Sunday, 9 June 2013

Facebook Integration

I've been trying to link this blog to my Facebook page - but when I did through Twitter, a thumbnail of another artist's not very good painting was included in the post. I didn't want anyone to think it was my painting, so I deleted it entirely as it wouldn't allow me to delete the thumbnail alone. I have now removed the link between Twitter and Facebook and instead hopefully set up a link between Feedblitz and Facebook and this is a test posting. While talking about Feedblitz I'd also like to let you know that when my subscribers receive an email of my posts, the adverts included are nothing to do with me but automatically added by Feedblitz. 

If you've any comments or tales about social networking, I'd be interested to hear them!

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Watercolour musings - talks about materials #2

I'm often asked which colours I use in my paintings. Actually I don't use very many and they tend to be very similar in watercolours and oils - tonight here are the watercolour colours:

Ivory black
Lamp black
Burnt umber
Raw umber
Burnt sienna
Raw sienna
Yellow ochre
Lemon yellow
Cadmium yellow
Cadmium red
Alizarin crimson
Cerulean Blue Hue
French ultramarine
 An unknown green - maybe viridian!

I think it's just as well to have a reasonably limited palette and I find all my needs are met from this choice of colours.

Be careful when mixing colours - it is very easy to make mud. You want to keep your colours clear and vibrant. You will find, as you use them, that some are easy to scrub out almost completely whereas others have a very strong stain. Greens seem to stain the paper very quickly which I think increases my antipathy towards them;  I hardly ever use green. When I need a green I usually use lemon yellow and lamp black with the tiniest smidgen of green which may or may not be viridian!

Enjoy yourselves!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Watercolour musings - talks about materials

So today is the first of my watercolour discussions. I would say straight away that I always use artist quality products - I know some other artists use cheaper materials successfully but I have tried them and couldn't get on with them at all. I use Winsor & Newton watercolour paints although I would not suggest that these are superior to other makes, but they are what I started with, liked them and have stuck with them. 

As for brushes - well I must have tried hundreds! Other than my large wash brush and my faithful old 'scrubber' all my paint brushes are sable. Well I say all, that's not entirely true - amongst them are a few brushes manufactured with various mixtures of man-made and sable hair which I have bought in optimism that maybe a new brush had been discovered which would be my perfect brush, but these have always to date, been relegated after first use to mixing paint colours or cleaning my palette. I can only paint with sable and I use a round brush. Most of my work is done with a no 3 sable as I've found with trial and error that with this size I can get a nice point or a nice splay, depending on what I'm painting, together with a reasonable amount of paint holding. Sadly brushes do lose their 'sharpness' quite rapidly and I have to supplement my brush collection frequently. I am still on the look out for the perfect brush which I doubt exists!

Now I mentioned palettes. It will probably surprise you that I still use the travelling box of paints, with the palette an integral part of the box, which I first started with so many years ago! It really is a nuisance as it's difficult to make a large amount of wash without it slopping into it's neighbour's well, but I've never even considered using another palette. In fact I do have two plastic palettes bought for me, but I have only used them for acrylic paint! 

I think paper is a very personal choice. I would suggest you visit your local art shop and buy a sheet of several different makes. You will also need to find out whether you prefer a rough, hot pressed or NOT, also called cold pressed, surface. I like NOT which is a medium surface - between rough and the smooth hot pressed. I like the Saunders Waterford brand which is 100% cotton rag and which is strong enough to take a reasonable amount of scrubbing. I always soak my paper in a bath of cold water for at least 10 minutes before stretching it. It really is important for you to try different makes as they differ enormously in the way the paint sits on them and is absorbed.

I will talk about which colours make up my palette in my next post but meanwhile, do let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Artist questions and answers

I quite often receive messages from other artists asking if I could share my 'secrets' and also which working materials I use. In the past I've replied to each separately but thought it would be a good idea - and save time! - if I wrote about any hints and tips I can give on my blog. So - if you want to know, just ask in the comments.

To start the ball rolling I will discuss my watercolour materials, colours and brushes so if you have any questions before I begin, please let me have them now. Otherwise, I shall start discussing my working methods in the next few days.

If you want to email me and keep your name private, please do so to