indigenous comprises First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. What has been happening to Indigenous people in Canada for such a long time is shameful. Forcing indigenous children to live in residential schools was cruel and it became a genocide. We are discovering the horrors that were done to our Indigenous people at the moment and it is shocking. So instead of celebrating Canada Day, I hope that we are celebrating our Indigenous people in Canada as they deserve our deepest apologies. So here is a painting in their honour
I am often helplessly confronted by the picture… filled with suspense. What I have drawn suddenly seems to have developed its own dynamic – one that is not always necessarily kind to me. It is a genuine struggle and challenge. — Simone Bingemer
When you live in the province of Québec, Canada, you wait 9 months to get to this point in time. Summer! We actually only have about 2 months of real summer weather, July and August and sometimes September is quite beautiful and balmy too. With the pandemic ebbing away, the weather has been on my mind as I seem to need fresh air. We have been cooped up for so long…
So here is another cloud painting in gouache, and I found this one to be difficult to do. I actually did a second one after, and it is good for the trash can. Hah-hah! That happens too.
I have also put a photo of my outside painting studio… so nice. As it is screened in, there are no mosquitoes! Yeahhh!
Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan Paper, 12″ x 9″ Gouache: Winsor & Newton Zinc White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine & Phthalo Green.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now From up and down and still somehow It’s cloud illusions I recall I really don’t know clouds at all — Joni Mitchel songwriter, musician, poet and so much more.
Solstices and equinoxes mark the four movements in a celestial score. Summer Solstice marks the time of the longest day and the beginning of summer. In centuries past, Midsummer’s Eve was seen as one of the times that the fairies were supposed to come out and dance. — By John Forti, The Heirloom Gardener
I followed a workshop that was entirely in gouache and here is my first try. Decades ago when I was a young graphic designer, we used to work with gouache to do touch-ups in page layout and illustrations. I remember that I used to tint the white gouache so that its colour was exactly the same as the paper that I was working on. Here is a link to the workshop, if you are interested. LINK. What is really interesting in gouache, as opposed to watercolours, is that you can paint light on dark and dark on light. This makes it a really interesting medium and more versatile than watercolours but the colours are mostly opaque. It was very interesting to paint with this medium today. I am looking forward to my next painting.
Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan Paper, 12″ x 9″ Gouache: Winsor & Newton Zinc White, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine & Phthalo Green.
Who loves trees best? I, said the spring, Their leaves so beautiful to them I bring. Who loves the trees best? I, summer said, I give them blossoms, white, yellow, red. Who loves the trees best? I, said the fall, I give luscious fruits, bright tints to all! Who loves the trees best? I love them best, harsh winter answered, I give them rest. — The Pearl Story Book” by Ada. M Skinner
Well, I have finally retired and now I will have more time to paint, draw, play music, read… and just relax.. anyway that is the plan for the moment. So I am slowly prepping back up and will be back soon on this blog to make it come alive again. Been too long. This pandemic has been too long. Here is a painting that I did in 2020… and I still love it!