Thursday, 28 June 2012

Practice, Practice and more Practice!! Follow up to review on Jean Haines book

I promised a further review of Jean's book when I had finished reading it and had worked through it a bit more so, as I don't break promises here is how I'm getting on....

Am doing a lot of little exercises at the moment, often using Jean's book Atmospheric Watercolours and I do think I am finally getting the hang of things. Loose is not for the faint hearted, but I am learning to "invite" the colour to soften hard, unattractive edges and also how to tease the paint across the paper using very little pressure. Am normally like a bull at a gate but can feel myself lightening up and getting more control. This is an exercise from the book, the first not so good and I realised I hadn't followed the step by step as well as I might, but I think the second is showing some promise!!

Looking at them here, maybe the first isn't too bad, in fact scrap the previous comment think I like the first seems to look a bit more spontaneous, funny how things sometimes look clearer on screen.

So things I like about them both but what I am much more interested in, is how practising these techniques are helping me get a feel for things when it comes to my own work. Someone at my last demo said I make things look easy and I think that is a real compliment and one I was delighted to hear. And it really is down to years of practise just like doing these exercises which I will do time and time again.

Something I am coming to realise which my friend Roy Simmons has said to me on more than one occasion is that a successful painting can happen in as little as 15 minutes (not often but you get the idea... I mean fast!!!) but what isn't taken into account is the years of hard work and practise it has taken to get the experience to be able to produce that painting.

We are a prepared to pay fairly for the services of a tradesman who has spent years, learning his craft then building up his experience but are we as willing to accept the same principles for artists? Would be interested to hear your views in that one!!!

Anyway I am also using the book as bedtime reading and then exercising such incredible self restraint as everytime I pick it up it really does make me want to go and paint. For me that is actually the best thing about this book. It is inspiring me to try all the exercises which can then be used for my own work using the techniques I am learning as all the exercises are of subjects we all love to paint, bridges,doors,animals, flowers etc, everything is there for me to pick up as and when I have a subject I want to paint. Hmmm you have  lot to live up to for the next book Jean!!!!

This is a link to the original review

Book review

Monday, 25 June 2012

Am now a WAG!!!!!

Whooops typo error there........ should read am now "AT" WAG (stands for Westhoughton Art Group), being married to a retired banker hardly qualifies me as a WAG!! Anyway I was invited to do a workshop on Loose Watercolour Painting by Dave Hendry at his lovely group in Westhoughton this morning. Dave was known to me from      

 I Draw and Paint

an on-line community for we budding artists where I have been a member for a good number of years. He sent an e-mail letting us know about his art group and I sent him a message asking did he want anyone to do a workshop. As some of you will know from previous blogs, I have recently retired and want to concentrate more on my art now and although I am still very new to this,  I love doing workshops and Dave was good enough to take a chance on me and offer me the opportunity to go to his group and run one there.

So WAG...... what a great group of people, still only a small group but run very co-operatively which many of you will know is also my way of doing things and I was again made to feel so welcome and wanted!!! Am not sure if it is something to do with this lovely hobby of ours but I have yet to meet anyone I don't like in these groups, the love of painting seems to transcend a lot of barriers and brings like minded people together and so it was at Westhoughton Art Group.

Dave really inspires a spirit of enjoyment here and I was so delighted to learn that everyone seemed to have enjoyed my session. As I am still new to all this, feedback both positive and negative is so important to me as I want to learn and get better. I am so enthusiastic about watercolour that I really want to convey this in these workshops but I also want people to get something out of them and to feel like they have learned a bit as well.

I was especially pleased about a couple of things, firstly one or two members asked Dave to invite me back which is always a good sign and secondly one lady said she had been on the verge of giving up watercolour and coming along today had made her change her mind and  another lady who was visiting her daughter may now be inspired to pick up her brushes and have a go, not having painted since she was at school. That's what this is all about..........getting the message across that it can all be learned, we just have to be shown how and then have the desire to practice.

So big thank you WAG, I really enjoyed the morning and will look forward to paying you all another visit in October.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Am I a Rocker!!!!

The first painting here was the start of my group wanting me to do a session for them. The two ladies who ran the group would sometimes bring things in for us to paint....... this topic was still life and this was one of the subjects. As often happens I did have a false start and then managed this as I got to know my way around the subject

When she saw this Ruth said she really liked how I did things (everyone seems to like loose watercolour painting) and would I be interested in running a session for them...... I said yes immediately and then thought about it...... yikes what had I let myself in for!!!! Anyway I had lots of time to mull it over and decide what I was going to do which I will cover in another blog.

In the meantime as I had quite liked doing the chair thought I would do our own rocking chair and also posted it as an image in the group.  The one above as far as I remember I did draw but this next one was straight in with the paint. We bought this chair before we got married and I still love it, it looked so lovely in the small cottage we had at the time and still sits in our hall today.

I like the colours in both these and enjoyed painting them and may never have thought of chairs as subjects had it not been for the group. I might do these differently now but I still look back on these with affection as at the time they were a bit of a breakthrough and of course prompted Ruth to ask me about doing a workshop and then on to running the group, so quite a turning point!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Workshop at Art & Soul Hindley

This was my third workshop ever and what a lovely group they were!!! Made me feel so at home,  served me with coffee on arrival and were so warm and welcoming. Just wanted to thank them so much for inviting me and I hope they enjoyed meeting me as much as I enjoyed meeting them!! Hope so as I'm back in a month!!!!

We started the session with some of my colour planets, you know, the ones from a while back. As you will all know am very passionate about letting colour mix on the paper and though one or two of the group did paint like this it was new for the majority so always good to be able to share something new and different.  Then we went on to do pears, lemons, bananas (only bought them yesterday so hadn't scoffed the lot before the session!!!) peppers and garlic, all simple studies like we do in the Loose group but all good for learning some of the techniques for loosening up a bit. Even though this was new and alien to most they all had a really good stab at it although most said they thought it was quite hard... am glad I told them right at the beginning this isn't for the faint hearted but for those from the group who may be reading this it does get easier........... honest!!!!

Just a few pics from the session. By the way, I will e-mail Ann with the questions about the colours and any telephone numbers in the next few days.  Am really looking forward to the next session there and hope any other groups I go to will be as nice and kind as this one......

Monday, 18 June 2012

RUSTY Rackets and HOT NUDE!!!

And before any of you ask, no this is not a self portrait!!!! Her figure is marginally better than mine!!!! I thought this image, which I found on images of tennis players, killed two birds with one stone.... topical as we have been playing tennis and an obvious choice to continue with my very serious nude series!!!! I am obviously far too light of foot and active on the court for anyone to have been able to take such an action image of me like this .........I am however wondering just what I'm meant to be fiddling with under my dress..........maybe best not to dwell on that!!! By the way, I do like the intense action and movement around the racket on this, and I don't know if it is clear on here but the droplets of sweat breaking from the forehead.......

Just before we went to Lake Garda a friend of mine text me asking would I like to go to a "Rusty Rackets" session at our local tennis club. As this was my first Monday off work I jumped at the chance though haven't played tennis for about 15 years. Anyway today was the third time I've been and have also persuaded my husband to come as well, so this morning having taken our ibuprofen and paracetamol, mine for my knees and back and him for his moderate to severely arthritic hips we sent off in the glorious sunshine for our tennis session!!!

Gary, the coach said last week he could see we had both played before but as I prepared to listen to his compliments about our skill and talent and how we had obviously not lost it.... he followed up by saying yes he could tell it was a long time ago as our rackets were so antiquated!!!! He said today he thought ours would be an interesting household as he observed my husband and I (I know I sound just like the Queen!!!) be ceremoniously whooped by the opposition one of whom has either had or needs 2 new knees!!! But it's the taking part that counts... right????

Anyway we thoroughly enjoyed again, and look forward to more sessions in the next few weeks, we may even treat ourselves to new rackets as that is obviously affecting our performance!!!

So my retirement is taking many new paths, strangely enough another participant was a lady who is running the art exhibition I am attending in a couple of weeks at the same venue, she called me later and asked would I mind her mentioning my name to the Bolton press to help advertise the event..... mind???? No I don't mind at all though am not sure why she thinks it may help as I am absolutely certain no-one will have a clue who I am!!! But baby steps and who knows what will happen!!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Patchings 2012

Have wanted to go to Patchings for a couple of years and not managed it but being a bit of  "Jean Haines groupie," the fact that she was demonstrating with Search Press this year swung it for me and I decided to make the effort. I went with Gill Fox and we met Sue Bradley and Cheryl Maycock there. Cheryl had done a fantastic job on our behalf not only securing tickets for both demos but somehow managing to get us reserved front row seats!!!! Kudos to you Cheryl!!

Jean had been concerned that people may not turn up to see her at Patchings being of the opinion she is not known further North but nothing could have been further from the truth!!!

As you can see from the photo of the afternoon session they were sell outs with more seats needed and as with all Jean's sessions all were left wanting more!!! There were also opportunities for book signings so of course I took my book as well to get it signed.

For any of you who might not have read it this is the link to the review I did of Jean's book

Book review

The weather was lovely by the way and to all those who suggested we might need them,  the wellies I had borrowed stayed  firmly in the car (well they didn't really match my outfit anyway!!!)........ in fact we were able to sit outside for lunch with Jean. It was a lovely opportunity to catch up and chat almost all day about art with a teeny bit of jewellery and fashion thrown in.......yawn yawn I can hear you say but guess what.......... I can bore for England on the subject of art....... you only have to read this blog to know that, but today I was with such like minded people and had a thoroughly lovely day.

With all this chatting and two demos you might think we didn't have time to check out the stalls but while I might have liked a touch more time I did manage to buy some lovely Hahnemuhle paper, 500gsm not quite imperial size for £1 a sheet.... bargain!!!! I also got some Daniel  Smith watercolour ground which I have heard a lot about and will be trying for a variety of things which I will update about on here.

So, as the day came to a close, Gill, Cheryl and I walked to our cars all feeling very pleased with ourselves,and  I came to get my car keys out of my bag............ you know what I'm going to say next...... they weren't there were they?????

Apart from a violent attack of hidden hysteria and wondering what the ...... was I going to do, I also wonderd how my husband was going to react when I rang him to say I was stranded some two and a half hours from home and could he just "pop" along with the spare set????? Anyway I composed myself and  went back to the main building where the mayor, mayoress and exhibitors were all having little drinkies after the event and I asked this official looking gentleman in a very pathetic way
 "Where was lost property?"
 "What have you lost?" said he
 "My keys" said I
and the darling man went straight to a small basket a couple of yards from where I was standing..... and you can guess where I'm going here.....yep......out came my keys!!!!!

You cannot imagine my relief!!!!!  Could have kissed the man passionately but don't think he looked up for that, so instead thanked him in profusely and scarpered before the mayor and mayoress realised what a burke I was....... had left the keys in the Search Press tent though have no idea when where or how....... obviously got caught up with the excitement of the day... this is not the first time something has happened to me at a Jean Haines demonstration.... may share the previous one on here one day!!!!

So that was my day, Patchings is a lovely event actually smaller than I had anticipated but the better for that I think.....came away inspired once again to get some washes painted...... don't know what Jean is on but got a dose of it today!!! Am hoping that by watching and then by a sort of painting osmosis ( where things move from a higher concentration..... that is Jean to a lower concentration that is me... just in case you're wondering!!?!!) that some of that awesome skill and talent will migrate to me!!!! One can but dream!!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Holiday in Lake Garda

What a beautiful place this is... no wonder lots of celebs have properties there. Being British, I have to make mention of the weather which wasn't brilliant and there was a haze on the lake for most of the time but it didn't spoil the holiday and never kept us in!!!

I took Hazel Soan's 10 minute watercolour book, with me which I can thoroughly recommend, easy quick loose sketches and though only a small book, packed with tips and hints and lots of these exercises which you can pick up and do within a few minutes, did quite  few of the exercises from it as I was sitting on the balcony enjoying the view, these are a few.........

And then a few of my own

Not very good but just quick sketches, the scenes were views from the balcony which I plan to work on now I'm home, the boat house was just beautiful and I would love to do a full painting of it, this is it

and here nestled at the waterside as we viewed from our hotel

The village you can see is Limone, a thirty minute walk from our hotel. It is a stunning little village with a population of only 900. It was inaccessible from land until the time of World War 2 when Mussolini built  a series of tunnels through the mountains naming them all after his lovers!! Interestingly there was a lot of interbreeding prior to this and contrary to what you might expect with an interbred Gene pool the population here suffers less from diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes than the population as a whole... the interbreeding has bred a super race!!!

I have taken lots of photos as we took a Lake tour and visited a host of different areas around the Lake. As the geography moves from mountains to plains so the feel of the Lake changes as it moves South, it is 35 miles long, deeper than the English channel in parts and would take one drop of water 26 years to get from start to finish.... whoever works these things out have no idea but that is what we were told!!! We visited some absolutely beautiful areas though I think you can see it would be very hard to beat our particular location.