Sunday, 11 June 2017

Daisies for Elizabeth

Yesterday we held a workshop at my studio titled 'Daisies - Masking for Texture' which was fully booked but sadly a lovely lady had to pull out at the last minute. Not able to fill her place, I resolved that I would put a blog post together, especially for her so that she wouldn't have to miss out on what we covered.
So Elizabeth, here is the step-by-step of what we covered on the workshop with pictures...
1. Using good quality, cotton rich watercolour paper, draw out your subject with just enough to map out where you would like the flower heads to sit.
2. Using a wax resist stick, choose which of the daisy heads you would like to have a soft mask in the background and pressing fairly hard, mask out the petals (not the centres)
3. Using liquid Cold Wax and the bent end of a bamboo skewer, coat the skewer in wax and press in a few lines at random to represent grasses. These lines and the was resist lines will stay on the paper.
4. Using making fluid, choose the final daisy heads to have crisp and sharp in the foreground, you should be able to see from the image below the blue flowers on which I used the masking fluid.
5. Wet the paper thoroughly with a spray bottle and drop in a couple of colours for your background. I chose to use Cadmium Yellow for the centres and then Green Gold and Perylene Green for the background. Quickly apply clingfilm and pull in to interesting shapes to simulate background foliage. Allow to dry completely.
6. When fully dry, remove the cling film and work back in to the surface (which will probably be considerably lighter now), adding darks where you think the piece needs it.
7. When you think that you have done everything you can to the background, remove the masking fluid.
8. To complete the piece you may want to consider the following:
    Spattering dilute white gouache in to the background.
    Adding the yellow in to the centres and making sure the centres have a shadow a the base so that it shows the direction that the flower is facing.
    Re-entering your painting with a graphite pencil for shading on the petals or to define the shapes.
    Adding darks back to the stems.

I hope very much that you are inspired to have a go at this project and Elizabeth, if you are reading this, I hope you feel better soon, Alison

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sometimes, it's not all about the finished painting.

We had an interesting class in the studio yesterday, I teach a large quantity of Saturday workshops and am fortunate enough to have a proportion of repeat clients, so thinking up new ways to tackle some of the issues that need to be overcome in painting, can be a challenge.
I am the type of tutor who is very enthusiastic about each individual participant finding their own interpretation of a scene, rather than copying me. I have hang ups of my own to deal with, let alone inflicting them on others! Therefore, this means that I will guide and show the class what I would do, but then offer a range of alternative approaches so that each person can tackle the project in their own way and hopefully each session becomes different from the last.
Yesterday was no exception in that I wanted the class to have a go at incorporating sand and salt with watercolour ground, but also to try and challenge myself in painting differently and subsequently pass on my experimental approach.
It's yellow, I just don't 'do' yellow. Not in my clothes, furnishings and certainly not in my paintings but this is a daft attitude for a painting tutor, so I have been making myself paint in yellow and using it as often as possible. The solution so far is Quinacridone Gold, for those of you who don't know it, it is relatively new in pigment terms and it is a compromise for me - bright and energetic and capable of making all sorts of other colours - but still it's yellow.
Below you will see the almost finished result of the workshop yesterday, not a grand piece by any stretch of the imagination...

...but it has tackled some interesting techniques. We used a coin wrapped in kitchen roll to blot out the sun, salt, sand and masking fluid for texture and had a lengthy discussion about granulating colours and where you should use them.
Like I say, this isn't going to be a piece that makes it to the framing department (or my husband as he is otherwise known) nonetheless it will go in to the samples book as a teaching aid for textures and for how water can reflect light. It will also be another one to chalk up on the 'I've painted something in yellow' chart and therefore any time spent painting doesn't necessarily have to result in a masterpiece, it's just part of the process of discovery.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My favourite type of playing

Something a little different from me this week, I've been playing with typography (see what I did with the title of this post?.....groan). My husband is in the process of starting up a new band, an exciting project as we go in to 2017 and he works really hard at getting everything to gel, from finding new band members to structuring practice sessions in the studio and thinking up a new name. This is of course where I try to help him out, he is so supportive of everything that I do, it means a great deal to me to be able to return the favour. The name has been a sticking point as it should be such as easy thing, but try to think of something original yourself - it's tricky. After much debate, they have thought of a new name, not to be revealed yet (watch this space) and I have been looking at creating a new logo for them, choosing fonts, colours and layouts for them and I have to say, it's been fun.
Yesterday, I found myself with a last minute, rare day off so my mum and I decided to turn it in to a shopping trip, what a complete chore. Many shops were visited and I introduced mum to the 'Tiger' chain of stores - lots of useless things you don't need but desperately want! In amongst all the chuff was an old fashioned printing set, very like the John Bull sets that my dad used to sell in his stationery shop when I was a kid. I have had a wonderful morning getting very inky fingers and playing around with type, getting frustrated when the letters which have been in the wrong order and I've had to start again, but the result has been satisfying and I have come up with this little stamp to use on my prints and cards - what do you think?

Of course, I have immediately been on line to find additional letters and layouts to play with but it has been a wonderful, absorbing exercise to get lost in on a Sunday morning. I very much hope that you too are enjoying something creative today, share your projects with me, won't you?