Today I woke up to a rather dark overcast morning with heavy clouds looming overhead. It has definitely also dropped a few degrees in temperature since yesterday. We lit a fire in our lounge in the hope that we can warm up the house on this mizzy, lazy Sunday. A perfect day to add to my blog, don't you agree?!
I also realised that I have not finished off the notes of the last day of Jean Haines' workshop we attended in April. So best I now put on my thinking cap and try and remember all the things we did on the last day of the 'Watercolours with Life' workshop.
Although I have added some photo's of some of the things we did on the 2nd day I would like to go back in with a bit more detail as to how to get some of those juicy washes that Jean so effortlessly achieves.
Jean started off by explaining to us about 'starting points' and bleeding away from that point.
If you were to study your photo, or if you were painting from life, You'd need to establish what the focal point of your painting is going to be. If it were to be painting an animal or portrait, the eye would normally be the first thing that attracts a person to a painting. In the case of a landscape or still life - a house, tree or prominent flower is a good indication of where to start.
The first demo of the day was the little Muscari and Primroses. Jean had a starting point in her mind. In the Muscari, Jean started with dry brush stokes of tiny blue 'marks' and worked away the colour with water to soften and make it more alive. Remembering NEVER to go back in after you have added water as this will just loose its natural feel and add unnecessary brush marks. Let the paper dry if you need to add a layer or two.
Another tip is to ALWAYS look at your subject even though you might know it well or have painted it numerous times before. Painting imperfections will add character to your subject.
After her demo's we all went off to do 'our' interpretations of what Jean had taught us. I found a lovely Anemone in Jean's vase of assorted flowers to paint. My starting point was the centre of these interesting flowers. Working away with the petals and then finally adding the stems and background, remembering to leave the white paper to trap the lights.
I was a little happy with they way these turned out, but Jean was thrilled.... now, the toughy!!!!.....to put it into a whole painting!!!!!!
After we all got a chance to paint our wonderful blooms, we watched Jean do another demo of Daffodil's. Here she explained that the petals were the same size roughly as the circumference of the trumpet. The trumpet was crated with side brush strokes. (No initial sketch) The petals were painted, painting around the shapes, leaving some incomplete (for movement). Adding colour to the outer edges of the petals and bleeding away from the centre of your work gives balance and allows for depth. Whilst still wet, she added tissue in the shape of leaves onto the paper and applying more green pigment around the tissue. Also whilst still wet, for added texture, a strip of bubblewrap was placed on the wet pigment. Here is an example courtesy of Jean.........
Jean's example of texture added to a painting for interest.
Adding splashes and colour to background.
Another Daffodil by Jean with bubble wrap for interest.
I decided to go back to my table after that demo and paint the Stocks from earlier as a full painting with flowers fading into the background, using Jeans techniques.
The day was exhausting again and we slept peacefully that night dreaming in watercolour and wondering what awaited us the next day at Jean's home.
Jean's cottage was like those you see on chocolate boxes. A cute thatch double story down a narrow country lane. We were welcomed with slobbery kisses by Taffy and Bailey who were so excited to see us all again. After we got settled, Jean took the dogs leashes out and we all went for a leisurely stroll around her little village countryside. Lambs were merrily wagging their new born tails as the sheep and horses looked on at us with total curiosity. The grass in the fields and meadows were so green, it made your eyes hurt and the fresh spring morning air was so refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed my morning walk and felt energised for the day's painting. We managed to get lots of photographs taken and found plenty inspiration for our painting session back at Jean's home. Once back after a cup of coffee we settled ourselves in and around Jean's garden and painted, stopping only to watch the antics of her two adorable dogs and cats who looked like they were putting on a show specially for us.
A stroll down a country lane.
Some curious onlookers....
Splashing paint! Having fun! courtesy Jane Minter
Painting in Jean's Garden. courtesy Jane Minter
We all enjoyed our day and some of us got quite a few paintings done... unlike moi !.... who ended up with a lot of binners.
I must say one thing about my trip to the UK this year..... I absorbed much more and felt a sense of achievement more so than last year. Possibly due to the fact that I knew what I was expecting this time round. I had seen Jean paint before, so this year I applied all my energies into just quietly taking in all I could of Jean's wonderful painting styles. It also helped taking notes!!!
Thank you so so much Jean....! I feel so blessed to have been able to come and watch you paint again. You are also a wonderful host and you made me feel very welcome. Your love and passion for watercolour shines through in every stroke you lay on your canvas. Anyone who is able to enjoy a workshop with Jean is extremely fortunate. I wish you the best of success with your book Jean (which I have now finally pre-booked online).I will always look back on these days with fondness and a smile!
Till next time...................