Thursday, 4 August 2016

Red and Yellow Washes : Watercolour Work Outs

 Abstract flowers appearing from a "watercolour work out" wash.

Yesterday was so much fun. After carrying the hogweed home from my morning walk, then painting green washes in my studio before painting the hogweed as a subject on them was a brilliant painting day. As seen in my previous blog post. Following my watercolour workouts yesterday morning I felt so energised that I prepared for my upcoming solo exhibition in a wonderfully happy and peaceful state of mind.

Today is different. My husband is a chairman of a club and we will be hosting an annual lunch in our garden this weekend for a large number of guests. I need energy and fast! This is not a day to be painting in peaceful blues so I have opted to paint in vibrant reds to boost my energy level and make me feel more " with it" so I can focus on the task in hand of cooking and preparing our cottage for the weekend.

I started my day with three washes. These were created using the same shades on each but I aimed to make each one look different purely by where I placed the water, pigment or salt.

My three red and yellow " messy" washes. I had literally ten minutes spare so there was no time to think. I just had to play and quickly this morning!

I used Cadmium Yellow but the red here is created by using Daniel Smith Quinachridone Coral. Such a pretty colour and perfect for painting summer roses. I left these three washes to dry on my easel then as I am limited for time this morning I chose one only to paint on. These watercolour exercises really stretch my imagination as I look closely at each to see what subject might work on them. I could almost see the outline of petals on the larger square wash so I placed centres of flowers where I thought they would look good and later added petal edges. It looks lovely. Loose, expressive and softly dramatic. Its given me a wonderful idea for a whole new painting series too.

 Lovely floral abstract from a simple watercolour work out exercise.

Of course once one flower appeared I could see many more in my exercise wash but just added one  more in the lower section of this new composition.

 The three Amigos!
Three flowers side by side, like friends. Connected with colour flow.

I find it fascinating looking at my easel comparing one  wash as it is next to a second wash that has been worked on.

 Two experimental washes next to each other on my easel.

What is the point of these watercolour workouts? 
They make you paint. 
They take a few minutes each day.
They give you a million ideas for new paintings in unusual colour combinations. 
They stretch your imagination. 
They improve your knowledge of the pigments you are using.
They also improve your watercolour techniques. 
They are invaluable in keeping your enthusiasm at a high level. 
They giev you the inspiration to paint even more, repeating successful results. 
There is no pressure to achieve as the joy is in creating and exploring. 
You are not aiming for a frameable masterpiece.


You can now watch me share my watercolour workouts in a new DVD that I filmed whilst in USA this year. I know you can't see how much water I use or how I let colours interact from a blog post. But you can watch me in a film!

This is a link to the DVD called " Watercolour Work Out ". Please use this film purely as a goal to improve your washes and colour use. There is a series of films and others  have the subject focus on flowers and animals.

Have fun and happy painting! 


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