Back to the Drawing Board

Since I started painting again a couple of weeks ago I’ve been playing around with using different types of paint and different brushes and different styles of painting, and I’m really having a lot of fun with it all – I’ve not been bored once! I’ve been exploring and experimenting and taking risks and making mistakes and learning from the whole process, in the hope of finding out what my preferred style might be nowadays?

I’ve tried a couple of things that I now know are definitely not going to be ‘me’ at all – in particular I painted this simplified, stylised seascape in gouache, trying to recreate something similar to the flat printed solid blocks of colour on old seaside travel posters, but I wasn’t comfortable painting it, and I really don’t like the end result so won’t be repeating that particular experiment any time soon.

It’s really hard to get the paint consistency right so the colour always looks flat and not streaky, and of course the outlines have to be sharp and crisp, which isn’t as easy as it looks. As a result, instead of looking smart and sophisticated, this painting looks more like something a child did in art class at school. So it’s back to the drawing board for me on this one, but at least I’ve learned from the experience…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Board/ Bored

Watercolour and Gouache

This landscape started off OK with a sky I was happy with, and the distant background was looking reasonable enough too but I got myself into a real mess with the sandy, sea-grassy foreground – with such translucent watercolour paint it had no real depth at all and just looked all ‘wrong’, and I was so disappointed with how it turned out.

So rather than give up I let it dry completely, then re-worked the foreground using gouache instead of watercolour, as it has a solid opacity that allows me to be able to cover up any underlying mistakes – not completely, but enough to save the painting from being the total disaster it was without it. Ideally I wouldn’t have wanted it to be so heavily painted but needs must – and at least I tried to do something with it!

Surprisingly it not only worked quite well as a rescue fix, but I think using both types of paint on the same painting might be something I try deliberately next time… 🙂

A Prickly Subject

I decided to have a go at painting an impressionistic thistle in a really basic line-and-wash style – I wondered whether having a clearly visible outline showing through might help me deal more easily with the prickly subject of deliberately letting my paint flow beyond the lines, to try to give a bit more life and movement to my overall painting?

It’s not perfect but I think it worked surprisingly well for a first attempt, I quite like the effect – the simplistic, stylised design offered itself up quite comfortably to a looser style of filling in the page with colour, so I might try that approach again with other flowers? 🙂

Tulips in a Vase

This one is all my own – no step-by-step tutorial this time to help me out with how best to create recognisable loose-looking tulips so they’re definitely a bit more shapeless and a little more over-painted than I would have liked.

Not sure I’ve got the stems right either, the flower heads seem to be floating in mid-air, but I’m happy with the way the jug turned out, and the overall impression of a vase of colourful flowers seems to work well enough so I suppose it’ll do for now… 🙂

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Float

Painted Poppies

This is my first real relative success at a loose, flowing, impressionistic painting, admittedly with the inspiration (and instructions!) taken from a book I bought to help me learn some new techniques. In one way it feels all ‘wrong’ to be so vague and incomplete in encouraging a ‘finished’ painting that is little more than random blobs of paint and water roughly placed on a page, but in another it feels wonderfully liberating to have the freedom to escape the restrictions of realistic representation… What fun! ❤

NB The book I took this from is ‘Watercolour Techniques and Tutorials for the Complete Beginner’ by Paul Clark – I think over time I’m going to enjoy replicating these paintings 🙂

Flower of the Day

The Key to it All

From all the online tutorials I’ve watched recently, it seems to be that the key to ‘good’ water-colour painting is to keep it all light and loose and let the paint do the work for you. When I picture myself painting in my mind’s eye I imagine long flowing strokes sweeping over the page with ease, creatively expressive and elegant.

In reality, left to my own devices I have a tendency to want to keep it all tight and neat and ‘correct’, and as a result I worry away at the paper over and over again trying to get it just right, often ending up with either a flat, overworked ‘nothing’ picture or a muddy mess as all the colours of the rainbow come together in a soggy puddle of brown.

So I watch others paint online and see beautifully light, flowing impressions of things appear as if by magic. I try to replicate the actions myself but at this early stage I really struggle to let go and trust in the paint, and in the process. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, but oh, how I wish I had a key to let me unlock that magical feeling for myself!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

The Journey Begins… Again!

I really used to enjoy art at school, and was actually reasonably OK at it, but of course it’s been over 40 years since I left school and whatever nascent artistic talent and skill I was in the throes of developing at that point hasn’t exactly stayed poised ready to pour easily from paintbrush to paper just because I’ve decided I wanted to try painting again as an adult!

It’s been two whole years since I last picked up my water-colours… August 2020 was the last time I attempted to paint anything, and even then I only managed a grand total of three colour studies – a rather flat-looking thistle, some not-too-bad plums, and a thoroughly underwhelming landscape view of Inverness – before disappointedly packing my paints away again, wishing I hadn’t bothered…

And before that it was… God knows, probably almost a decade ago that I first thought seriously about trying to take up water-colour painting as a hobby in my later years? I think on that earlier occasion I’d only managed about three paintings before giving up then, too. What stopped me both times was probably a simple fear of failure – sadly I found it easier to give up at the first hurdle than to struggle on feeling not good enough.

So here I am trying once more to learn how to paint with water-colours, still struggling with it but at least this time (over this last week or so) I’ve achieved more than three paintings and haven’t given up yet! They’re not great, my initial efforts – I’m sharing this one here not because I think it’s good but because I realise it’s probably going to be a long journey to get to even close to where I want to be, this is where I’m at currently, and I have to start somewhere… 🙂

Weekly Prompts: Journey