Wise painters stay away from pretty photographs of ocean sunsets. I know this is true as I tried years back and yes, I failed. The watercolour turned out to be cheesy, a classic motif to sell to tourists maybe but not a work of art that I was proud of. Nothing I would wish to show to others.
William Turner, he painted many sunsets, he had a certain attitude, he was a rebel, a hero to many, an inspiration to me.
I snapped an evening photo while sailing off the coast of Sicily, I thought to myself, this is not your typical sunset. So dramatic. It’s badass. I had a go at trying to capture the moment. 36 x 26 cm.
I have been using perspex plastic on my watercolour sketching board. I wet the back of the paper then tape it down. After that I wet the front of the paper and let it settle. This isn’t actually my new technique. I am placing a damp cotton sheet between the paper and the perspex before I tape it down. This gives me lots of time to work on my clouds but I have to get used to it. My watercolours are a little pale at the moment but I’m working on it. Practice, practice.
Last week I spent a wonderful day sketching with Daniel Luther on Beckholmen, a dry dock here in central Stockholm. It was so rewarding just trying one’s best to capture the surroundings on paper. Going out with a friend makes it all the more fun.
I am experimenting with damp watercolour paper techniques. There are many ways to keep the paper damp for a longer period so that one has time to paint a scene. I am not going to get into that in this post as I am in a bit of a rush. The most important thing for me is that my watercolours blend well on the paper and the edges stay soft, having more time to work is also a plus. Since being accepted into The Water Colour Society of Ireland I have felt an urge to do a few watercolours of the emerald isle. I’d love to travel there but Covid is still restricting travel. I get my first jab this Friday, feels like a relief that I’m finally getting it.
I’ll be honest. Nudes are difficult. Shading human skin in watercolour must be one of the hardest skills to achieve. It feels that way at least. Luckily, I love just trying and trying, … and trying to master it. One day, maybe – maybe not. I gave this one a good go, I did my best. It’s not fun admitting to oneself that one has a long way to go before mastering a watercolour nude.
To see a larger image please click the thumbnail below
I spent two beautiful days in glorious sunshine painting on Björnö which is my favourite place to visit right now. On Monday I was with a friend who is much better than I am. I learned a lot by just watching his approach to painting a scene. I was a bit stressed to be in his presence to tell you the truth and so I rushed my work. I wasn’t so happy with my day’s efforts so I returned on Tuesday. Link to day 2 here. It’s important to say, I really enjoyed the day, I learned so much and probably the most important takeaway was to relax and take one’s time.
I have been accepted into the Water Colour Society of Ireland. It’s a great honour and it means a lot to me. I grew up there and part of me will always be Irish – even after 36 years away. Damn, time flies.
Being accepted into the society means I will be asked to submit work for the annual exhibition held in Dublin. So I need to get painting those Irish scenes. What a great excuse for me to spend some time travelling along the west coast of Ireland for my art’s sake. ( After the pandemic of course. ) 😉
This watercolour is of Ireland’s Eye. A dear friend of mine took a lovely photo and posted it on Instagram. Thank you for letting me use it as a reference Barbara. The view is from Malahide, outside of Dublin. It’s where I grew up as a teenager.
To see a larger image please click the thumbnail below.
I have been visiting Björnö here in the Stockholm archipelago for many weeks now. It gets a little warmer each time I sketch there. Yesterday, I decided to do a studio painting based on my sketches and photographs. I am trying to catch the Scandinavian melancholy I feel when I visit the archipelago during the winter months. I’m happy with the result.
I am looking for a softer approach to my painting and so I am testing different techniques. In this nude study the paper was very wet when I applied the watercolour pigment. The fact it spread like crazy is exactly why I love this medium.