Saturday, September 29, 2007


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14 x 10 in  -  36 x 25 cm.    

This was done using the ultra traditional watercolour technique of multiple washes. This always take a while with lots of pauses to let the work dry before adding the next layer. The problem is that each wash is an opportunity to make a mistake.

I think I much prefer the faster "one touch" approach in which you attempt to get it right first time. OK, sometimes you know you will have to come back and restate an area but it the "one touch" approach you try to avoid such things as you plan out the painting.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cartman Bean and Caffe

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10 x 7 in  -  25 x 18 cm.    

Just a bit of fun. This is my first ever attempt at "Line and Wash". You draw the line with a waterproof pen and later add a wash. I will have to learn to be a lot more accurate with my "line".

New Red Car

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6 x 9 in  -  15 x 23 cm.     Another Challenge painting this time of someone's brand new car. Trouble is I have made it look a bit beaten up. This was fine for my series of Cuban Cars but not quite the most appropriate effect for a brand new sports racer.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

John Yardley copy - Two Vaporettos

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10 x 14 in  -  25 x 36 cm.     This is as the title says is a copy of a John Yardley painting. John is an influential UK painter whose distinctive watercolor style is admired by many. While my copy lacks such a lot it does have something of the masters inspiration. Below is a photo I took of the original, taken of course, with the artist permission.

If you don't see the weaknesses straight away look at the front of the smaller vaparetto. It really does not hang together, Click the main image to see the larger version of the copy.

John Yardley's original

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shoe Horn, Phone and Tape Measure

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9 x 7 in  -  22 x 18 cm.    

Second attempt today at the sketching challenge. Not as good as the previous painting. I have let this turn from a 'sketch' into a 'study' and I am not sure that the work has benefited.

Scissors and Stapler

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11 x 6 in  -  28 x 15 cm.     It's about time I improved my watercolor sketching. By chance yesterday I spotted a group of web based artists doing just that. They list a number of objects in their challenge and you have to sketch them FROM LIFE. Painting 'from imagination' or from 'photo references' are NOT ALLOWED but you can take a photo after it is done to show others your inspiration. This was my first offering.

I am pleased with it. The stapler is a bit off but my 'no fiddle' rule came into play and I left it alone.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Four on the Wall

I don't get many of my paintings framed, mainly because I think of my work as being experimental, a way to learn.

These were different, as they were painted as a memento of a trip we made to Cuba at the end of 2005. Three of them were painted back in July. The other was done earlier. The first two, of the six in the series, are now in the USA.

If you trackdown the individual images of the painting (in this blog) clicking on the image will get you to a larger version and to a link to the reference photo for that car.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Three Sunflowers

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13 x 10 in  -  33 x 25 cm.    

I would have liked to have got more merging of the dark centers of the flowers and the petals but I could not pull it off. There is a limit as to how far your should work watercolor even if you happen to be using watercolor paints that are on the opaque side.

Still the shapes are good. Of course much of that is down to the photographer (not me). But I did make the tight crop from the original ref.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Faces from the Past

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13 x 10 in  -  33 x 25 cm.     This one has to count as experimental. The reference image is a pre WW One photo from the Balkans.

The colors are Perylene Maroon and Prussian Blue with a dash of Raw Sienna in the woman's face. I think this is one of those that looks better small and declines in attractiveness as you get closer.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On the Anvil

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13 x 10 in  -  33 x 25 cm.    

I cropped the ref, to get strong shapes, ones that are cut by the edge of the image.

On the whole I think that this has to be marked down as a picture that has not quite made it. The core problem is that of needing a lot of darks and still wanting the transparent feel that makes watercolour so special.

Looking at it more I think I should also have taken a bit more care in the hand shapes. And the skin tones need to be much stronger to fit well with the darks that should surround them.

The core shapes are strong and interesting but of course most of that is down to the photographer and that person was not me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Three Sheep

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14 x 10 in  -  36 x 25 cm.    
This was also a "challenge painting" from a shared reference photo. I cropped a much larger reference down to these three fellows. The theory behind this approach is roughly.

  • Get an interesting set of shapes. It is good if they intersect the edge of the painting. This is why I choose this particular crop of the reference photo all three heads shapes cut a boundary.

  • Draw (and Paint) the shapes with reasonable accuracy. My drawings are quick and freehand but I am always trying to get the key core shapes. For example, that ear of that sheep. Not just any ear but that ear.

  • Paint the tones correctly. Get the darks (correctly) dark and the lights (correctly) light.

  • The color then won't matter - If you get the first three things right then almost any colors will work.

It can be surprisingly hard to get the tones correct when using strange colours so the painting stage needs more thought and preparation than you might expect.

After all that did it work - I will leave you to judge but it was fun to paint.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lilacs in the Jug

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13 x 9 in  -  33 x 22 cm.    

This was another weekly net challenge painting. This reference in particular was a classic "good to paint" image. By that I mean it has good strong basic shapes and even better these shapes intersect the boundaries.

I messed up with the central clump of leaves. I should have left them alone after a pass (or two) but I could not resist trying to make them darker. However the Charles Reid type splatter at the end improved the painting a notch or two

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Purple Glories

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14 x 10 in  -  36 x 25 cm.    

This appeared to start off OK but fell off towards then end. It was another net challenge to paint it in just two hours. After it was finished I could see the cause of the problem.

I had painted in it a classical watercolor approach base or mother wash and then added latter washes each getting stronger. However I should have made the original mother wash in the lower green area MUCH darker then when all the other layers were done the bottom of the painting would have set off the lighter petals in the upper half really well.

Instead I tried to paint more and more green layers into the bottom area and it ended up too much of a mess.