So many of you have asked over the last wee while as to what my studio now looks like; what sort of things I use and how I organise my bits and pieces. I can't say that it is set up exactly the way I would like - sort of a work in progress, I'm always finding new ways of placing things. None-the-less, I have put together a quick whizz through and hope it helps out your curiosity.
I might - at a later date, put together a series of these videos to show you my usual habits and workings. I think it is always nice to see how other artists organise things and what their days might look. I still have to share my days with teaching and business paper work, which at times seems never ending. Eventually, that will lessen and I will be able to put my heart and soul into my watercolour and writing. Well, that's the plan, anyhow.
So many afternoons, I can't wait to pick up my paint brush and just paint. However, given the busy-ness of the world and that teaching often consumes my hours - especially around this time of the year - this is not always possible. Sometimes, I just have to be satisfied with 20 minutes or so on the weekends. No, it is not enough, but if that is all there is - I'll take it.
It is unfortunate, but if one does not get regular access to practice - like the old saying goes - 'if you don't use it, you lose it.' I think this saying is very valid, when it comes to water colour. Continual practice is necessary, as is remembering which paper or brush worked the best under the conditions. Remembering which treatment you used, whether it was wet on wet, wet on dry, dry on dry, to ink before or after you paint or for that matter did you ink while the paint was wet. I think if one has regular practice, you don't have to think about all that because like driving a car it becomes second nature - part of your usual working.
I am forever sacrificing my painting time, while I am trying to earn a living. However, because I so enjoy doing what I do, I just keep plodding on, despite the fact I often take two steps back and one step forward.
This Christmas, I have challenged myself not to tackle doing any animals at all and have returned my hand to more traditional, botanical art-forms. Actually, it was in response to someone asking me, if I ever did botanical works.
Long ago, when I first started out painting - like many artists, one is destined to tackle plant forms only because one often finds the painting - less strenuous when one is trying to master a new medium.
For me, it is an opportunity to revisit 'control of the medium' - in this case, watercolour. If you have read my last post, you will realise I also wanted to tackle new techniques that I have not had an opportunity to do so. Christmas time not only provides time to relax, but allows one time to extend one's abilities. So in this piece, I have tested salting my baubles, to get a shimmery effect. It's not quite as I had experimented, but you will have to agree, the natural flow of pigment pooling to one area on the bauble, works well in this watercolour piece.
What is perfect? There is a time in one’s life that appears too good to be true, maybe that is perfect and maybe - life is perfectly, imperfect - for that is all we need to aspire.
#perfection #sketa #godsblessings #live #life #loveall #laugh #begrateful #merryxmasall
Over the last week, I have endeavoured to crank up my efforts of watercolour and focus on a 'Christmasy' theme. And although not a huge collection of works surfaced, I have learnt that it is not the amount of work one puts out, but indeed the quality of work that evolves.
I have learnt a great deal, stretching myself toward other areas of watercolour technique that I would not have explored had I not chosen to pursue a different theme of enquiry. Playing around with all sorts of paper again, using what was intended for a variety of uses (of which watercolour painting was not suggested), enabled me to test my ability to produce works, even though the conditions were not perfect. This meant, I was compelled to resolve whatever issue that arose.
Some of those issues were: soggy paper, pilling, weak colours, inability to layer paint and glaze, transparency of the final product, mounting issues and the list goes on. However, valuable lessons can be learned and discovery of which types of surfaces one prefers to paint on, can also be discovered. And believe it or not, I have now come to the conclusion - after all these years, I don't really like painting on the standard 300 gsm watercolour paper, presently available .
My reasons for this, I love having the freedom of creating a free, easy and very fluid style of sketch up with graphite or ink.
I hate my tools catching on the grain of the paper because of the coarse-textured surface. Ah, I know what you are thinking. How about trying smooth surfaces like hot press Arches, Fabriano or Waterford? Well there you have it - smooth surfaces are available to work on, but both the pencil and ink nib do not easily glide easily across the surface; there is still a great deal of tension involved. They're nothing like sketch paper.
So, I compromised. I sacrificed the ability to apply huge layers of watercolour, for the ability to bring back life to my drawings. I went back to the basic 80~100 gsm copy paper. Yes, copy paper. I grew up using much the same thing. Having three other siblings in our family, meant we weren't always blessed with spare cash to buy up all sorts of paper, whenever I needed it. So, I got used to testing out a picture on copy paper or whatever paper Dad had lying around in the paper recycle basket. Using this sort of paper, I really needed to lay-down watercolour quickly, because if I didn't the paper would get all soggy and the surface would be a mess.
Anyhow, this week I got so frustrated I actually went though my entire drawer of art paper, just to see if I had any old paper - so I could 'find my hand, again'. If you're an artist you will understand what I mean. You'll also be asking, who keeps paper for that length of time. Me. Over my years, I have learnt to savour each sheet of paper, because it was always hard to come by, when I was a kid. Plus, I'm a bit of a tree-huger and I could never waste a tree's precious gifts, knowing they take so long to grow.
Back to my point, surprisingly I found in the back of my drawer, a sketchpad of 'Bockingford' paper. Can I remember from where it came or when - Nope. Yet, this lovely paper has delighted me all week and I am now on a major search for this exact paper. I expect it won't be as yellow as mine and will have improved over the years, but I hope not. I'm keen to see what I can find.
I'm also keen to know, what watercolour paper you use? Any pet hates?
A weekend filled with glassing, framing, matting with the odd coffee or two, proved to be quite successful this October. Time seems to have got away over the years and catching up on the odd, artistic job that should have and could have been done years ago, was on my list of things to do.
I don’t tend to outsource any of these jobs, as many of you realise; keeping a firm hand on quality control until the very end is important. Especially, if the the job is close to one’s heart and has significant meaning.
I grew up being part of the framing process, when my Dad was alive. He would mat and frame all sorts of things - from greyhound prints to wedding and informal photographic prints that seemed to forever multiply on the workshop bench. As a young kid, there was always something for me to do - glueing or measuring- being careful to line-up all the markings to just right spot.
Dad was a perfectionist and a great teacher, and I guess over the years of me being a great watcher - for all things ‘workshop’, I would like to think I became a great disciple.
Dad was a great tinker and could put his hands to just about anything and miraculously, it would be fixed or made into something one would never expect. Yes, it was a great privilege being an observer in my father’s workshop - filled with magic. There was always something to learn from those gnarled, skilled and caring hands.
I am all in for re-vamping old things that have stood the test of time and have served one well over the years. Sometimes, they are really hard to replace because they are particularly unique or just because they remind us of things that have occurred in ones life, or they mark a turning point in our lives. Either way, giving them a major overhaul keeps the cherished item in one's home, but allows it to continue being memorable, but also useful.
So out came the screws, off came the seat - with a bit of grunt and grind - and away I tossed the inner dead foam to reveal a tired old piece of hardboard. What to do with it was a challenge and how was I not going to waste, but not going to buy anything new...?
I wanted to make the covers washable and I also needed to still protect the board. I had a few old cushions lying around and decided to clip them into a new round shape by removing the white piping and zipper. Yes, I need to put the zipper back again, once I changed the shape and had to insert the new foam from the original square cushions.
The board I re-glued, sanded back and covered with mounting board because I had surplus of that lying around. Then, I edged the circumference with good-looking, but used braid that I had collected over the years.
Once I finished the seating, I repainted the chairs with gold enamel paint and the job was done! Yes, it did take a couple of days, some sewing and a bit of clever thinking, but now I have a brand new setting that will last me - quite a while longer.