I was so pleased with last week’s successful watercolour paper stretching (and painting!) that I couldn’t wait to see if I could repeat it.
This subject matter I chose wasn’t my usual fare, but I thought it would present a good challenge from a ‘stretched paper’ perspective, as well as a painting perspective. Technically, I thought it presented a number of challenges, from the graduated washes in the sky and reflection through to the mass of shadowed foliage on the left.
I was a little remiss in keeping much of record as I went along but here’s how it looked after the first wash:
There’s no doubting the benefits of stretching paper when you’re working with broad wet washes – even when it turns out I haven’t done the best job of stretching the paper and it still buckles a little!
Next up was adding the distant hills, the tree line along the horizon leading round to the mass of foliage on the left, and strengthening the painting throughout.
Finally, adding in the branches of the dead tree and it’s reflections.
Overall, the image is a bit chocolate-boxy for my liking. It’s one of those views that I’m not convinced a painting like mine brings anything to that a photograph doesn’t capture. I was however quite pleased that I was able to do the scene any justice at all and, as a subject, it was a good test of the stretched paper.
My favourite part of this painting? Well I think it’s the small 8-10cms section of distant trees behind and just to the left of the ‘dead tree’ – I think these trees work really well in terms of tone, colour and variety. There’s part of me that feels a little despondent about this. It is, after all, a whole heap of painting to only be able to single out one small element that you think works particularly well; but perhaps each of these ‘mini-highlights’ represents a little breakthrough of some sort?
Usually, when I assess a painting, I can identify pretty quickly which parts I could paint better if I were to tackle it again. My list of potential improvements, more often than not, is pretty long! Every now then however, I think you can find a specific part of a painting, it could even be a single brushstroke – where you can take some satisfaction from the feeling that you just don’t think you could have painted that that particular element, or handled a particular brushstroke any better. However small and however infrequent these occurrences may be – I think these moments are to be cherished and celebrated, especially as we spend so much time admonishing ourselves when things don’t go as well as we’d like!
The anonymous heart charity art auction
Last year I contributed three A5 sketches to an anonymous art auction to raise funds to support the amazing work of Heart Research UK. Here’s a link the post, A wonderful watercolour feeling, Last year my contributions raised a total of £358.66 – so I’m hopeful that this year’s contributions will do even better!
The auction opened for bidding last Friday, and will close this Sunday, 13 October at approximately 9pm. It looks as if there have been 455 submissions, so you’d have to search pretty hard to find my submissions Heart Research UK Charity Art Auction
Without wishing to give too much away, this is after all an anonymous art auction, the combined bids on my submissions (yep, clue number one: there’s more than one!) so far currently exceed £100. As well as revealing which were my submissions, I’ll also provide an update on how much they raised in next week’s post.
I’ve had a quarter sheet of paper on my Ken Bromley Perfect Paper Stretcher that’s been burning a whole in my brushes (I know that the expression is about money burning a whole in your pocket – but I hope you get the analogy!). Unfortunately, this burning sensation coincided with a complete dearth of inspiration on my part.
I can’t remember the exact chain of events, but here’s where I ended up! This is the front cover of Rowland Hilder’s 1966 classic, ‘Starting with Watercolour’:
And here’s my quick study, albeit not done in the precise style of Hilder, but more of my own interpretation and without using any gouache or body colour:
I know it was probably a little lazy of me to take this derivative approach – especially when I’ve been trying of late not to revert to ‘copying’ from others, but hey-ho – I enjoyed doing it and, for a quick sketch, I quite like the result.