Monday, 19 September 2016

Monday Inspiration: Daily Washes

 Flowers seen from my studio window
Pigment still wet.

I must admit I laughed when I typed the title to this blog post. Monday in history was always seen as wash day but for different reasons. Washing would be hung on the line to dry. In fact a lovely memory came back to me about my stepmother as I typed this post. She was one of thirteen children who lived with their family in a mining town in Yorkshire. She used to tell me that being the first woman to have a full line of washing out on a Monday morning to show all the neighbours was quite an accomplishment. She would race to have spotlessly clean white linen on the line before any other woman who lived nearby. Each and every week and always on a Monday. Well she would be proud of me because before I walked Bailey, our Bearded Collie, today our bed linen was hanging on the line in our cottage garden but there is no one here to see it. It would probably make a great painting. But my Monday washes are very different and a lot more fun.

While I carried out my usual Monday morning chores of housework, dog walking and washing I thought about  what I would be painting today to start my week. I usually create three washes in different colours each day to act as a warm up to my serious painting time. But today I couldn't because my studio is surrounded by gorgeous summer flowers that will be fading soon as winter approaches here in UK. Days when I can paint bright cheerful flowers from my window will be gone and I shouldn't waste their beauty. Not while it is so abundantly here to view so easily.

So I decided to paint three washes of things that I can see from my window. With no cheating! I can see many flowers and I wanted different colours for each new wash. To make the start to my day interesting.

The first decision was easy as the golden gallardia flowers are still blooming right outside my window.

I started with a warm up wash of yellow as seen above.

 Wash 1.
Going further than a simple wash because I deliberately painted the flowers within the wash composition.

Next I needed a different colour flower for my second wash so I opted for blue. And I can see the last of the delphiniums flowering from my window. The wash for this tall flower is seen below.

Wash 2.
 Hints of delphinium flowers in shades of blue in my first wash.

My next wash now couldn't be golden yellow or blue shades. I wanted something completely different again. As a challenge to you I shan't say what this next flower will be , but can you guess? See the image below.

 Wash 3.
What is it? It is a flower but which plant?
Slightly harder than the previous two washes to depict but that makes the challenge of asking you more fun.

While  my warm up washes are drying I can now get back to my Monday chores. I will be bringing my washing in from the line, cleaning our cottage ready for the week ahead and making an appointment to take Bailey to the vet this afternoon. I also have admin to catch up on by email.  My exhibition opens this weekend and I need to talk to the gallery owner.

My life is busy but I wouldn't want it any other way. It means I am alive!

But the joy in creating these simple warm up washes each day is that you always have an unfinished painting that you can gradually add to and if you like it you can start another bigger painting on the same subject, having learnt from any mistakes in your first warm up exercises. You now know which colours you like and those that didn't work for you.

I did manage to add to my yellow flowers and I can share what additions have been made in this blog post. See the images below.

 Detail added to my initial wash of golden flowers seen from my cottage window.

 Close up of the detail added to my yellow flowers.


Artist Tips

1) Make time for three simple warm up washes each day. You feel better if you have moved your brushes even if its only for minutes.
2) Look out of your window and paint the first three things that you see, each selection hould be a different colour.
3) Leave your washes to dry and work on just one, adding detail. Leave it for a while and look at it with fresh eyes later to see how to complete it.
4) Choose your favourite first wash and paint a much bigger painting of the same thing.
5) Learn from your mistakes. Everything that goes wrong makes you a far better artist. So make lots of mistakes!


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