Thursday, 27 March 2014

Moving On!!

I often get asked at workshops about do I paint wet in wet and in the main I don't although I do use a lot of water. The way I use the water gives me slightly more control than a pure wet in wet approach so even though I may end up with an even wetter painting I use the water to direct the flow of the paint, something I learned from Jean Haines a few years ago (Joanne also uses water in a similar way) and which works well for me. But I do admire the really wet in wet approach and feel I have reached a stage where it is time and have been working up to having a go. Another of Alex Lee Johnson's photos seemed a perfect choice... his images are wonderful, do check him out if you haven't already!! As some of you will know I love nudes (or semi nudes) and also like back views but to try and do this in a loose watercolour way was going to be a challenge!!

I started this by soaking a piece 200lb Bockingford rough both sides then letting it dry a bit. I didn't draw any of this as I knew I would have time to alter and play with the image if I didn't get it quite right. I used

Perylene Green
Burnt Sienna
Touch of Alizarin Crimson

I added a wash of the green and blue, vaguely leaving areas for the shoulders and the head. Working like this does allow a lot of lifting for areas where the paint has sneaked into where it shouldn't and also leaves lots of soft edges so I do like the effects but does need a bit of practice to keep an element of control over what is happening. Bit of a duel edged sword because part of the beauty of watercolour is that very lack of control which produces all the wonderful effects we get when we let the paint and water do their magic on the paper but if we want to give some definition to something then we do have to step in and take control sometimes!!

I worked on this for the best part while the paper was still wet going in, darkening some areas, lifting others until I could see the image appearing, and constantly tweaking it to get the proportions reasonable. Not my usual way at all and not how I teach my students but to any of them who might be reading this, I didn't mess with my brush so no mud!! I do feel this is a progression for me as it is a completely different way and a way I haven't had much success with in the past so to say I'm a little bit excited about how this has turned out is something of an understatement!! As always I will leave this to stand for a while in case I feel it needs any more as it fully dries but am liking it so far and believe me that doesn't often happen!! Might do a little bit to the bg looking at it on here....

Would be really interested to hear what you think of this one!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Running my First ever Brusho Workshop!!

Lodge Artists in Chorley contacted me a few months ago to ask if I would lead an all day Brusho workshop for them... they had bought Joanne's Dvd and were keen to do more... some had tried it out others were "virgins" but all raring to go!!

I have to admit I was a little anxious as Brusho has a mind of it's own and I was hoping I would have the courage to go with the flow as Joanne has taught me!! I have been waiting to add this post as some of the ladies from the group had taken photos for me and I received them yesterday. I was so cross with myself as I had forgotten my lovely new camera... no excuses really except that I had so much "stuff" to remember, I even made myself a list!! The camera was there on the side just waiting to be picked up and of course I rushed out without it!!

I had done some practices of what I thought we could do, though I have Joanne's DVD I felt it was only right to do my own exercises so after I had shown them some of the ways to use the product we dived in and started a floral... this was the one I was aiming for and one I had done earlier.

I had taken lots of floral images and was delighted to see the group embrace my philosophy of applying the techniques to their own paintings and I was so impressed by what they did!!

These are just a few of the vast selection of Brusho paintings, as you can see not all finished but all looking very promising!!

This took us through the morning session and in the afternoon I did want us all to have a go at the same image as I was showing more techniques on this.... again I was blown away by the efforts, I always encourage people to choose their own colours especially when we are all doing the same image... colour choice is one way someone can inject that little bit of themselves into something and I like it when people create something quite different to mine. Not difficult with Brusho by the way!! This was the image we were painting

A photo I took about 5 years ago of a delightful cottage in the Lake district and here is the painting I had done to show them the sort of thing we were aiming for

I didn't get chance to finish either of my paintings during the session but am pleased to say they were looking ok and when I get chance I will go back and complete them.

About 15 minutes before we finished, Polly who organised the session suggested we had a small showing of all the paintings.. this was such a good idea as I had no idea how much work they had all produced on the day and how really good it all was..... seeing it altogether gave such impact and I have to say there wasn't a bad piece to be seen.. as you might imagine we were all hugely delighted (some of us also relieved!!).

Here is a selection of what was on display

As you can see great variety and hopefully lots of tips, skills and techniques taken away for the group to use in the future if they decide to have another go and for me..... a great time and what I hope was a very successful session!!

Don't forget for anyone who wants access to the tips and secrets of Brusho, Joanne's DVD and book are available to purchase here

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Busy Times

My blog is quiet at the moment... I always knew it would be like this in March as I have a lot of workshops booked and so have had a lot of preparation to complete especially for the all day beginners session at Mazart Studio on Friday.

In the meantime this is a little study I have had on my "to do" list. I seem to like back views and this is such a lovely image, taken from a photo by Max Hemingway. I wanted to keep a fairly limited palette and this is just UB, Burnt Sienna and Alizarin Crimson. Not such a loose watercolour....... I did draw this as I wanted to make sure the figures were in the right proportions and I have made use of the "halo" effect which helps highlight around the figures and accentuates the light and dark. I don't know if the bg works on this... I wonder whether they need to be going somewhere instead of into a big black hole of darkness!!! Will leave you to decide!!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Buy a Book Feed a Deer

I have had the honour and privilege of being included in this unique publication and would just like to copy and paste a few words from the book

"The South West Deer Rescue & Study Centre was started by Mike Gage, who has been involved with deer management and conservation for over 35 years, and has built a true bond with all of the SWDRC residents. Caring for orphaned and injured deer of all species, he is the true deer whisperer and relayed tales of sitting in the middle of fields waiting for the deer to surround him. This has enabled him to understand and build a trust with these animals. Mike is a well-known character on Exmoor and indeed, he has some Exmoor deer at the centre; he will not release these deer back to the wild for fear of them being shot or poached . One of his stags has an impressive 31 points on the antlers and is a true giant of an animal. What is even more amazing is the fact that Mike receives no funding of any kind and uses his pension and savings to feed the deer. You can book to visit the centre and it is completely free"

You can imagine there would be no hesitation in many of the artists and photographers from Paint my Photo wanting to be involved in helping such a worthy cause. The book is for sale at an amazingly cheap price of £1.29 for a limited period and has been edited by Roy Simmons and Ruth Archer both of whom play very important parts in the organisation of the Paint my Photo site.

This is my review of the book

First of all look at the price!!! It isn't a case of why buy it far more a case of why wouldn't you buy it! The proceeds will go to the South West Deer Rescue & Study Centre a very worthy cause which is run and financed out of the pocket and pension of Mike Cage, so even if that is not good enough reason, then I need to also mention the content!! This publication is packed full of both wonderful paintings and photos taken from a super site called Paint my Photo, the brain child of Roy Simmons, co-editor of the book. The site is a unique mix of artists and photographers.. the photographers generously give permission to artists to paint their images and this book showcases some of that wonderful collaboration and co-operation. The book features many of the wildlife images and paintings which are part of the daily feast which can be viewed on the site but more than that features an insight into the thoughts behind both the images and paintings with questions and answers from the photographers and artists. There are also a couple of step by step paintings generously supplied by Maria Balcells which in isolation are worth more than the purchase price. If you would like to see a beautiful book full of joy and inspiration, look no further, you will not be disappointed!!! 

The cost of this book is half the price of a cup of coffee, something many of us think nothing of treating ourselves to... believe me this is a much nicer and longer lasting treat!!

Here is the link to buy the book Buy a Book feed a Deer .... hope you will all splash out and in doing so appreciate that each £1.29 will actually help Mike feed his beloved animals and enable him to carry on with the wonderful work he does.... thank you!!