Watercolour exploration…and… all change!

Recently, I have been developing my watercolour approaches and starting to think about the sort of new art works that I want to create.  In particular, I’ve been thinking about my watercolour development.  How do I  create works that are related to but distinctly separate from my urban sketching and reportage illustration?  Having a studio gives me more questions and more scope!!

As I mentioned in my previous blog about watercolour, I’ve been starting to look at different media and the sorts of ‘paintings’ that interest me the most.  This is fundamental to my beliefs about the purpose of paintings.  I prefer the more impressionistic approaches and those that angle to a more abstract view.  I prefer to  allow the observer to ‘get involved’ and use their imagination! That said, I think I will always be grounded in the real world and a need to create a sense of place, at some level, in my work!

Watercolour development-Pigments, paper and brushes

I’ve started to explore colour and tone in my watercolour development.   Specifically I have explored how to achieve reflective light effects and the full range of tonal values with watercolour.  I’ve also started to develop my understanding of colour mixing of watercolour using a pure pigment palette.  The palette I am using is here (please ignore the top row):

watercolour palette

I’ve also started to use a selection of brushes for different aspects of painting.  These include Flat brushes, a Hake, a mop brush and two rigger brushes.  That is not to mention an unruly bristle one (that I haven’t used much yet!).  All have their distinct role.  The paper I’ve moved onto is Saunders Waterford (140 lb; 340 gsm) Not paper (see Venetian canal image below).  I originally used Bockingford which I find buckles and is not as good (see Alcatraz image below).

Watercolour development-Paintings

I created both paintings shown below from photographs on a desk easel in my studio.  My aim was to develop a greater understanding of tonal values and to be able to achieve the  full range of tonal values in the paintings.  Both were done using the pigment palette and brushes shown above.

watercolour practice

watercolour venice

watercolour development architectural

What’s missing?

I have evolved my thinking and my understanding about my visual work through my watercolour exploration over the last few weeks . Based on this exploration, I am keen to develop more of a textural approach in my work and a more individual response.   I am struggling to see how I do that with the pure watercolour approach I’ve been following.  My background in landscape design has driven a keen interest in texture and composition.  Therefore I need to explore other opportunities to achieve the layering and rich surface textures that I am seeking.  Previously, I have used mixed media/ collage approaches in design.  I am now going to explore how these can be developed in my artwork.  Watch this space!



10 thoughts on “Watercolour exploration…and… all change!

  1. Hi Liz. I’ve enjoyed looking at your work over the last couple of years and it’ll be interesting to see where you take this.

    I really like the work of Alvaro Castegnet. It has freedom and a terrific sense of light and dark. I’m sure you’ve probably already seen his watercolours but if not, they’re worth a look!

    Good luck. @philwhiteradio

    1. Hi Phil, Many thanks for your response. Yes I am familiar with the work of Alvaro and it is very good as you say. I think though that my work is going to take a different path to that of traditional watercolour. I just need to progress this textural angle I am interested in! We will see where it goes!

  2. You may well have seen both of these people’s work, but another artist who has a different approach to watercolour is Jake Winkle. I don’t like all his work, but it may be worth a look. Oh and a great exponent of textured work is Soraya French. She is a mixed media artist, but may also be worth a look…

    1. Thanks Denise, yes I think Jake’s work has some similarity to Judith Farnworth/Jean Haynes at least in some ways. I have seen Soraya French’s work but not looked on her website (until you mentioned!).
      Thanks Liz

  3. Forgot to say on the previous comment…

    Have you tried any of the none traditional watercolour papers, like Khadi, or ones made from other fibres like banana leaf? They have often fab irregular surfaces. If you don’t like the absorbency you can size them too.

  4. Certainly creating raised texture is tricky in watercolour unless you use lots of concentrated paint but I do think you can create interest with the appearance of texture with pure watercolour. This may not be enough for you and as others have recommended someone for you to look at, I would recommend Ann Blockley whose work is very spontaneous with lots of texture(I have seen her create it and she works very instinctively and intuitively). She uses different mediums so granulating medium which creates as it suggests, granulation and unexpected effects, she uses acrylic inks and though I have never seen her use Acrylic paint I suspect she does if she wants her work to move in that direction. Check her out as well….

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