Monday, 15 August 2016

As Free As A Bird : Hummingbird in Watercolour 2016

 "Hummingbird in Watercolour"

I love Mondays. They mean I have a whole week ahead to enjoy with glorious colourful adventure. Today the sun is shining. I have walked my dog, Bailey and I am already in my studio. My today's three washes are drying in the sunshine outside and I am looking at three washes already on my easel that were previously created.

This is where my imagination runs riot as I try to imagine what subject will go with what background of a wash. And these are all very exciting washes that are stretching my soul as an artist to create something worthwhile on them. You often find when you paint my warm up exercises that you haven't a clue what you could paint on top of them and that is the fun of working this way. You simply don't know each time you pick up your brush what the outcome will be. And who knew I was going to paint a hummingbird? Or even like painting them. I certainly didn't but I now love painting hummingbirds. I want to paint more!

Here are the three tempting washes on my easel. And a fourth larger one. You can see the humminbird painting on one of the three small pieces. These are all indeed very colourful. To get to this point in experimenting you really need to practise your daily wash routine , making each new wash even more and more exciting by trying new colours and colour combinations. Continually.

Don't get stuck in a rut with your art!
 Three small exciting washes,  and one very large one waiting to be painted on.
I can see a bird in flight on the smaller outer wash already. That might be my next challenge!

This morning I chose one wash that really appealed to me to work on. As someone had given me a photo of a humming bird some time back on my travels I chose it for the matching subject. I couldn't believe all the colours in the bird I saw at that time I was assured me some of these tiny birds are extremely vibrant in colouring. Whilst I used this photo as resource material for  proportion information only I tried to paint as little detail from it as possible. I wanted a unique result not a copy of a realistic image. My background would help me achieve thsi as I had to work with what was already there on my watercolour paper.

I started as always by painting a small eye. This was my starting point. If you study the wash below you can almost see the outline of a bird in the experimental background wash but this was sheer accident and totally unplanned

Stage 1.   
The eye of the hummingbird acts as a starting point on my experimental wash

 Stage 2.
I painted the head using colours seen in my resource image. I also added tiny stamen to hint at a flower the hummingbird may be visiting.

When you work on top of colourful washes sometimes you find that you lose your whites or the background can be so colourful that it detracts from your subjects. I try to avoid it but in this hummingbird painting it was impossible to leave the painting as is. So I opted to add touches of white gouache to complete the painting.It looks much better now.

Please bear in mind  watercolour dries paler and so my colours went on stronger at first. So that they dried to the shades I wished them too. I had to be a little bolder to make the contrast between my subject and experimental wash work well.

The following two images show this very well.

Stage 3. 
White gouache added and colour strengthened by and additional wash of matching colour in the background turquoise and pink area.

The completed dry painting below which I am very happy with. It made me feel joyous working on it and it will look stunning framed. Just think that experimental wash was aimed at the bin.!

 "As Free As A Bird"
The completed painting


Artists Tips

1) Make your daily warm up washes more exciting each time you pick up your brush
2) Never throw a scrap of painted paper away. Use it as experimental backgrounds for painting new subjects on.
3) Challenge your imagination to see new subjects in each of your daily washes.


For full information on my techniques please read my books. 

" Jean Haines World of Watercolour" is a fantastic  addition to your library as it works as a back up to my workshops. If you can't attend any, this is the book for you as it explains how to build up a painting from an experimental first wash to the completed painting and will help you follow demonstrations on my blog more easily.


1 comment:

RVVagabond said...

I love this! I'm going to have to start experimenting with washes now, although I have to admit I struggle with seeing images in the washes to create painting. I have an instructor here in The Villages that is excellent at seeing children, fairies, birds and animals in washes whereas I simply see beautiful swathes of color. *sigh*