Friday 12 February 2016

Canson Moulin du Roy Watercolour Paper

Watercolour on Moulin du Roy

I have recently been sent a few samples from canson in response to an article I wrote for Leisure Painter. They read that I had used a canson pastel board and wanted me to try other papers in their range. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to try something new and I wasn't disappointed. I am yet to try the other surfaces (hot pressed and rough) and the Mi-Teintes toothy paper. The 300gsm cold pressed paper was perfect for the exercise above. The aim was to identify the main tonal shapes that make up the whole, especially when tackling complex scenes. It does have a simplified, abstracted finish but it was a useful lesson in observation. The paper had just the right levels of absorption for my style & approach; it was whiter than most good quality papers & the colour seemed to flow beautifully. I will definitely invest in this paper when I place the next art materials order!

A Serene Walk through the Woods

Watercolour: The Pouring Technique

What a wonderful way to start my winter workshops .... pouring layers of wet wash over my cold pressed paper! It was so uplifting and rewarding watching as the scene emerged in front of our eyes. The three primaries were poured one at a time to establish the light source and then the structural elements were painted, with care, to set the scene. Roland Roycraft was the artist who inspired me many years ago to try pouring. His work is absolutely beautiful. Unfortunately he died in 2011 but left a legacy of work behind for us to enjoy. He lived to a ripe old age of 93. Do look him up.

Acrylic Ink and Acrylics

I have been asked to run two workshops at the Patchings Art Festival in June this year. Quite a challenge to put various layers together in 3 hours! I decided to put my ideas to the test and include this combination into my winter workshop itinerary.  As always, my students "stepped up to the plate" and produced the most beautiful work in 5 hours. I gave them quite a difficult reference but they managed to interpret and paint unique artworks. They had to make use of their drawing skills, wash work and impasto layering in order to reach the finish line. The feedback was invaluable.

The Old Bookshop & Santiago de Compostela

The Old Bookshop: Mixed Media with Ink and Washes

Santiago de Compostela: Mixed Media with Ink, Washes and Impasto detail

I have been amazed at how popular mixed media has become. Most of my students are wanting to explore new combinations and possibilities, which is really exciting for me. I still emphasise the importance of fine tuning ones's drawing and painting skills in order to experiment and push the boundaries. Mixed Media needn't be bright and garish, it can be subtle and beautifully designed. In the above examples (top: an unfinished example from a workshop & the other, a tester for a future class) we used dipping pens and acrylic ink to map out a delicate illustration. Copy was then well placed and thought given to the design of the shapes. Coffee washes helped to soften the layers and merge them together. We used some of our own calligraphy for added texture and interest and then darker tones were strengthened or added to sharpen edges and areas around the focal point. I added  some texture to the surface of the architectural facade so that I could apply oil or acrylic paint to make the focal point stand out.

Thursday 5 November 2015

Celtic Breeze - A Commission

Celtic Breeze. Oil on Canvas. 50cm (w) x 40cm (h)

I have been given the most wonderful commissions over the years and this was no exception. After many a secretive meeting and emails, we finally presented the birthday boy with his gift: a painting of his boat ... a passion in life. We had so much fun plotting his surprise, but his wife and I were relieved to finally hand it over in case the cat got out the bag!

I was greatly humbled by this beautifully compiled email from the owner of Celtic Breeze ....

"We’re heading back to the boat today so we had a small celebration for my birthday at the weekend when Julia gave me your wonderful oil of Celtic Breeze  opposite San Giorgio’s in Venice.
It truly is a terrific present and such complex, devious plotting that must have gone on behind the scenes to create it, only adds to its emotional value. The picture itself is a wonderful depiction of the boat and perfectly captures all that makes her a special home from home for me. The background of San Giorgio’s adds both architectural, geometric contrast and beauty as well as capturing a unique highlight of our sailing travels. The painting itself magically uses all the colours and more that are involved in such a scene; I can hear your voice extolling us inadequate pupils to greater heights of colour adventure as I look at the white hull and see the richness of the colour you have employed to depict that otherwise bland surface. Simply put, I love it and I thank you for the skill and effort you employed in a subject that was a new challenge for you and is now a treasured gift for me."

Squerryes Court - A Commission

Watercolour: 58cm (h) x 39cm (w)

I was thrilled to be given a commission to paint this beautiful estate this summer. It has been on my radar for many years ... a familiar attraction in my neighbourhood. I finally had the opportunity to visit Squerryes Court and its stunning grounds, with my client, on a warm May day with my camera and sketchbook in tow. My client's daughter was fortunate to be getting married in September and her wedding gift from her parents was to be a painting of the location of her wedding day. The overall impression was to be loose, colourful and romantic. A wonderful and fulfilling challenge.


Oil on Canvas

I put my oil students to the test by giving them this still to copy. Their brief was to paint certain objects in a restricted number of strokes. I was excited by their results! Being aware of the number of strokes they had to use, influenced their style of painting as well as the shape of the stroke and the amount of paint they deposited on the canvas. Their paintings were dynamic and very much alive. Very rewarding from a tutors point of view.