Sunday, February 24, 2013

a flock of birds rises over winter fields, first snow: watercolour and mixed media painting in a moleskine folio watercolour sketchbook

a flock of birds rise:  watercolour and mixed media, detail

This is another look at the wonderful late afternoon light over the first snowfall of the year.  Getting the intense glow of the sun wasn't easy - until I treated myself to a tube of opera rose from Winsor and Newton.   It is intense!  mixed with transparent yellow it glows.  Thank you to my friend Robyn Sinclair for introducing me to this colour - another friend  Liz Steele also bought it on her recommendation and has fallen in love with it too!

The whole painting:

It isn't easy to see the glazes and subtle colour changes in this so, further details below:

This was done in the big A3 moleskine watercolour folio sketchbook.   A lovely size to use.   Unlike the S&B sketchbook though, I had problems with the page buckling, meaning a lot of moving the book to prevent gulleys of deeper colour settling - not good (it did dry flat).  The same wet wash in the S&B caused no buckling at all.

This one is mostly watercolour but there is some Derwent tinted charcoal pencil and pastel pencil in there as well.  

The clouds are a little more subtle, a  little  less purple, than it appears in the whole image here - but to get the glow of the sky and reflections on the snow I had to settle for this reproduction.  The cropped details show it better.

The flock of birds was far bigger - but for the sake of the painting I've limited the number.  There must have been 100.   Rooks???  they were silhouetted and it was impossible to tell for sure, but too big for starlings.

And an updated photo of the hedge

which shows it a little better


 write up is here

Other snowy images are here  and here

Word recognition:  Sadly I was getting so much spam that I've had to reset the word check thing on comments - sorry as I find it annoying as well but it was getting ridiculous how much garbage I was getting :>(   Please do leave me comments, I like hearing feedback.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hedges silhouetted agains the snow, winter light: watercolour and Derwent tinted charcoal pencils in Stillmand and Birn Beta Hardback sketchbook


I have always liked the calligraphic tangle of the hedges when they are sihouetted against the sky.   Recent snowfall meant even more opportunities with amazing light and the landscape simplified and hidden by the snow, throwing hedges into relief.

Above is a detail of a double page sketch in the lovely Stillman and Birn Beta A4 hardback sketchbook.  This paper is so forgiving and the watercolour works beautifully with it.  It allowed me to work through wet washes with charcoal pencil - something that tears many papers, leaving holes.  Some of the hedge is paint, some tinted charcoal.

First snow, more on the way, winter light: silhouetted hedges in watercolour and Derwent tinted charcoal in a Stillman and Birn A4 beta hardback sketchbook

The earlier warm golden glow of the low sun is covered by clouds, threatening more snow to come.   The spiky calligraphic marks of the hedge and the underlying form of the bank, with some of the taller dried grasses showing through, interested me. Colours are more muted.  The mix of watercolour and Derwent tinted pastel pencils were ideal to get the subtle colours that now showed.  Most of the white is the paper but there is a little white gouache to regain some of the negative spaces in the hedge - I'm a messy worker so of course smudged my charcoal a bit.

Further details


 I was also experimenting with some new tube colours I'd bought - Winsor and Newton opera rose (wow!) transparent yellow (a replacement I think for Aureolin?), brown madder ( lush colour) and a Daniel Smith Blue Apatite.   The jury is still out on Daniel Smith paints - they are very expensive and so far I'm not overwhelmed by them.  Nice but not superb, not so far, justifying that price.  I only have a couple of tubes but am hesitant to buy more.

I used the ochre, black and brown tinted charcoal pencils by Derwent - I absolutely love these for this sort of scene and light, the colours are just perfect.  They combine well with watercolour too, allowing me to add drawn marks that gel with the paint because charcoal is an innately painterly medium.  Sometimes I drew through a wet wash, making a darker mark, sometimes over dry paper and sometimes brushed the charcoal out a little with water to make a wash.

This may be done as a large canvas in mixed media.

One friend asked 'are you going to do any more to it?'   - and I'm not.   Would you?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Painting snow in late afternoon light, watercolour and tinted charcoal

Late afternoon light on snowy fields, a flock of birds suddenly took to the sky, watercolour and mixed media in Stillman and Birn Beta Hardback sketchbook

Another in the series trying to capture the fleeting dramatic light on fresh snow and to get to grips with the sheer amount of liquid my new brush holds!

This one is difficult to photograph as the photos tend to lose the subtle colours on the hillside and darken the sky just a fraction too much.

This involved Derwent tinted charcoal pencils used with watercolour and a tiny touch of oil pastel in a Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook with its lovely heavy paper.

I'm not sure what the birds were - starlings or pigeons?

And a watercolour version of the hedge:

Again it is done with watercolour plus tinted  charcoal pencils.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

More paintings of snow: Watercolour and mixed media

Winter snow and frozen puddles, watercolour and mixed media

I just treated myself to a wickedly expensive brush and I'm busy test driving it.   It holds so much water!  that's something to adapt to.  It's a size 18 filbert that comes to a nice point.

There is also a little Tombow pen drawing in there in a cool grey and a little of the ochre tinted charcoal from Derwent in the hedges.

I did a couple of others that I'll show another day.

What is your favourite watercolour brush?