Thursday, 22 August 2013

Colour Flirt

I was reading a blog by Lorraine Brown about what she had learned on a colour course she has just completed and it got me thinking about my own relationship with colour.

What Lorraine has learned is that there are so many colours we can get from just 6 primaries and she has the proof in a wonderful series of paintings she has produced from that limited palette... so is that the path I should take?  I do already use a limited palette for most of my paintings using a max of 6 and probably more often 3 or 4 but whenever I read anything like this it makes me think am I doing it wrong if I want to use any colour that speaks to me for a particular subject?

I did a workshop yesterday which also prompted this blog and I was trying to explain how I came to use certain colours. The point is I don't have to actually see the colours in an image, I make them up and use whatever I think look good together.

As many of you will know I use my colour planets to work out what colours I might use in any particular painting and I often get a feel for which colours might suit a particular subject. So as you may remember when I did this painting of Holly

I used opera rose, indigo, transparent orange and a touch of burnt sienna. Not colours which may immediately jump out at you for this image but ones which I felt would work and convey something a bit different. I could see a touch of pink and brown in the image, I know I need a dark colour either a deep blue or brown to give me the tones I need and I like to use the orange whenever I can so I tested the colours in a planet and liked them together and that's how this painting came about.

The problem I would have with using a limited number of primaries now is that I could never have got this look without the particular colours I have used.. I could never mix colours which come remotely close to either the opera rose or the translucent orange.. both colours have properties which are unique to them.

I also like bought purples, they give me a far richer colour than I can get with any mix that I have tried so far, one of my other bought "No, No's" is Schmincke May Green, it is an opaque colour but I like the way it mixes with UB to give a rich dark green. I also like Winsor and Newton Green Gold which like Quinacridone gold has properties I couldn't mix using any blue and yellow primary.

I am a complete walkover when someone says "Oooh have you tried this colour or that" and find I use a lot more than 6 primaries a lot of the time (though not in the same painting). I have listed the colours I have in my palette here and when I have a new subject I am always looking for a new, individual and original combination which I maybe haven't tried before and that is actually part of the fun and challenge for me, I don't always take too much notice of what I see I just decide on some possibles, check how they work together then go with them in the painting.

I do have my favourites of course for example, I prefer burnt sienna to light red in most instances (though I like light red for buildings) and though I love Quin gold I often decide I prefer raw sienna when I actually try them out in a planet. I use both perm rose and Aliz crimson and a host of blues though I probably use UB the most.... I have a much bigger selection of the cooler blues and use a variety of them but UB is the main warm blue I use. However I really love using the other colours and am not terribly loyal to any... I use what I think will create something a bit different while still capturing the essence of something. . I then try and  concentrate on painting the right tones using the colours I have chosen and that is what seems to work for me... well some of the time!!

Speaking of tones, I have heard people talk about whether painters are colourists or tonalists and the more I think about it the more I think it is not at all useful to put labels on people......colour is a very important part of my work (it is what most people comment on and seems to be part of my style) and I would feel quite paralysed if I had to rely on just a few colours, but I always choose colours which will give me a good tonal range so that both areas are equally important in my work and am not sure my paintings would work as well if I didn't also have the right tonal values.

As I reflect on the time I have been trying to improve my skills in painting I have spent a lot of time learning about colour. I used to use a more basic palette with the more realistic colours but I also knew that if I wanted to create something a bit more individual I had to choose attractive colour schemes which may or may not represent real life but would create a pleasing piece with colour harmonising around the painting,  I realised that it is form,shape and tone which will describe a subject not it's colour and so colour can be just what I want it to be, does that make me a colour flirt? I think so......and am delighted to be one!!!  To be able to choose whatever colour I like whenever I like is how I like to paint...... I do think you need to have done a bit of the ground work with colour first as Lorraine's tutor was advising and I am quite certain there is such a lot to be learned from doing that so that you have an understanding of what you are looking for......brings me back to my first question as to whether I should actually try doing it, and I think I probably have done it without maybe realising it at the time.... I worked for a long time with my 6 or 8 primaries, maybe because that was all I had but I also knew that it helped to stick to a limited palette for lots of reasons and something I still do now albeit with a much wider range of options.

So how many of you out there are colour flirts and what do you think about using a limited palette? Would be interested to hear your views......

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Running wth Brushes Charity

I have been following Vandy Massey's Blog for some time now and not only does she add some lovely paintings but I find I often learn something from what I think are thought provoking posts, so, well worth checking out!!

Anyway, Vandy came up with this idea to paint 1000.. yes 1000 paintings to sell for Care for Casualties. Her son is in the armed forces so it is a cause close to her heart and I had also been wondering about how I could contribute in some way to a charitable cause when this opportunity came up. I have donated paintings in the past to a couple of charities but nothing more so far and this seemed like something I could do as the thought of what a big task Vandy has set herself made me think I could also do a bit....

I did have a couple of paintings which were already suitable... Vandy had requested they were all postcard size... approx 6x4 as they wanted to keep everything standard and have mounts available in that size, so last week, I was in between pieces and mulling others over and I decided to do one or two more... I did get a bit carried away as I really enjoyed doing them, some I made up others I used references but it was an exercise that just let me play with the paint and I'm sure I will do a few more in the weeks to come. On this occasion I sent 10 and Vandy already has them on the website 

Running with Brushes

If you check to the left, under Artists you will see who has contributed so far and if you click my name you will see which ones from the home page are mine.

Here is a small selection of the ones I have sent

All 6x4 so only small, the first two are "made up" the third is from a photo taken by John Robinson.  John takes some amazing photos and his fb page is well worth browsing through. He is also a member of Paint my Photo. If you would like to use any of his images send him a message as he is only too pleased to help we artists and is delighted to see how his work can be interpreted. He also sells his photos so would ask that you observe his copyright and only use images for which you have permission!!

Check out the Running with Brushes site, it is somewhere you can pick up a well priced "original" from some up and coming artists and I hope Vandy will get one or two other people to help her out though I suspect she will continue with her 1000 paintings no matter how many others contribute. If you don't want to purchase anything why not send her a few paintings? I am going to have some paper already cut to size and whenever I want to have a little play I will use them and see what turns out in the hope that I will get some more to send... they can be done when you are waiting for something to dry or when you don't have much time but want to get the paints out, some of my quickest ones turned out the best!!  I might also use them to try out ideas for bigger paintings and perhaps consider cutting up some larger paintings which maybe haven't worked as a whole but parts of which I like.

So this is the latest little "first" of my art life which as some of you will know is littered with "firsts". Variety is the spice of life ( it is also crucial to an exciting painting... something I drone on about in my workshops!!) and all these new things certainly keep me excited and motivated as I never know what's going to happen next!!

Monday, 12 August 2013

A Brilliant Brusho Workshop

I got a call from Joanne last night to say a place had come up for one of her all day Brusho workshops and would I like to go.... didn't think she would get any cancellations but lo and behold she did!! My lucky day!!

I also got to meet Polly Birchall, fb pal and fellow blogger ...another a treat, so early this morning and armed with all the Brusho tricks of the trade I set off to the Boonric Gallery where I had held my beginners watercolour workshops.

We were all brushocited and brushovated and willing to become brushoholics painting brusholips in brusholicious colours!! As you can see there is a new language being invented as we speak!!!

Some hadn't had the pleasure of playing with Brusho before and Joanne, as always, shared all her hard learned tips and hints and an odd one or two new ones for we veterans!! Students were taking notes, listening and watching intently as the magic started to happen and I have to say you may think I might have got a bit complacent and blase about Brusho but I really haven't, especially when in the hands of a real expert.. am thinking Joanne may actually be the world's leading expert in painting with Brusho... other people are using it but would be surprised to hear of, or see anyone who can actually create work as she does with it!! How lucky are we?

Anyway we started with a simple landscape, a cottage surrounded by foliage,  a good exercise for all of us and some lovely paintings done especially by the Brusho "virgins!!"

 Yours truly... oblivious to the camera or I would have done my hair and make up!!
The lovely Polly
 Gorgeous cottage with fantastic bushes in the foreground from a Brusho "virgin!!"...

The next image was a nude.... I know my favourite... actually using the same colours as the previous painting but just shows how versatile it can be

This is Joanne's lovely version, not sure it was finished but looking at it here looks "done" to me!!

Then we moved on to some tulips which were quite abstract and really "made up!!"  That is the beauty of Brusho, you can make it up as you go along, it is unpredictable but once you learn to go with it rather than fight it, you strangely gain more control not less!! Here are a few tulips

This was mine... I decided to use one of my own images of a single stem using the tips and hints Joanne had shared to put into practice on my own piece, while this was drying I did the multiple flowers Joanne had demonstrated.

 This was Joanne building up her painting negatively around the flower heads...
 A wonderful abstract piece in the making!
 Sheer concentration....
 Look at all those lovely splatters
Another wonderful variation, just showing how wildly different these paintings can be and how even with the same colours and same composition the results are so unique to each individual.
This was mine a bit further on which still needs finishing (will not be doing much more to it though!!) in fact I need to complete all the pieces I started (5 in total!!) Finally here is the last piece Joanne demonstrated... a lovely daisy

You can see from this just what a master Joanne is with this medium and why she (and the rest of us) love it so much. Joanne can "see" just where to go with something, painting positively, negatively and every other which way she can to produce inspiring pieces like this and once again I am amazed as to how quickly, given the right help, it is possible to get a handle on painting with Brusho.

As those who follow my blog may know, Joanne has recently completed an instructional e-book and DVD which I reviewed here . She shares all of the tips and hints you will need to develop your Brusho skills.... everyone on this workshop was amazed at the effects they were getting and all admitted they could not get the same result with watercolour.

You can purchase Joanne's book and DVD here ......they really are two of the best publications I have ever seen and I can wholeheartedly recommend them!!

I am going to work on my unfinished pieces in the next few days and will share them once completed...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

A Blast from the Past

Don't you think that's a great title? Sadly not mine but from Ann-Marie whose photo from PMP I have been battling with over the last few days. This was an image posted for the August image in the Loose group and I must admit after my very unsuccessful first attempt I was severely regretting my decision to use this image at all!! Here is the photo

Anyway there have been some super paintings posted already and I was beginning to feel under some pressure so I decided to throw caution to the wind, bin my first effort on Arches no less and start again (Bockingford this time!!)... good decision!! I am actually quite pleased with this one and  I can feel another blog coming on where I may share all the efforts again from the group... they actually never cease to amaze me and there has been significant progress in the last few months.. the last few images though testing seem to have inspired and brought out the best in people... watch this space!!

Colours used for this were
Cad red
Aliz Crimson
Lemon yellow
Raw sienna
touch of burnt sienna

Whoops looks like I have gone over my quota there!!

I worked wet in wet for a lot of this as I didn't want the colours on the cars to look flat and in my first try that's how they were looking. I normally work wet on dry but that is usually in a larger space where I can add lots of water and get those lovely watercolour effects but the painting areas on the cars was limited so I felt it needed a wet in wet approach.  I was also having trouble with the bg so decided to cut it out and leave well alone.... another good decision.

So here is my effort of this great image, tried to keep a loose feel but also wanted to capture the feel of the old cars so maybe could have "lost" a bit more and may even have another try to see where that takes me...

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Red Shoes

As any of you will know I run a group on Paint my Photo which is dedicated to try and get we watercolourists to loosen up in our work and each month I post an image for us all to have a go at. I have never blogged about the group before but this particular image, by Freda Austin Nichols, an artist and photographer who posts many wonderful images on the site for artists to paint, has produced so many really wonderful paintings I wanted to share them here. Here is Freda's image

It just "spoke" to me and is quite unlike other images we have used in the past for the group. My thoughts on this were should I keep the bag, how to do the bg, how to lose any edges etc etc and I did have one false start a couple of weeks ago which did help me sort out a few issues. I decided not to include the bag but you will see here a few did include it and they also worked well.

Just for info, the text about each painting is written below the relevant image

Please observe the artist's copyright on all these images

This is by Mike Dunn... really impressed with this not only was he the first to post but such a lovely loose feel to this, really set the bar high, just look at the "shine" on those shoes?

Now I know these aren't red shoes but the brief was to inspire and if people didn't want to paint the image they could feel free to paint any shoes and we weren't disappointed with this one from Michelle, great colours and composition I thought!!

This is Michelle's "red shoe" piece... this is her updated version as sometimes in the group advice and help is offered and artists then go back to their work and tweak things a little. This is Michelle's website.

Lorna also tweaked her painting, toning down the bag which might have been competing for attention!!! Great loose version Lorna!! Here is Lorna's  Blog

The second of our gentlemen here!! This is William Butcher's version and here is a link to his blog
Willam Butcher blog

This painting just shows how we can all interpret differently, a lovely very loose version by Lynne Furrer and here is her website

Lynne Furrer

This one is from Judith Knudsen, she has called it Red Party Shoes and I love the sparkle she has added from the top shoe, what a lovely touch that is!!

How fab is this one??? I love the angle and background of this one it just shouts "look at me" the title is Killer Heels and painted by Cherry Aaron.

This is the second painting from Sandy Drexel. She was really brave and decided to go straight in with the paint, no predrawing!! We do try and encourage this in the group as drawing can keep your work tighter encouraging you to keep to the lines and as this is the loose group we use all tools at our disposal!! This was such a good try and am quite sure I could not have managed it as well as this!

This was another in drawing attempt and again I was totally in awe of how Penny Bantle managed this one... can you see how she has signed her name as a tatoo? How cool is that?

Here is Sharon Whitley's lovely version, Sharon never fails to impress and you will not be disappointed if you visit her blog The Rambling Artist

As I mentioned earlier, I post the image for inspiration as much as anything and group members can always use a different photo if they wish which is exactly what Elise chose to do... still red shoes but different and equally impressive... I love the signature too!!

This penultimate one is by the actual photographer herself.. Freda Austin Nichols... this is such a lovely crisp version full of light and interest... some people have such a lot of talent.... photographer and artist at this level!!!

This is my effort, 2nd attempt and a bit of tweaking but generally quite happy with the outcome. I think we have all got a bit of a bug for painting shoes now as everyone seemed to really enjoy this one... watch out for a few more of these.

I think you can see there are some pretty good efforts here and since we started the group almost exactly 2 years ago there has been a lot of progress and improvement. Activity comes and goes as people have busy lives..... yours truly included, but there is a core of super artists who post and comment and generally make a fantastic contribution to help others grow and develop.