Sunday, September 20, 2015

A whole year and a bit later, with this watercolour painting of a field of cosmos - this is where I am up to now. It has been on my easel board for so long.
I add a bit to it every now and then - always thinking it is unfinished. Layers of different coloured green constantly (every other month) added to the background.

I keep asking, "Where is the focal point?" but since it is a field of cosmos flowers, there isn't really one point of focus. Maybe there is too much sap green in this painting - maybe this and maybe that...
So I have declared it finished and ready for the postal service to get it to the recipient.

Your thoughts?

watercolour cosmos painting
Field Of Cosmos

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cosmos - watercolour process

It's been ages since I put brush to paper with pigment - and my mind has been busy with thoughts of creating something for some time now. Funny thing I know about life is that, when a thought keeps popping up in one's head - the only way to 'get rid' of it is to make a decision and take action on it...
And so it is with my current expression in art - finally getting the paints, paper and sketching done. Then it's simply a matter of filling in the shapes with colours diluted in water.

Step 1:
Get your paper on a board - stick it down with artists tape - wet it - let it all dry and stretch -
then draw the outline of what you want to paint.
This BIG piece of paper is 56x76cm

Step 2:
Block in some colour to define the shapes...
Since it's been a while - I found my painting 'skills' a little rusty. But the upside is, I'm not worried about making mistakes or trying to get things 'perfect'. As long as something is happening on the paper - my intention is to enjoy the process no matter what. The Universe applauds action - not thought. Though at some point, thought is the catalyst to action. No, I haven't studied philosophy :-)
I started off using cadmium yellow hue to define the center pieces of the flowers
then followed up with wet in wet shades of pink, red and purple

Step 3:
When the first layer of paint had dried on some of the flowers, I went over them again - adding more definition. Some of the larger flowers have been painted petal by petal. i.e. paint one petal - let it dry - then another petal and so on. Coffee is a good comfort whilst waiting for paint to dry...
I had some 'old' paint still dried into my palette, so decided to use up the green that was there to define some of the stalks and leaves. Once done, I will rub out some of the pencil lines - which look too dark to me.

... So this is where I am up to.
I'm not sure yet whether I will have a white background with lots of finer detail on the leaves of the cosmos flowers, or if I will use masking fluid to cover the flowers - then go with a watery dark background. All in good time. But the weekend is over with and I have a busy week ahead so will leave this unfinished painting somewhere I can see it often and let my mind figure out whereto from here.
I'm just enjoying the process so far and know that the person getting it as a gift will be pleasantly surprised when she gets a 'tube' in the mail one day.

Step 4:
This was just  an addition of more pink to the mix and going over some of the other flowers to create darker shades to define the shadows a little more. Then back on the stand where I can see it.

The camera didn't do as good a job as the previous pics, but I think you get the gist of what I've done.

Step 5:
I've had it in my mind that I am going to go for the full background of colour. Having made that decision, I 'sacrificed' a cheap paint brush on liquid latex (masking fluid) to cover each flower and prevent the white blooms from being ruined. In my mind I have painted the background already. It will be a fast and furious play of pigment - so I wont have the time to paint around each flower. Yay for masking fluid.
And this is what it now looks like...

Step 6:
Well, I learnt a valuable lesson about masking fluid - one I learnt many years ago, but had forgotten about.
When you use masking fluid, it's a good idea to NOT leave it on the paper for too long.
I masked the blooms one evening - fully expecting to fill the entire background in the following day.
Had a chat to someone who knew the other someone I was sending this painting to. She suggested I  leave the background white because the blooms looked "rather delicate" and that a background might "spoil it".
Fair enough...
Then it turned into a sunless weekend and before I knew it - a week had passed. So I cracked on and sprayed the painting with a paint laden toothbrush - trying not to overdo the background.

Delicate isn't my thing - so I'm a bit in limbo on this one now, but I want to get it finished...
Because the masking fluid had dried into the paper as a result of being there for 10 days - when I removed the stringy strands of latex - quite a bit of the pigment on the blooms came off with it - including some paper in parts. So, just have to do some work on this and I should have the final pic for uploading

Step 7:
... stay tuned...

Friday, November 04, 2011

watercolour and ink

Having a little playful time with watercolour and ink, I decided to copy an acrylic painting by R W Lawrence of Arniston in South Africa...

Arniston whitewashed cottages

I rather like the whitewashed walls and thatch roofs of these iconic cottages

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nigel Bragge

My friend Nigel has a blog... - called, "Look at what I have just painted"...

So I looked - as one does, and I was instantly aware that Nigel has his own style. Some people just have it...
Others (like me) take a while to figure it out.

So now I am inspired by his blog...
The challenge for my next pic is to create something that is totally different as opposed to a place I have been or something I am reproducing from looking at it in front of me.

Thanks Nige

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Watercolour paper - does it matter what type you get?

I recently did things the old fashioned way and I have to say, sometimes, the basic fundamentals prove themselves to be the best.

What am I talking about? - well... PAPER

I had a whole supply of watercolour paper that I've collected over the years - different sizes - but mostly the same manufacturer.
Mostly - bought from a stationery store. (Not dissimilar to many of you readers from this blog...)

So, with all that paper around, I made a firm committment not to buy any more watercolour paper until I had used it all up.
Then I got a sheet of Art Store paper and went through the whole process of wetting and stretching the paper with gum tape. (more about that later)
 And I painted on the stretched paper - thouroughly enjoying the experience again for the first time in years.
Did I get lazy inbetween, or was I just sucked into the clever marketing or ease of mass produced paper?

The point is, at the time I painted on the art store sheet of paper that I'd so lovingly stretched- I also bought another pad of paper too.
I have to say, the manufacturer hasn't done themselves any favours. There is a definite lack of quality from the pad of paper I bought last month - to the comparison of the pad I bought a few years back.

So now I'm spoilt and am going back to doing things the old fashioned way and enjoying the benefit of a better quality paper.

Does it improve my painting skills? Hehe, we'll have to wait and see on that one.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

painting people - watercolour

Another watercolour - originally landscape - cropped and framed to portrait...
painting people in watercolour

Trying to keep things simple here and not be so realistic...
This was done from a photo I took last year.

My thoughts were to capture the essence of sitting outside in the sun, watching Southern Right whales - to give as a gift.

I first started with a simple drawing of the elements I wanted to include

then came a basic/light wash of cobalt
whilst the paint was still wet, I put a blob of raw sienna where the faces are. you'll notice how it expanded...
when that was all dry, I painted the background mountains of Hermanus in ultramarine - making sure that they gradiated light to darker.

painting people - process

I was going to incorporate the foliage of the plant you can see in the photo, but then that is the beauty about painting - you're in charge, so you can decide what elements to incorporate and what elements you want left out.
Had I included the foliage, I think it would have come out in the painting looking like a shadowy monster that detracts from the essence of what I wanted to show.

more to follow...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Guest Artist - Joan Knoesen (2)

Joan Knoesen - Wuppertal 

I am back home and will now have a chance to digitally document my grandmother's art - I hope...
There is a story behind this painting - like all paintings I guess, so I'll endeavour to find out the details and share it with you all.
This is a painting of Wuppertal, a small town 72km southeast of Clanwilliam and about 250km from Cape Town. The little shop on the left hand side is where they manufacture and sell veldskoene. A veldskoen is a basic leather shoe - directly translated as 'field shoe'.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Artistic Urge - Creative Surge - Drought

Anybody ever been here?

The ideas flow and the hand puts brush to paper on a seemingly constant output of art.


As suddenly as it starts, the creative energy seems to dry up and nothing happens except good intentions.

I walked past my office the other day and saw my brushes all forlornly standing to attention in the jar that holds them. Paint tubes and the new palette I bought still sit next to them.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Volcano and paint

this an image I took from our recent holiday to 'volcano country' in the middle of New Zealand's north island. I think I will enjoy painting it.

Or, anyone want to paint it and send me a pic to appear in the GUEST ARTIST slot...?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On the road to Havelock - South Island, NZ - Acrylic

My latest venture in acrylic landscape from one of my photos.
I thought it would turn into an interesting project - using three canvas panels. This was a decision based on necessity...

1) I didn't have one of those long skinny canvas blocks -
2) the thought of trying to transport it (if I did have one) was not something that appealed to me
3) I DID have one of those cheap 3-packs so decided to use it creatively for one project

Will be back to write details but enjoy the photos in the meantime...

Sketching with violet always works for me.

Looking more like the Antarctic...

Here I used a watery dilution of Blue Lake to "prime' the white background.
There is still some left - I have it in the fridge in a plastic yoghurt container with a cling wrap film for a lid. No kids in our house so no fear of it being drunk by mistake...

Painting some of the fields and hills with lemon yellow, yellow ochre and cool yellow. I did these in thin layers of yellows so the optical mixing of the blue underneath made green...

Then a bit of burnt umber to define the leafless trees and bushes...

Using a few more layers of blue lake to define the sky - I chose to keep the clouds out of the scene, but think they might have to be added at some stage - too BLUE...
More definition to the hills using ready mixed greens with some ochre and white to highlight the ridges.

Now I'm beginning to think this is turning into a "dull" painting, but learning as I go.
My last trip past this spot gave me another opportunity to view the hills at a different time of day, so I'll be able to 'draw' on that when I get to the next step...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Guest Artist - Tero Nurminen

This is from Finnish artist Tero Nurminen based in Helsinki.
Click the link to see more incredible works by Tero.

When I first saw this painting I was amazed and said, "Now that is real art...".
Especially since I have a "thing" for frogs.

Here is some info from the artist himself...
size: of the painting is 150cm x 240cm.
medium: acrylic on canvas.
name: sweaty afternoon.

Look also my art from the Finnish artists union home pages: and there is page named: verkkomatrikkeli.
Then search by name: Tero Nurminen.
You can also check Saatchi gallery online, and search by my name.
There are my latest works which are very strong paintings in my opinion.
They are painted by flowing acrylic paint on canvas when painting is laying on the floor. Canvas is cotton duck and its own colour is important element in the finished painting.
best regards

Tero Nurminen

Friday, July 20, 2007

What is this? - Acrylic Ink on Watercolour Paper

acrylic ink

This is a recent painting I did for Painting About Com's July Painting Project.
But before I tell you all more about it, I'd love some comment on what you all think it might be...
Just a little bit of research to see what different views people have of this painting...
Hit the "comments" link below this post to let me know.
Thanks very much...

Well, that was the painting... Now for the inspiration of it...
It was taken from this Google Earth image and from browsing Google Earth of this place in the north west of South Africa.

Art Expression

Friday, July 06, 2007

Guest Artist - Joan Knoesen (1)

Joan Knoesen - "On the road to Wanaka"

Joan Knoesen - "On the road to Wanaka" - Oil on canvas panel- 8 by 10 inches
Central Otago, south island, New Zealand

This painting is by South African artist Joan Knoesen and was taken from a photo I sent to her a few years ago.
From an early age I remember being captivated by my grandmother's art - her ability to put paint on a canvas and produce an image that evoked emotion and thought is, I'm sure where my love of art grew from.

Whatch this space for more art from Joan Knoesen...

Art Expression

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ink Flow

Another ink doodle that I like and since some of my other paintings have been relegated to the definition of 'practice runs' - it is here...

Art Expression
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