Friday, 30 September 2011

Indian Summer

After cold and autumnal weather last week ,to boiling hot sunshine and blue skies this week. Its a glorious indian summer here in Wales,better weather than it was in the summer!
I've just been catching up with some painting but you can't paint much in beach weather!

I think I've finished the cornflower for my friend-not sure whether to add the single petals or not-might just keep it simple.

Finished this spike in the gladioli painting too.
I think I'll work on a fungi painting for autumn when this is finished.

I started selling greetings cards on my website too-I already sell them from the hotel so thought I'd set it up online, there's a link to my website on the right hand panel of the blog.

Heres my latest colour chart.The colours with the little stars by them are my favourites and so on my palette.I got some M.Graham watercolours which are nice to work with. They stay very moist and so easy to re-wet and the colours are slightly richer than the other brands. M Graham Indian yellow is luscious but see how vibrant scarlet lake by Winsor newton is. I think its nice to have a mix of different paint brands but it can get expensive (and addictive-especially when you see all the colours available from Daniel Smiths!!!) I'll stop buying paints now.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Gouache Technique

Hippeastrum Bud in Gouache
I had a request from a friend to explain my technique in gouache painting;so heres a tutorial showing my method.

My gouache paints
I have Schminke artists quality,Winsor and newton designers and a couple of old Daler rowney goauche paints. The Schminkes and W/N's are good quality with no white added and so are not chalky and can stay on the palette.The Dalers are chalky-with white and fillers added;they form a hard lump on the palette and fall off-but I still have them-they're OK to mix- some I don't use

I have Schminke PY3 lemon yellow
Schminke  PY119 & PBk 9 raw sienna
Schminke Burnt sienna
Schminke PR101 english red
Schminke PV19 Quinacridone violet
Schminke PB27 Prussian  
Schminke PB29 ultramarine
Schminke PB16 Helio turquoise
Schminke PG36 & PO62 olive green
W/N PY35 & PO20 cadmium yellow
W/N PV23 winsor violet
W/N PR108 cadmium scarlet
W/N PR254 Winsor red
W/N PR122 quin. magenta
DR yellow ochre
DR Burnt sienna
DR coeruleum hue

I have mostly chosen paints with the same pigments as lightfast,transparent watercolours and are marked on the tubes as permanent;there are many fugitive gouache paints-and I stay away from those-like rose tyrian,spectrum violet and alizarin.

Heres the arranged palette-with the W/N white (PW6- titanium white) and W/N ivory black top left.
The white is added to lighten the hues and create high lights and the black (and other dark colours) are used to darken the tones. It is more difficult to get the right hues with the red and yellow paints.
I use synthetic brushes around size 2 to 4- or old sables that I no longer use for ordinary watercolours.

First of all I draw the chosen subject-an Anemone japonica 'Honorine Jobert', onto green mount card-you can use any colour card but it must be smooth.

The drawing shows up in white pencil.
Then start adding layers of white and tinted grey paint, mix it not too thick, not too thin. 

Just keep going -layering the paint and blending in. 

Be very careful though with the underlying layers as they can be lifted easily. This can make gouache a very frustrating medium to work with so lots of practise is needed.

Then after adding shadows and high-lights -start adding details-the best bit for me!

Here's the almost finished painting (you can keep fiddling!)-It took approx. 4 and a half hours to do this much.

With the actual flower
Here's a link to the Handprint website for a really in depth read up on gouache;

I hope this helps and inspires. xx

Monday, 12 September 2011

Favourite Fungi

I'm working on a botanical painting of Gladiolis at the moment for the end of summer,even though its really feeling like autumn proper.Heres a picture of the Glad so far; it has lovely magenta and lemon yellow petals with magenta edging.Enjoying this but its slow going and must be careful with the shading.

In between work and the Glad' ,I'm doing some leaves for a leaf painting challenge with the botanical art forum on facebook.Its great practise but we're supposed to do 30 leaves in 30 days,I'll never make it!
Heres a couple ;

Birch Leaves

Rosebay Willowherb

As its feeling more like autumn -I'll post some of my favourite fungi pictures too.

Boletus  calopus
I found these amazing mushrooms at the Hafod estate a few years ago.I've never found them again there as where I found them has recently been felled for timber.
I took them home and sketched them straight away.They have a beautiful red and yellow stipe with a net pattern (reticulation) and yellow pores.
Heres the painting of them;

Heres some more fungi photos;

Mossy mushroom with web

Red Hygrocybe