Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ho Ho Ho .....quick sketch!

A quick sketch of guess who!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm tree decorating!

This year I'm decorating two trees, one at home and one when we get to our holiday home. 
Oh, I love this time of year... I'm in my element!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sketches and studies of the West Coast

I am here, haven't fallen off the face of the earth, just yet! Thought I'd catch up a bit and share with you some news.

I cannot believe there are 25 days till Christmas! I have so much to do before we leave for our annual holiday to the coast. But the spirit of Christmas is upon me as I have started making some Christmas presents and am about to pick out a colour theme for my tree. I don't take all my decorations on holiday with us as we wouldn't be able to get much else in the trailer! I normally buy a live pine branch from the Salvation Army, but that became a mission as they were an hour away from our holiday home. Then a nursery used to sell them on the side of the road not far from us but their branches were sparse and empty and not very attractive. I finally invested in a lovely artificial tree a few years ago which we take with us and pack it back up in its box each year. I love Christmas time as it's a time of giving and spirited with happy moments indulging in family and loved ones in a special place we love... the coast. I am so blessed!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel down to the West Coast in the Cape. I wanted to capture some scenes of life there as it's fascinatingly different in contrast to the east coast where we normally spend our holidays. The people are different and the vegetation rich with low-lying indigenous fynbos and contrasting in comparison to the the east coast. My main aim was to take a trip up north to a little place called Paternoster. Legend has it that the the village derived it's name from the grateful prayers of the shipwrecked sailors, Paternoster meaning 'Our Father'. An old fishing village where fishermen still moor their boats on the beach after bringing in their catch of the day. The feeling of a bygone era still permeates the air with the quaint little whitewashed cottages that hug this small stretch of coastline and fishermen selling crayfish from their boats. Many an artist has painted the beach scenes there and have felt the urge to share in 'their way' the life of this attractive village.

My first small study sketch of boats on the beach at Paternoster

Colourful boats moored on the beach

White pristine beaches with the old fishermen cottages...
 but the waters are icy cold

Fisherman coming in with their catch of the day. 

 'Bokkoms' (sardines) hanging out to dry. I typical sight in 
Paternoster and delicacy of the locals.

I will be painting more of this beautiful trip I took to the west coast and show you the diverse scenes of the Cape. Now where did I put my painting hat??????

Till another time.... have fun painting!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A hard 2 months.....

The reason I have not been very active here lately is that I have lost both my Father-in-law and Mother-in-law within 7 weeks of each other. They were the rock beneath my husband and the loving grandparents to our children and I loved them too. They were 87 and 88 respectively and although they had lived a full, exciting and long life, the family were never ready to say goodbye.  The passing of my Father-In-Law from a stroke on the 2nd Sept and my Mother-In-Law shortly afterwards from complications in her health after his passing was a huge blow to us. Our days were taken up with daily visits to to hospital, making new plans for Evelyn. and trying to adjust. When Felix passed away after a stroke we took time to and heal and mourn. But Evelyn, (not strong due to dialysis treatment, was trying hard to adjust to not having Felix around to look after any more) developed complications. She spent 5 weeks in and out of ICU. Finally on the 25th October she slipped away after a brave fight.

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.  ~Author Unknown

I'm praying that the Lord grant my husband and his sisters strength and hope they all  find calm in their hearts to weather the storm and find peace to carry them through this tough time.  Both Felix and Evelyn are now in a happy, peaceful place, together! 
RIP. We will miss you both!


Monday, October 18, 2010

My sincere Apologies

I extend my sincere apologies for the accidental removal of your comments in some of my posts. Not too sure what I was thinking when Blogger asked me to clear away some spam mail...... and without thinking, deleted a whole page from my detection page. That was so silly and now I've lost some of your wonderful comments. I feel awful about it and hope you will accept my humble apologies for this stupid error! You feed back is always very welcome and most valuable to me.

Hugs to you all

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Gentle Giant

Had a bit of a challenge going with a friend this week. He mentioned to me that he wanted to paint an elephant in gouache. Strange thing was, that I had been breezing through some of my photos for inspiration earlier that same day and came across one of an elephant I wanted to paint. I had told him about it and he said we should set ourselves a challenge... just for fun. I felt a bit intimidated that he suggested this challenge as his work is magnificent and so intricately painted. See his work here. My work is loose and much quicker to paint but I agreed! This is by no means a comparison between our work as we both have unique styles and work in totally different mediums, but I must say, I was touched that he was subtly giving me a boost and encouraging me to paint. Robbie has been so supportive and really been such a thoughtful friend when I lost the motivation. I have come to realise that online art friends are so very valuable and are the best critiques.

Here is my attempt at my elephant. It is far from perfect but I managed to find the inspiration I needed. 

Gentle Giant  (best viewed large)

I have an idea to do a larger version of this and develop this painting further. Looking forward to seeing Robbie's elephant and will post it here when he has completed his painting.

On this note, I would like to also extend my warm thanks to all my blogger friends who have taken the time to leave a comments to my work. Hope to keep up the motivation and be inspired to paint (hopefully one a day) with the love and encouragement I have received on my blog.

Till next time...... Have a great week!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Fair Cape

Feeling a bit nostalgic of late, my mind takes me to the Cape where my eldest son is studying at University. I'm feeling the maternal tug of separation and find myself missing my son terribly lately, although I think he is very happy to be 1400 km's away from home right now. Which university student wouldn't be? Campus life is armed with wonderful opportunities for young people where independence and joyous carefree spirits converge. But my heartstrings which for 18 years so lovingly enveloped a child are being twitched and I am drawn to wanting to be near my son. I have the urge to be in (his) space right now, possibly just to feel a connection and believe I'm right there with him.

This brings me to the 3 watercolours I painted. They are painted from photo's I took when I was down in Cape Town in January settling my son into University.
This is the start of the forest below Devil's Peak on the road up to Rhodes Memorial. The mist lay heavily over Table Mountain that day and just a hint of the base of the mountain was visible through the pines. Rhodes Memorial looks directly over the University of Cape Town. The views from here are spectacular and you can see fore miles.

A quick sketch of Cecil John Rhodes. This is the statue at the Rhodes Monument to honour the British colonist come mining magnet and Statesman who forged world trade into Africa. Founder of Rhodesia now Zimbabwe and funded the Rhodes Scholarship. I like to believe he is watching over my son from his perch up on the slopes of Devil's Peak, giving him the resolve to achieve his goal at UCT.

Another quick sunset sketch of the view of the mystical Table Mountain in Cape Town looking from Bloubergstrand. Devil's peak is not too clearly portrayed here but it's the bulge on the left hand side of Table Mountain. Lion's head and Signal hill lie to the right. The sunsets are awe inspiring and many tourist has marvelled at the spender of The Cape and her rich beauty.

"Few world cities can compete with the natural backdrop of Cape Town. This beautiful city sits below the immense bulk of Table Mountain, is fringed by gorgeous beaches and cushioned by productive vineyards. But really all it takes is a ride up the mountain in Cape Town's iconic cable car and you'll understand why the city is so high on our list of places to see before you die."  Avril Field

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Portrait Givaway Contest

A wonderful contest has just enfolded by my blogger and Facebook friend Crystal Cook. A real master of beautiful portraits so lovingly painted is offering the winner a portrait of their choice. Please clickeither on Cryatal's name above or the link on the right hand side bar of my page to follow instructions and enter.

 A beautiful Portrait done by Crystal Cook
Have a great weekend!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wake-board Whizzkid (WIP)

I decided to do a work in progress piece as an exercise for myself. My son went away with a few friends to the Vaal Dam, an hours drive from where we stay. Sounds like they had a good time by the looks of the photographs he showed me. Anyway, when I saw this pic I decided that it was going to be my next painting.

I think I'm happy with the way it turned out although my husband says there is not much of a likeness..... but does it really have to be my son? I'm not too phased.

After sketching the subject on my stretched paper, I used masking fluid to preserve the white spray around the wake board. I painted a light blue wash over the water. When dry I started painting the features and body.

And then started with the wake board.

Moving on down to the reflections.... this was not an easy feat but I ploughed on.

After adding the reflections of the body cast on the water I felt that it was a bit harsh and lightly sprayed it and mopped the damp paper with a tissue to soften the colours slightly. When that was dry I started adding the blue shadows on the spray and painted in the background and the ski rope.

I put it aside for a while as I'd worked on it all morning and was feeling a bit weary. This also helped me to change gear and refresh the brain. I felt the water was a tad light and added another blue wash which brought the painting together a bit more. When it had dried I removed the masking fluid and darkened the spray a bit more to tie the reflections to the body.

Hope I've managed to do this, please don't feel shy to tell me what you think. My son is thrilled with it and I suppose that's all that matters.

Have a wonderful weekend and happy painting!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New York City..... where dreams are made of!

Our trip to the USA brought new ideas and wonder to my art world. This painting of Conservatory Waters nestled in Central Park NY was alive with wonderful inspiration and beautiful settings for any artist. I would have been happy to have sat there all day just sketching all the sights and scenery, but we had limited time and were constantly on the move to try and get the most of this concrete jungle.

This painting is a late afternoon view as we approached Conservatory Waters on the south east side of Central Park. Most of you will recognise it from a few movies which were shot there such as 'Home Alone 2', 'Stuart Little', 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', Kramer vs Kramer to name a few. I loved the way the sun was catching the sides of the buildings and casting wonderful orange reflections in the water of the pond.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary !

Well, I'm still around and happy to report that I'm now slowly getting back into painting again after what seems like an age. The last few months have been quite exhausting and busy to say the least and I have really missed my painting. The World Cup Soccer has long passed and visitors have all safely returned home. My stepdaughter's wedding  in the USA went off wonderfully and I can safely say we are over our jet lag and ready for the final haul of 2010.

As I type, spring is about to pounce on us and have already noticed that some trees in my garden have started shooting. Sadly, I missed a few little Daffodils in my garden that came into bloom when I was away. Does this mark my 1st year anniversary of my blog? I remember my very first post on my blog, it was a photo of my first Daffodil of the year. Gosh how time flies!  It seems like it was yesterday! May I take this opportunity in thanking all my wonderful blogger friends who have so diligently popped in and left me inspiration and goodwill comments on my work over the past year. You guys are great, and I appreciate your time. THANK YOU!

I have the WSSA (Watercolour Society of South Africa) 84th National exhibition coming up in September and I need to get some paintings done to submit for it. Unfortunately, I have hit a blank wall for ideas at the moment so will have to really channel my energies into that over the next day or so. Wish me luck!

Lastly, What's a blog without an image.......? This painting I leave you with was a little bit of playing just before I left for the States. I have never tried this before and had so much fun creating it. I laid tissue paper in strips onto 300gsm watercolour paper with Gesso and washed watercolour pigments over the dried paper. The textures it made were quite inspiring. What came from it looks like crags and crevices with  foothills in the foreground. What do you say? Could this be somewhere in the Drakensberg mountain range in KwaZulu Natal? Anyway, wherever this painting takes you -  hope you enjoy it.

Have a wonderful week, what's left of it!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Morning with Richard Rennie

I was treated  through the Watercolour Society of South Africa  (WSSA) to a wonderful morning watching watercolour demonstrations by South African acclaimed artist Richard Rennie. Born in Zimbabwe (formally Rhodesia) and now settled in a little arty town called Clarens in the Orange Free State, Richard is fully adept to painting in oils and acrylics, but because of his impulsive nature, found watercolour his medium of choice. Richard has had too many 'one man' exhibitions to mention and has exhibited his work in South Africa and abroad. Whilst in his quest to expand his range of subjects which include more impressionistic abstract landscapes, he has returned to painting in oils, acrylics and mixed media.

A completed landscape - Richard Rennie

A delightful person to know, Richard kept the class entertained with his keen sense of humour and had us in stitches as he quietly demo'ed his beautiful work. He claims he is too old to do workshops and now quietly paints whilst his class look on and throw questions at him.
 Richard starts his paintings with a Wet in Wet sky before 
moving onto a Wet on Dry landscape
I was blown away by his non-conformist "breaking-all-the-rules" philosophies about watercolour.
Firstly, many of the things I've ever been taught in watercolours were totally blown out the window. There must be some truth in his approach to watercolour if his beautiful watercolours are anything to go by! His sky's are out of this world. His colour selection is very unplanned, he told us NOT to ask him which colour he was using as he didn't know. His palette as huge and looked in disarray with colours mixed all over the show. He did happen to know one colour which is a favourite.... Australian Green Gold made by Art Spectrum. I would assume that it's a wonderful colour to use in painting South African landscapes. He uses a lot of Holbein pigments too. He likes the rich colour it produces and waters down well to get a transparent finish.
An abstract landscape Richard completed for us in under 20 minutes.

He believes we need to go and play in the sand with our new brushes.... just to ruffle them up a bit!!!!!
He claims bad brushes produce the best work! Huh? go figure!
He also never refreshes his water pot.  I've never seen such dirty water..... just he way he likes it.!
Richard unconventionally works from the outside of the painting into the focal point as he believes that you can focus on the main focal area last and add to it if needs be.
Richard Rennie with a completed landscape. Don't know if you 
can see but note his brush just sitting in his rather brown looking water bowl.

I thoroughly enjoyed my morning and wonder if I'll be making use of Richard Rennie's beautiful yet unconventional methods of watercolour. I suppose we all as artist strive to learn constantly in our quest for self-satisfaction and gratification.

On the sixth day, God created the artist, realizing no doubt that He had far from exhausted the uses of color. (Robert Brault)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Life through Artists Eyes!

Cam ~  sketch of a little cutie-pie

Something got me thinking the other day which intrigued me. I was wondering why artists see the world around them differently?. Why do they see things non-artists don't see?. Is it something they are taught or is it just inherent in them as artists?.That's really fascinating and as someone who wasn't always a visual artist, I've definitely found myself looking at the whole picture more and more. I have had no formal training but it's just something that seemed relevant to my work. Have I subconsciously taught myself to look for things like form, textures, light & colours other than the actual picture.

Ravi Vora, a Creative Director with a degree in advertising , summed it up quite simply... we can teach ourselves to observe things in order to release our creativity.

So, all the artists reading this, have a look around you and see if you can seperate the observations of an object or picture from assumptions.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sock in the Darks!!!

There are days in our painting lives when we either find inspiration from nature or get inspired by things we have seen which attracted the eye, either with light, colour or texture. Last night whilst going through some paintings by wonderful artists I read how one artist had used a spray bottle to wet the paper over the pigment which was applied to the paper quite thickly. She let the water disperse over the paper and waited till it was dry before adding the detail to her painting. Seeing that I was in a floral mood, I decided to have a bit of fun last night and explore this technique as well as bubble wrap.

The flowers below are from my imagination - could be a Lupin, Larkspur or Lilac, anyone's guess!

After adding pigment straight from the tube onto a shaped piece of bubble wrap, I pressed it onto the paper in different areas of my page. Then taking the plastic off the paper I sprayed quite intensely with my spray bottle, keeping the paper at an angle so the pigment and water could run off down the page. Not all the pigment bleeds away which leaves intense colour in parts where the flowers are (or shadows). Going back in with more bubble wrap to intensify the darker side of the flower and leaving wonderful deep colours of pigment. I washed in the background colours after the paper was dry as well as adding some foliage at the bottom.

I'm not too sure if this is finished though! I'd like to add in a few highlights where I lost some of the light on the tips of the flowers. I quite like the effect and the way the purple flowers glow.

How fascinating it is when you have a vision and are able to put it on paper. You also discover along the way that with a bit of imagination, you could experiment with other things to create textures and shapes.
I love this medium so much.....Watercolour, with all its subtle colour and value gradations and its many welcome surprises, is the perfect medium for capturing mood.

-on watercolour
The only virtue to it, is to put down an idea about what you feel at the moment. (Andrew Wyeth)

....until next time!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Last day of Jean's workshop and painting session.

Goodness,! It's been a long while since I last wrote on my blog! I do apologies for being so inattentive.

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.

Another attempt.......

I was a little happy with they way these turned out, but Jean was thrilled.... now, the toughy!!!! 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...................

Monday, May 3, 2010

Indian Cooking Demo's - In time for winter!!!!!

A friend is about to start a couple of real authentic Indian cooking demo's. All sound absolutely mouthwatering! .If you are interested.... please call the number listed below to book.

I have begun this new and exciting venture and would like to tell you all about it...

Authentic Indian Cooking Demonstrations
Chef Naz

Come and learn how to prepare authentic Indian dishes.
Presented in a professional demonstration kitchen
Conveniently located in Rockvale Estate, Lonehill.
Ample safe parking available.

May 2010 Demonstrations:

6th May
Traditional Chicken Biryani. Chicken marinated in yoghurt, saffron and fragrant spices, served layered with Basmati rice.  Indian meals are traditionally begun with something sweet. Jarda, sweet rice prepared with saffron, almonds and dates.

13th May
Soft, sweet vermicilli, fragrant cinnamon and pistachio nuts. Roasted chicken marinated in garlic, red chilli and lemon accompanied by spicy potato and Roti.

20th  May
Kalya, chicken marinated in yoghurt, red chilli and spices. Accompanied by  Puri, fried Indian ‘bread’. Ghaas, rose and cardamom flavoured milk jelly made with agar agar, a gelatine of vegetable origin.

27th  May
Lamb curry with a thick, spicy and delicious gravy accompanied by Roti made on a traditional Indian ‘tava’. Sweet Soji halwa, cream of wheat prepared with saffron, cinnamon and cardamom and toasted alomonds.

Classes start promptly at 06:30. Approx 2 & a half  hour duration

Learn the specialized techniques acquired through several generations
Simple to understand and easy to replicate

Chef Nazerit Essack has trained internationally as a professional chef for the last 20 years. She is currently lecturing at one of the leading chef’s schools in the country.

PHONE TODAY to confirm availability as space is limited.
072 582 9273

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My new Toys.....

On the last day of my UK trip, I went through to London on the tube. I landed up in Trafalgar Square! What a different sight met my eye from the last time we were in London some years back - NO pigeons!!!!!!!!!!!! I hardly recognised the place! The square was jam packed with youngsters and tourists milling around and sitting on every ledge and every step, just enjoying being out in the fresh spring air. Once I'd got my bearings and strolled a while I discovered a sign saying "DO NOT FEED THE PIGEONS", I then realised why it looked so different! I have wonderful pictures of the pigeons on my son's head's, nipping their ears, trying to steal seed out of their pockets - but now, there were NO pigeons. My memories of them were wonderful, despite their annoying habits!, But I felt a tad sad that they weren't there to greet me this time.

As I wondered around, I caught sight of the National Gallery which I decided to pop in and look around a while, seen I had a bit of time to spare while I waited for the hotel to get my room ready. What a wonderfully awe-inspiring place to visit. There are just rooms and rooms or should I say floors and floors of art pieces from artists of all centuries and mediums... quite something!  After about an hour I'd only seen a third of the gallery, but I wanted to move on as I was running out of time.

As luck would have it...on my way back to the tube, I came across an art shop Cass Art shop.... some of you might know it. I had a really tough time turning my head and just walking past as by this time I should have checked into my hotel, but curiosity got the better of me and I stepped inside.What a wonderful artshop .... watercolour paints by the score, palettes, mediums, magnificent paper and so much more to tease the artists soul.... some of which I wish we had here in South Africa, but due to freight charges and our exchange rate the selection is limited. As I was gleefully scanning the shelves at all the marvels, I could barely contain myself when came across the most exciting find of my trip..........

 2 squirrel hair mop brushes

Now, I'm sure that some of you are probably thinking 'why did she spend all that money at that shop, as there are plenty other shops to choose from'. Well in truth... I have wanted these brushes for ages and I acted on impulse, and didn't mind.... I NEEDED these brushes. The hardest choice was choosing the size I thought I'd use often. I'm so thrilled with my new acquisition and these are two of my favourite brushes at the moment which helped me paint my Stonehenge sketches.... I'm sure I'll be using them a lot more now too with the loose style I have been practising at my workshop. "Happiness is a new set of brushes"............ pity better brushes don't paint better paintings!

Until next time.......

Friday, April 23, 2010

'Simplify' Watercolours with Life Workshop

Colours, fusions and textures next. The day started off a little warmer than the previous morning, so I was feeling as though the UK spring had really paid me a special visit, just for a bit of sensory overload, and to get the watercolour juices flowing. On my short stroll to the hall where the workshop was being held, I caught the sight of a batch of Daffodils growing on the side of the road with the most wonderful backlit colour. This made my day and was rearing to go on day 2.

The word that stood out for me the whole day was 'SIMPLIFY'. From the word go Jean thrashed the word out and we started the day with a wonderful demonstration of some lovely Stocks she brought in. Colour is very evident in Jean's work and she showed us how to make a simple white flower sing by using complementary colours to bring out the whites. The colours she used were Turquoise and Winsor Violet, creating a basic outline with the Turqu and bleeding it away quickly as Turqu dries fast and is staining.
So after a morning warm up of splashing a bit of colour on paper we set about watching our first Demo 

Jean painting the first wash of the Stocks

Jean added Violet  into the wet Turqu for interest. By using some of the colours for your background that you will use in your main subject gives it life and helps tie it all up. Thinking about colour and softening the hard lines with a clean wet brush create highlights and blending into the subject giving it tone and form. For a detailed subject as these Stocks, only a simple background is needed.

 A completed painting of Stocks Jean 
painted some time back

The paintings are built up using 3 layers....
  • 1st - a whisper of the main subject.
  • 2nd - another layer as the first, adding other colours.
  • 3rd - detail

We then went on to painting Delphiniums, this time painting the subject and then creating a subtle background around it. This was so much fun....... Using French Ultra Marine Blue and W Violet and giving the shapes a good base for the first wash. Because of it's intracity, a simple background was painted. Again, painting blobs of paint not the actual shape.

Jean's first wash of 'Blobs'... Delphiniums,

Trying my hand at Stocks.....

  My Dephiniums and Stocks

A demo of a market scene for some of the class by Jean took place while others went back to their tables to paint flowers.  Her demo of how to start and work away from a point of interest keeping clean fresh colour was the main objective of this study as some of us wanted to gain insight as to where Jean starts her 'busy paintings.    

 Jean's demo of a French Market

A brief quick sketch on how to achieve different effects on other varieties of flowers  was done for us after a wonderful pub lunch at the Inn down the road...... I must say that a glass of red wine does help the brushes to flow more freely. In this exercise, were trying to establish the different choices we make with regard to colour, placement of pigment and brush strokes, while studying individual flowers and adding life to them.

Flowers of all types are demonstrated by Jean here...

The Dafs she showed us next were a wonderful wind-down for the day. A mix of varied brush strokes and the use of cool and warm colours and use of light, all in negative painting . Jean does an awful lot of splattering which gives the painting movement. This is very evident in her cockerel paintings we have seen. I was amazed when she splatted a blob of 'orange' in the side of her Daf... but it worked so well, just adding to the excitement of her work. And on that note, before we could even blink the painting session was done.... sad because two wonderfully inspiring days were over but happy in the fact that I was afforded this wonderful trip to come and witness, again, the inspirational wonders or 'magic' Jean weaves with her hand, and meet some of my lovely friends from last year's workshop.

Jean's Daffodils... with a bit of bubble wrap
for excitement.
But the day wasn't done yet... Some of us were treated to a visit and a glass of bubbly at a nearby gallery who was exhibiting Jean's work. This was a special outing as we got to see her work all framed and on display in abundance. I must say, it makes it all worthwhile, the effort we go through, just to achieve lovely sell-able paintings. One feels the reward by seeing them all hanging up together, what a pleasurable sight...... and that is something worth aspiring to! Thank you Jean!!!!!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

An Award

Before I forget...... Just before I left for my week with Jean Haines I was kindly awarded "Happy 101 Award" from a wonderful blog friend Martine-Alison . Please take a peek at her beautiful work, she has a wonderful eye for detail and imagination which transports you to a fantasy land. Thank you Alison for this wonderful thoughtful trophy and your cheerful happy replies to my paintings!

 As is customary, I have to forward this on to 10 'happy painters' I follow and whose work I find inspiring. This makes it awkward as I'm finding it hard choosing 10 of my favourites. Each one of my blog friends holds a special something in their creations for me.
So, I am dedicating this award to all the special people whom I follow on my blog list. This award is for all of you who make this world a happier place, for sharing your work and also for helping me keep my brush on the paper and not in my paintbox.....Thank you all! Please feel free to copy this award to your blog page if your blog is listed on my blog list. Happy painting!!