Showing posts with label watercolour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label watercolour. Show all posts

29 May 2013

Artists who inspire ....... Nicholas Simmons

If I have written about artist Nicholas Simmons before then I am NOT going to apologise ...... for the simple reason that he is someone I admire very much and whose work just lifts my spirits!

If you have never seen any his paintings then you have missed a treat and I urge you to take time to view them on his website.

To get a feel of who he is, his ideas about painting and his techniques with water media (watercolour and acrylics) then watch one of his short videos to you a taste!

I am not a watercolourist myself but I do use acrylics, and tend to apply them in a watercolour-like way (thin and transparent).  I also need to 'let go' and not be afraid of experimentation, so maybe that is why I admire Nicholas' paintings so much!

22 Aug 2006

A wonderful weekend workshop!

'Wharfside at Oamaru'
Artist: Ben Woollcombe (2006)

Well, I just have to write something about the watercolour workshop I attended over the weekend, tutored by professional artist Ben Woollcombe. The workshop was hosted by the North Otago Art Society and based at their premises, The Old Customs House, in the historic town of Oamaru, Otago, - about an hour's drive from where I live. Nine 'wannabe' watercolourists attended, all of us very much novices in the medium!

Day One began with Ben giving us a demonstration on stretching watercolour paper. He stretches all his paper regardless of weight, and his method is slightly different to that given in some books:

1. Wet paper on both sides under running water or by emersing in water. Do not soak.
2. Place on clean board (watermark uppermost), keeping edges parallel to board edges.
3. Leave for several minutes to give the paper fibres time to swell.
4. Wet cut lengths of brown gummed paper tape by dipping quickly in water and fix paper to board. Use only gentle pressure to secure as heavy pressure will make the gummed tape almost impossible to remove later.
5. Place tape just over 1cm in from the edge of the paper. This leaves a clean white edge around the painting when the tape is removed later on.
5. Gently pat very wet areas with a clean cloth or paper towel, but without rubbing as this will damage the surface of the paper.

While we were stretching our papers Ben gave a brief talk and Q&A session on some watercolour basics. He paints outside a great deal and travels around New Zealand armed with portable easel and prepared boards. He had even stopped off and painted a mountain scene en route down from Geraldine to Oamaru the day before!

For a winter's day the weather was bright so we all went outside for some 'plein air painting'. As I have said before I do not like painting outside! Having got myself set up nicely, sitting on some stone steps close to the water, a breeze got up and blew my palette away and it soon became quite a struggle to hold palette, board, brushes and keep control of water pots, etc! Then several dogs, aided and abetted by their doting owners, decided that they would leap in and out of the sea close to me and shake themselves off thoroughly as often as possible.

So for me the best part of this first expedition was the demonstration painting that Ben did for us (that's it shown above). It was wonderful to see him working and listen to his commentary.

Later on that day we painted indoors for a while ... this time trying our hand at portraiture as one of the group was very happy to abstain from grappling with watercolour and be our model! I am afraid that my two paintings for Day One were pretty ghastly .... so you won't be seeing them!

On Day Two many of the group wanted more (yes, MORE) 'plein air painting' so off we all went to the Oamaru Gardens and found ourselves strategic spots to try our hand once again. Again the morning was bright and sunny so in fact it proved rather a pleasant experience .... and this time I was not hampered by gusts of wind or athletic dogs! My painting of tree trunks and their reflections in a stream started off well but, somewhat inevitably, turned to custard.

We had come prepared with 'still life' objects for the afternoon session and were glad to be inside near the log-burner as it had turned really cold. The group had proved to be a lively one and there was a great deal of laughter over our dreadful daubs, although a couple of people did manage to produce some decent work!

Throughout the weekend we were given help and advice by Ben whenever we were stuck, which was virtually every minute, and he treated us to another demonstration on the final afternoon. This time the subject was Christmas Roses in a china pot. It was amazing to see him sloshing on dark washes, wiping out shapes, defining and losing edges, and flicking paint spots here and there! Needless to say the finished painting looked pretty darn good!

As is Ben's custom apparently, both demonstration pieces were auctioned at the end of the weekend .... the bidding being quite fierce and not altogether lady-like! (our only male attendee could not be present on Day Two) And I am very happy to be able to report that I was the successful bidder for the painting of the harbour scene.

In spite of not producing anything that I would like to display in public, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and learned a great deal. Although I do have my suspicions that I will never make a watercolourist despite Ben's truly excellent tutelage. Many, many thanks, Ben.

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9 Aug 2006

Exploring Color & Creativity: Watercolor with Ink Line

I have just been reading a post on artist Nita Leland's blog . In it she speaks of her latest tuition session with her class using these media together. I have only had a couple of attempts at doing this, but found it immensely absorbing and very enjoyable to do! Very relaxing, in fact. The main focus for mine was in the ink drawing with just a light tinting of colour, rather than the watercolour being the main event (if you have been reading my recent posts there will be no surprise for you there!). I have posted both paintings below. Each is a scene from a favourite place in France.

Before emigrating to New Zealand from UK we used to visit La Belle France as often as we could, enjoying many wonderful holidays there. I have hundreds of wonderful photos - rivers, seascapes, ancient villages and towns, hills, mountains, pastures, markets, beaches .....

The first painting is a view from the camp-site in the riverside village of Belcastel, in the Avreyon region. The second is from the river walk in the medieval city of Cahors Perigord.

Belcastel, Avreyon

Cahors, Perigord

How lucky to live in the age where holiday moments can be captured forever on film. We tried many different types of holidays on our trips to France ... camping in tents and trailers, staying in auberges (traditional inns), hotels and gites (holiday homes) but for the final 7 years most of our trips were with our own touring caravan. We explored many different places over the years, but always seemed to return to one or other of our favourites for a 'quick fix' every now and then! Great times and memories.

Anyway, I enjoyed doing these pen and wash drawings very much, even though I had no real idea of the 'rights and wrongs' of how to go about it. It was amazing how long the pen work took, and how much concentration! I can't help wondering how they would have stood up to Nita's scrutiny if I had been lucky enough to be in her class this week!

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7 Aug 2006

Once upon a time I painted a watercolour!

Well here is a surprise .... I was going through my Art Portfolio this morning and found this watercolour painting. I had quite forgotten about it .... it was painted from some reference photographs at a morning class I used to attend in 2002/3. It is not really too bad ... and quite gives me hope that I may one day master the medium after all!

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2 Aug 2006

.... waving not drowning!

I have been doing a bit more research into FREE watercolour tuition on the Net, - looking at my original sites more closely plus a few new ones. Then yesterday Lisa Call left a message on my previous post which got me thinking I needed to maybe add a little more here about my findings.

Lisa is an extremely talented artist who designs and makes beautiful quilts ... each one is a real work of art so do look! Anyway, she had this to say:

"Your post is great timing except I started looking at Bruce MacEvoy's website and I quickly got overwhelmed - wow - he has a lot of great info but maybe not the best place for beginners.

On further inspection I realise that Bruce MacEvoy's site Handprint Watercolor is very technical and would have to agree with that comment ... but what I particularly liked was his A-Z of colour and his analysis and comparison of watercolour paints from 17 manufacturers. Very, very helpful if you want to assess which are the best value for your particular needs. In each subject covered Bruce links what he is explaining to more 'in-depth' analysis, - so that there is always the choice of how far into anything you wish to go. The site is still under construction and I feel certain that it will become the most comprehensive resource on watercolour painting on the Internet.

After a second (and third) visit I still think a very good start for beginners is with Peter Saw for his tips and practice exercises, and also with Watercolor Painting for guidance on brush control and their step-by-step demonstrations. I found that, although the excellent written lessons to be found at Watercolor Talk cover all the bases, there are no illustrations which makes it hard-going, - for me at least!

If, like me, you enjoy learning from seeing how others paint (I gain insight and inspiration that way) then the following two sites have much to offer. Watercolor Online has excellent articles and demonstrations from professional artists, and the section covering watercolour painting at Creative Spotlight also has step-by-step lessons, in addition to heaps of useful information and guidance.

Anyway, I feel that this particular selection covers most of what I need to get started. Soooo! I made a folder of 'How To' Tips and Exercises and have started practising! .... although it looks like it'll be quite a while before I get proficient at controlling both paint and water!

But I'm still waving (so far at least) .... not drowning!

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10 Jul 2006

playing with water

As you know I don't paint in watercolour .... but here are a couple of practice pieces that I painted a while ago. The more I look at watercolour work the more I want to try it too!

I have just put my name down to attend a week-end workshop in August by one of my favourite watercolour artists ...... Ben Woollcombe and I am so excited! It is really invigorating to listen and learn from accomplished artists that one admires. And I promise to write all about the workshop afterwards.

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