This time last week an artist was arriving here from South Africa for my Watercolours with Life Spring workshop and now the whole week has passed so quickly as if in a blur. We were so lucky that everyone who came managed to home before the airports were affected and flights cancelled due to the volcanic ash
Before I started painting any subject I often used to paint a few marks on scraps of paper with a variety of colours to see what effects I could gain.This also helped to acheive a good closeness in colour accuracy. While my work is free and spontaneous I put a lot of thought into each new painting.
An exercise I used to carry out before each new painting.
As years have flown by time taken on these swatches has become less and less because I am coming to a point where my instincts are taking over . From experience I know intuitively which colours work well against others, how they interact and which should be used to gain more impact. Time taken to "play" over the years has rewarded me well as knowledge of colour really does make a huge difference to our results. Knowing exactly what each pigment is capable of is so vital to being a better artist.This leads me to question why so many new artists jump straight into painting a "masterpiece" and then wonder later why their finished works weren't as pleasing as they had expected them to be.
My advise is to slow down and enjoy the beauty of colour. Play with it, understand it and enjoy it for all its diversity.
I will be returning to Africa this year and I hope my experience in watercolour has grown to the point I will be able to capture more than the quick " blur" as in this very old painting of zebra.
My favourite memory is being face to face with a giraffe that had wandered near a lodge. I can remember painting giraffes non stop at that point in my art life in the way I paint cockerels non stop today. I painted camels all the time when we lived in Dubai. Maybe our surroundings do play a huge part in the way we see colour and how we fall in love with our subjects. When I look at these zebra I see how far I have come in my art journey and I also know how far I have to go!