Watercolour Plans and Explorations

This week has been one of watercolour plans and some explorations.

Watercolour plan 1 : Open Studios

Watercolour plan 1: The start of the week brought paperwork for Open Studios – and the requirement to make some commitments to painting fresh work and exhibiting. I’ve decided to do both Saffron Walden Open studios at the end of April and beginning of May, and Cambridge Open Studios in July. More on these closer to the time.

Watercolour plan 2 :  Artfinder

Watercolour plan 2: I took a decision to do a blitz sale on Artfinder to make space for new works in preparation for these exhibitions. This has proved quite successful so far and 5 paintings went over the past few days. It’s often quite difficult to see a painting go – we become attached to them somehow. But I’m excited about developing new lines of work this year and this will spur me on to get my brushes going.

Watercolour Exploration 1: Wash a Week Challenge

This week’s post explores Daniel Smith’s Lunar Blue. Here’s a little abstract treescape painting I did using only this colour. This will go up on the Running With Brushes site when I have time to post it there. (Life is overtaking me a bit at the moment.)

Watercolour exploration - wash a week entry
Wash a week – Week 4 – Lunar Blue

Following Last weeks Wash a Week post on Quinacridone Gold and Quinacridone Violet, I was asked how similar the gold is to Indian Yellow. I happen to have a tube of Indian Yellow I hadn’t yet tried. Perfect excuse to have a go so here’s the little colour swatch I did to see the difference. Separately, they do look quite similar because they are both strong colours. Put them together and you can see the difference.
Watercolour week yellow and gold comparison

Watercolour Exploration 2: Abstracts

On Friday evening I went to the monthly meeting of the Saffron Walden Art Society to see a demonstration of Abstract painting by local artist Joyce Crabb. I’m increasingly interested in Abstract art, and I think probably lean towards semi-abstract myself in some of my looser work. I’m not sure I’ll get comfortable with pure abstract work – at least not for some while, if ever. But I will be experimenting a bit more on the fringes I suspect.

Watercolour Plans 3: Tidying up the studio

I’m a book junkie (and a colour junkie as I’ve said before). I have a fair collection of art books and magazines in my studio. When I set up the space for my painting I insisted on having a corner with a sofa and table, as well as a bookshelf, so that I could sit quietly and enjoy dipping into this exciting reference material and inspiration.

Watercolour plan - tidy the studio

 

A year or so ago, I did a workshop in oil painting with Stephen Higton and decided to start doing a bit of work in other mediums, so I bought a large easel, amongst other things. Its fabulous to have it, but in a small studio, it was always a bit in the way. No matter which way I positioned it, the bookshelf was obscured and it became a mission to reach it.  Result: books not read, or books and magazines stacked all over the sofa and any other free surface so I could get to them.

This weekend I had a brainwave about repositioning things and got stuck in to moving furniture before I got started on painting. The result:

Watercolour plan - after the tidy
Space to read!

What’s in my artists studio: Folders and aimless painting

When I published the first What’s In My Artists Studio post last Friday, Judy Barends mentioned in a comment that she was also putting her partly completed painting in folders. Great idea. So I’ve followed Judy’s advice and divided my paintings into five categories – all in folders – four of which you can see in this photograph. The fifth is a Work In Progress folder for paintings that are almost done, but need to rest while I think about their progress. These sometimes stick around for a long time before the inspiration strikes and I know exactly how I want to finish them.

Folders for organising incomplete paintings. Getting it all together in my artists studio
Folders for organising incomplete paintings

One of the things I do with my scrap paper when the spirit moves me, is just play with the paints. Laying down water and various intensities of colour, and then adding a second colour a bit further down the page. With a clean wet brush, just lightly join the two , leave the paper at a fairly steep angle and watch what the pigments do. There’s a lot to learn from these little aimless exercises, and the best part of it is that sometimes you get some glorious results which are beautiful  in their own right.

Paper offcuts. Perfect for experimenting with colour. Watercolour artist: Vandy Massey
Paper offcuts. Perfect for experimenting with colour.

Although this isn’t a completed painting, I think the wash on this little pigment play is so lovely, I’m nominating it to be my Day 10 painting for 30 paintings in 30 days.

Other posts in the What’s in my Artists Studio series:

– What’s in my Artists Studio: Incomplete paintings – now all neatly arranged in folders. Now when I need scrap for colour testing, or a wash to start a new painting, I know exactly where to look.

Next post in the series: What’s in my Artists Studio: Palettes