These are my most recent paintings. I've also trashed a couple. My policy now is to destroy any that are going wrong and start again, not in every case as for example I started one of the Nez Perce chief Looking Glass. The drawing was fine but the painting turned out very dull so I trashed it. I may try again but not sure on this one as the guide photo is a very murky one with poor detail. Trying to interpret it proved beyond me.
I pick photos that appeal to me unless it is an AVA subject, in which case I (mostly) stick to the subject although we are allowed leeway in interpreting the subject. Some subjects are more specific, others less so.
Hipah - Mohave Woman c 1900.
One of Edward Curtis photographs, all are black and white.
I found this one on Pinterest. I like drawing and painting birds and this little bird had made this amazing nest in an old hanging lamp, with the original glass missing.
This was an AVA subject so I looked at red flowers. The one I found was of Dahlias, although the colours were brighter than the above, but I couldn't match them even though I have a lot of reds. Possibly Vermilion would be more accurate but I don't have that one. The foliage was a very black-brown which also appealed with some subtle green also in the background. I used Perylene Green (Schmincke) a very blackish green, Lunar Black from Daniel Smith. and another darkish green. I also sprayed the background with a very fine mist of water and let the colours mix. Some Molotow masking fluid was used on the flower centres which are Burnt Umber. The one I used was Lukas which is a three pigment mix. Why I bought this one I 'm not sure as Burnt Umber is usually a single pigment and this Lukas version is a very dull Brown. I do like Lukas overall and at current prices they are a 'best buy' - not Burnt Umber though!
King of the Jungle
The guide photo really appealed to me and this is the third study of a great ape I've done recently. This guy had a very pensive expression - staring into space. After I finished I kept looking at it and finally realised the eyes were too human-looking. I then added Transparent Orange (Schmincke PO71) and then a touch of Cadmium Red (PR108).
Young Amerindian Girl. 15" x 11"
Cree Chief Big Bear in captivity after the Riel rebellion in 1885 in Canada. The Metis people, mixed race French speaking, rebelled together with some Cree and Assiniboine indians. Louis Riel, the leader, was tried for treason and hanged, leading to deep resentment by the French-speaking population that continues to this day
All the above are approximately 16" x 12", except for Hipah and the young girl who are 11" x 15" Khadi.
Here are my most recent efforts.
30 x 40cm Cornwall 210lb/450gsm Rough -Spring Flowers
This was a recent subject at my AVA group. I used Cornwall rough paper which has a very pronounced pattern that not everyone will like. I don't normally use this paper but bought some a while back to try as Yvonne, the best artist in my group, had made complimentary remarks about it. It is slightly unusual as well in being a heavier weight than I normally use. I'm not sure what it is made of but isn't cotton, This is one of the large Hahnemuhle range. Colours used were Rowney Cobalt Magenta (PV14) for the flowers with some Perylene Maroon ( PR179 Rowney or Graham) for the darker areas, I masked the stamens with Pebeo Drawing Gum using a ruling pen. The greens are Sap Green (Lukas PY153/PG7)), Green-Gold (Rowney PY129 ), Oxide of Chromium (Rowney PG17) and Perylene Green (Schmincke PBr31). I also used some Lukas Cobalt Violet (PV14) but this is an extremely weak colour of a very pale greyish violet shade. Although I like Lukas generally I'm not impressed with this one. I like Lukas both for quality and price, but avoid this colour and earth shades, like Burnt Umber, where multi-pigment mixes are used.
Tropical Finch - 9 3/4 x 11 1/2. Not
This was a subject I did some while back at the AVA but after studying the colourful bird paintings of Gerard Hendriks I had a look at it and decided I would introduce more colour. Initially I Increased the darks on the head and under the beak and strengthened the red colour. I also added the blue, and a touch of Turquoise (Lukas PB16) plus Cerulean (Rownery PB35) on both sides of the bird. I then added more varied colour on the branch he was sitting on.
I've now collected some bird photographs and intend to paint some more. I need a break from my Indian portraits as I've torn up the last two.
With the beginning of Spring here is another batch of watercolours from around the World.
The doyen of Australian watercolour artists Bob is also a very nice man. I had contact with him a few years ago via e mail. He well remembered Bristol as his son had been a medical student here.
This lady is an amazing artist. I don't think there is another like her. Her paintings have this wonderful ethereal quality.
Sarah has done several similar paintings. Catches the subject (and turmoil) of birds competing with one another very well. An unusual subject.
This is a good example of Stans portraits. I think this was a demo.
Fantastic detail. I imagine this is quite a large painting.
This is so evocative! Mother (or is it father?) and children.
Typical of Vickies work. Loose and colourful with just the right amount of detail, mainly the yellow and white Iris slightly left of centre. which attracts the eye.
Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey
Different from much of Jonathans work which often entails large panoramas.
A new one to me, almost abstract but set off by the two tiny figures in the centre.
The wonderfully colourful and prolific Gerard. Colour and movement. What more can I say!
This is a typical pose and good example of Charles figure paintings. I've been trying to emulate him for years (with only moderate - if at all - success!) Small areas of detail - large areas of generality.
Cao bei An
This fine Chinese artist was featured in Kees van aalst's book 'Realistic Abstracts'. He also has some videos on Youtube, which is a rich source of inspiration and demonstrations for artists.
One of the best British watercolour artists of the modern era.
This almost seems like a pastel but it is said to be watercolour from this British artist.
I very much like the work of Roberto and this is a typical example. Three large shapes, the building to the left, the trees on the right and most important the tram at bottom front with it's yellow colour highlight. Look how he creates depth.
This is a typical Diann painting from her Monday night class painted from a live model, bold and colourful.
That's it folks another batch of highly individual paintings which I hope has something for everyone, regardless of taste. My personal preferences are towards the looser end of the spectrum but I can - and do - admire other styles, even though I wouldn't want to emulate them even if i was capable of it. Each to h or her is own. What a wonderful and underrated medium watercolour is.
This is the latest, and apparently the last book Ann Blockley intends to write. I have her 'Watercolour Textures ' (Collins 2007), which is quite similar except she goes even more abstract in this one. Ann was originally known as a very good flower painter and my sister, who lives not far from her, has two of her flower paintings. They are beautifully done but more realistic, although not botanical or super realistic. The interesting thing is the way she has changed direction, something her famous father the late John Blockley also did. John Blockley was in the same group of British artists as Seago and Wesson and considered an exceptional artist, who painted mainly landscapes and other outdoor subjects, often bleak ones with a predominance of grey and earth colours. Later he changed direction becoming much more colourful and became President of the Pastel Society. She has also done something similar - although always colourful - in that her style has altered and her subject matter has widened to include landscapes and tree paintings.
128 pages, approx 9 x 10 inches Batsford 2018. UK £19.99, USA $29.95, Canada $39.95
Above are typical examples of the projects in the book. The contents have a number of chapter headings as follows: - Getting Started, Flowers and Field, Trees and Hedgerows, Landscape Features and Towards Abstraction. She also covers materials, paints, paper and brushes but also other things like granulation medium, crayons, lead pencil, watercolour pencil, gesso and tissue paper, collage, pieces of card etc - in other words the whole gamut. including techniques and how to use them. There are a number of projects which are on a step-by-step basis,
Some of my paintings friends, including Pauline who loaned me the book to review, and has attended her workshops, are ardent Blockley fans. I think her work is very interesting - really pretty amazing actually so this isn't a putdown, but you need to buy into it to benefit from this book. It isn't for the faint hearted or beginners, as achieving this level of expertise and the ability to emulate her work requires really hard graft and determination. Rather like my fascination with Charles Reid, which although nothing like her style and apparently much simpler isn't actually when you get down to it. It's taken me years and I'm still not there although, in each instance, I stress I'm not talking about copying exactly how these artists work but being influenced by it with your own input.
A nice useful book? Yes with the qualifications I've made.
Rosemary & Co are one of the leading British brushmakers with probably the largest range, the other specialists being Pro Arte who are major and smaller operations like Luxartis. Pro Arte are strongly represented in British art shops whereas Rosemary, who is the main brushmaker, sells only by mail order and at Art events. I think there may be one or two smaller operations as well. Of course companies like Winsor & Newton, who are famous for Series 7, and Daler Rowney also offer brushes but where are they made these days? I believe Rosemary also makes some own label brushes.
Originally Rosemary and her then husband ran ABS brushes and when they parted she soon started again as Rosemary & Co. The catalogue was virtually identical but has now been expanded and is very comprehensive with a huge range covering all types of brushes and mediums. She has a large and loyal following of British and overseas artists and works closely with a number in developing brushes.
The catalogue, approximately 6 1/2 by 9 1/2, has 95 pages in full colour. It offers 18 different types plus travel brushes and some speciality brushes. She also offers two special sets with artists names attached, something I'm not too enthused about. She's also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube! Brushes within the UK are free postage over £40, otherwise £2 and there are other rates for next day delivery and bulk orders. Current prices overseas are listed on her website. www.rosemaryandco.com
As you can see the information is extensive and there is much useful stuff about brushes, what they are for and how to maintain them. The catalogue is a mine of information.
Series 8 Kolinsky were a favourite with many artists but Kolinsky prices are now really only for the very well-healed or top artists. For amateurs to pay these prices, especially with a restricted budget, is difficult to justify. The obvious choice is Red Sable with a Size 8 round £11.59p, compared to £39.95p for Kolinsky Series 8 round. There may be a difference but I doubt it would be much to most artists. She also offers a range of synthetics that are very good.
I have, in the past, paid a lot of money for brushes but not at the current eye-watering prices. I have enough new ones to keep me going BUT should I have to buy any more (unlikely) I would choose
Red Sable blend, a mixture of animal hair and synthetics. This is Series 401/402 in rounds with a Size 8 costing £6.90p to £7.30p! Rounds, Daggers , Riggers, Sword Liners and One Stroke are also offered in this blend.
The best artist in my Avon valley Artists group is Yvonne Harry, who mainly paints flowers, and can compare with most professionals. She mostly used Pro Arte synthetics , often purchased as seconds at art events, but was persuaded to try Jacksons own label sables (made by Rosemary?). She didn't like them saying she found them too soft. However recently she tried the Rosemary 401 series and has really taken to them. Although this is fairly recent she likes the better stiffness with the mixed blend and also likes the way they point well. Should I have to buy any more brushes they would be my choice.
Here are the latest batch for May.
Robert Wade by Cheng Chung Wei - Inspired by Charles Reids style - so says the caption. Love the painting.
Viktoria has her first UK workshop at Sidmouth, Devon in early May.
Enough said. How versatile is Gerard!
This young British artist has a very interesting website.
Fabulous detail and looseness plus colour combined brilliantly by this wonderful Japanese artist.
Fabulous Mongolian artist. What a name though!
Sunhee Kim (think this is correct?)
Another find! One of many in this batch. Look at her other work which is easily 'googled'.
Another from Rachel Toll. - See above.
Migull Linares Rios
A well known Russian artist.
Another well-known artist look at his website for more excellent paintings.
What I try to do is give a wide range of different types of painting in watercolour to show the diversity and possibilities in this underrated medium. I think the above selection succeeds in doing this. Many of these artists are new to me and show how watercolour spans the World. Enlarge the ones that appeal to you, as not all will with personal preference, and give them careful study. If I have made any mistakes in the naming please feel free to correct me.
Here are my latest efforts. I don't post them as good work, just what I've been getting up to lately. I have mixed feelings about much of my recent work, possibly (another) bout of self-doubt but I'll keep trying! I have scrapped a couple as well.
A Female Goldcrest
- Approx. 9" x 12"
2nd Attempt at the Goldcrest as I felt I overworked the first.
This was an attempt at an abstract portrait with glances towards Agnes- Cecille's work. 16" x 12"
Goldfinch - approx. 9" x 12" I like this one. It's more towards where I want to be (with acknowledgement to Gerard Hendriks)
A Dipper. 9" x 12" mixed feelings about this one.
This was an AVA Thursday subject "Summer Landscape" 20" x 14" Lanaquarelle Not
A Blackfoot Indian - 16" x 12"
Another AVA subject - " Seed x Heads" 16" x 12"
Second Attempt at this one 16" x 12". It was an AVA subject , something to do with Flowers.
This bi-monthly American magazine recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It was originally launched under the name 'Watercolor Magic'. This is one of only two magazines devoted to watercolour. The other is the glossy and expensive 'The Art of Watercolour'. I have written before about this latter one and have nothing to add. This is not to say 'Watercolor Artist' is cheap. It isn't for us UK artists due to the premium we have to pay. With the magazine is a small pre-paid card, obviously intended for American readers but it does say for International orders add $10. This still makes it quite a bit less than the £17.71p, which includes postage, we pay for three issues. In the UK I subscribe to it through Newstand via the internet. I did have it for a few months in 2014 but for some reason didn't continue. IF UK artists purchase direct the cost is $47.97 for two years, including the extra $10 for International purchases. This shows a substantial saving. I am tempted to try.
I subscribed to 'The Artist' magazine for some years. Previously I also bought 'Leisure Painter' from the same publisher. 'Leisure painter' is aimed at the beginner and intermediate artist. Recently I decided to discontinue 'The Artist' as I have found less and less of interest, as it covers all media. My feeling about it was that it was mainly repeating itself year after year, and the rich World of watercolour outside the UK barely if ever features, I know this is partly a language problem but even Continental watercolour artists, many of whom ate fluent in English, don't get a mention.
The latest issue of Watercolour Artist has 72 pages and features several artists, most of whom are new to me, but this isn't always the case with top artists like Bez Jozwiak, Fealing Lin and Ted Nuttall featured in other issues. Topics include painting Earth, Sea and Sky, Flowers, and the 9th Annual Watermedia Showcase.
Is it worth buying? Obviously yes for American watercolour artists. In the UK the price is high but on balance I think, if you are a watercolour enthusiast, just about unless price is an issue.
For June here are the latest batch of watercolours. I've been on holiday recently so haven't been able to 'collect' as many as usual. It depends on what you prefer but there is some lovely work here.
? Not sure who the artist is? It isn't Gerard (I don't think) although similar in many respects. In any event I love it! OF COURSE BEV JOZWIAK!
Woon Lam Ng
This is on Yupo paper, which Stan has been experimenting on. No drawing (I think) and he feels it has enabled him, a very precise although not super realistic painter, to 'loosen up'. Yupo with it's shiny, smooth surface is certainly unusual. I have a small sheet supplied with a copy of 'Watercolor Artist' but haven't yet plucked up the courage to try it!
The ever reliable Trevor
N B Gurung
The brilliant Nepalese artist, again much is to be found about him if you look
The guru of Australian watercolour artists. One of his older paintings this is Cape Canaveral.
I have to include Gerard, one of my favourite artists and great person.
Seago, although shunned by the art establishment, despite being a close friend of the Royal family, was - and still is - one of the most influential British artists. Although he painted many watercolours like the above oils were his first love. Look at how he portrays this scene with such simplification.
N B Gurung by a Chinese Artist - I've put this in because I love the way it has been painted. Many of these Chinese artists are just breathtaking.
A legendary British artist from the Seago era.
This guy is a fabulous artist. Googling him will produce a lot more of his work.
Woon Lam Ng
Oscar Quadros from Peru
That's it then folks hope you like them.
These are my most recent paintings - the usual mixture.
Young Amerindian Girl c 1900 11" x 15"
Amerindian Warrior C1880s (?) 15" x 11"
Chaffinch - 9 " x 12" Fluid Watercolour Paper not surface.
This new paper is okay but nothing special. It is reasonably cheap though so I would say similar to Bockingford. Claimed to be sourced from an 'old' European Mill. I am also about to try Stonehenge from Legion, an American paper getting rave reviews over there. I've yet to try the 16" x 12" not block I've purchased but I gave Yvonne Harry, the top artisl in my Avon Valley Group, a test sample and she wasn't particularly impressed feeling it was nothing special. She still favours Fabriano Artistico Extra White, apart from the fact the blocks fall apart. I also like Fabriano but the blocks do fall apart and I prefer the 16" x 12" format of Waterford rather than the 18' x 12' that Fabriano offers.
A Work in Progress - The New Zealand Kakapo, a flightless parrot, an iconic bird. Only 130 or so remain and a massive conservation effort is in progress to increase the numbers and protect them - by placing them on predator-free islands - the predators being introduced stoats and rats, which have decimated them and other flightless birds. Some of the original types were huge and were eliminated completely by that other predator the human, mainly sailors who killed them to eat. The human race has a lot to answer for in respect of the natural environment.
The New Zealand Kakapo, the last survivor of a number of New Zealand flightless species of bird, has fascinated me ever since I saw a BBC wildlife programme.
The Kakapo - 11" x 15" Khadi
I've been fascinated with this flightless parrot ever since it was featured on a David Attenborough BBC wildlife programme. There were a whole range of these flightless birds, some were very large and were killed off in the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly by human predators for meat, while introduced predators, rats, stoats, etc decimated the smaller birds like the Kakapo who had no defence against them. All that exist now are museum specimens. The Kakapo is quite large but of course the chicks were very vulnerable to rats and the adults to stoats
In the Attenborough programme this solitary male trudged, every night, to the top of a mountain and sent his booming calls - designed to attract a mate - across the valleys. No response and at the time it was thought extinction beckoned. However at the eleventh hour a considerable conservation programme was launched and there are now over 130 - still very few - with small breeding colonies established on a few predator free islands. On some of the islands the predators had to be eliminated first. This is an iconic bird in New Zealand and is about the size of a chicken.
The painting above is my attempt to portray the Kakapo, which is a sort of moss green colour with brown markings, is nocturnal and is a pure vegetarian. They live to an average of 58 years with some lasting up tp 90, but are slow breeders and have 1 - 4 chicks, but not every year. Birds mature slowly. They are solitary, the males and females only meet to mate and the female is solely responsible for raining the chicks. Look them up on Google if you are interested.
The colours I used are various greens - Sap Green from Lukas a major one - plus Translucent Brown from Schmincke ( now called Transparent Brown I think ). Green-Gold from Rowney also featured and some Cerulean Blue.Small touches of others.
This subject was brought to my mind after watching the latest BBC Springwatch programmes. In more than one programme - they run for several days consecutively - a weasel was shown taking young birds from nests, close to the ground it has to be said. Two nests near to each other were predated including one of Yellowhammers, sadly becoming quite a scarce bird. Of course this is nature and the weasel probably had young to feed - they are carnivores after all. I found an interesting photograph- two actually that I combined - and this is the result.
A Deadly Hunter - 16" x 12" Waterford High White 140lb (300gsm) not.
My aim with this painting, and indeed generally, is to have small areas of detail and large areas of generality. This is what Charles Reid teaches. Not as easy as it sounds and the tendency is, especially when painting from photographs, which is what I do, to become tighter. I think I've probably (mostly) achieved this with more recent paintings other than Portraits.
Colours were a variety of greens - Sap Green from Lukas, Green-Gold from Rowney plus Oxide of Chromium, with Transparent Brown (Schmincke), Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Gold (Daniel Smith) plus some Cerulean and Ultramarine Blue. Ultramarine Violet also features and Cobalt Violet. For the latter I used Lukas but this paint if greyish and very weak. There are other Cobalt Violets that I think are better, some more reddish.
I'm happy with the above as I achieved what I set out to do.
My recent painting of a Kakapo was quite pleasing to me as it gave a quite good representation of the bird. I did however photograph an earlier stage thinking I might post that also as part of the piece. In the end I didn't but looking at it again I wondered whether this lesser depiction was indeed better (as a painting) or not. In my opinion the biggest mistake in watercolour painting is over elaboration and too much detail. Yes I know there are some fabulous paintings by great artists that follow this route but , while I can admire them, it isn't my way.
The Kakapo - Unfinished stage.
It's all a matter of opinion but I rather like this unfinished work. Charles Reid says you shouldn't overfinish a painting and when you get to the stage of wondering what to do next - stop!
Here are the latest batch of paintings for July. I have tried to mix them up a little more so hopefully there will br something for everyone. They are a mix of the famous and less well-known. I have included two from some artists.
Slawa Prischedko - What a wonderful artist as is his wife Viktoria.
Another from Slawa Prischedko
Janet Rogers (?)
Ann, the daughter of the late John Blockley, has written several books and also produced videos so if you are attracted to her paintings you can follow this up.
Stephie Butler - What a delicate touch!
This Scottish artist produces amazing work.
Another from Shirley Trevena
Shirley, like Anne Blockley, a top British artist has written at least two books and also has videos so you can follow this up if you are interested. Fabulous work although very difficult to emulate.
Bev Jozwiak - An unusual subject for Bev but love this.
Carlos Leon Salazar
Another from Dusan Djukaric
That's it folks hope you enjoy!
Here are my latest paintings, mostly done at AVA Thursday sessions, although in some instances the drawings were completed the previous day in my home 'studio'. All are around 16" x 12" or A3 with some slightly smaller.
General George Crook - The Famous Indian Fighter
This is a modification of the painting posted on Facebook. I decided it was too plain so added the blue to his uniform.
This one of a Thrush was changed slightly as I felt I'd made the body too fat so added the dark colour Turquoise on the left over the original so reducing the body width. Possibly the blackish green Perylene Green (Schmincke) would have been better.
A Young Amerindian Woman
In this instance the guide photo, as they tend to be, was black and white. and the only discernible detail was that I've shown. The rest was dark so after looking at how a variety of artists treat portraits adopted a minimalist approach. I like it but many may not.
Bird & Blossoms.
This is actually smaller- about 12" x 9"
I liked the contrast between the dark of the birds and the white flowers.
'In a Rush'
This male Grebe was travelling at speed across the water and I tried to recreate this in the painting.
Here are Augusts batch. I have again tried to mix them up with a wide variety showing the versatility of watercolour. I hope you all agree. I have included a couple of abstracts. Some of the artists are unknown to me but they just keep coming
Liam Cheng Wu
A terrific Chinese artist who paints a wide range of subjects.
Yvonne is the leader of my group Avon Valley Artists. She is not a professional artist, although she holds a major annual exhibition at Wells Cathedral. In my (and others ) view she is equally as good, if not better, than many professionals in her major mode as a flower painter. Compare this with the one above.
Gerard has turned his talents to other subjects recently and his boat studies have the usual dynamic colours and sense of movement that is displayed in other subjects such as birds and animals..
Stan Miller -enough said!
Morten Solberg Snr.
Great American artist of outdoor scenes usually the small areas of detail nvolving animals, although they aren't usually a major party of the painting.
The brilliant Japanese artist
I love the simplicity of this,
This is a typical CR painting where he combines flowers with other objects.
Another boat painting from Gerard - contrast this with the previous one. Slightly more subdued.
Terrific artist, American I think.
Wonderful Chinese -American artist.
I may be slightly overindulgent here but there is a lot to be learned from Gerards work if you buy into it - and many do.
The great Australian artist. This is one of his older works. I haven't seen anything recently from him and he is tending to display his back catalogue He's 88 today.
I don't know anything about this artist but this is an amazing watercolour.
The great American artist.
A typical English landscape in the style of Seago/Wesson.
Another superb artist from Eastern Europe.
Fabulous American artist
Anothrr fabulous American artist.
I currently subscribe to the Watercolour Artist magazine and recently bought the latest quarterly edition of The Art of Watercolour. I'll explain why later
I had a short spell subscribing to this monthly magazine in 2014. and have recently renewed. My main gripe is we have to pay such a premium in the UK to get it. I get it from an online company. However each issue usually has a pre-paid card to subscribe direct. I won't go into details but it is much cheaper in the USA - I paid £4.25p plus postage - about half. Compared to The Art of Watercolour it is a smaller magazine of 72 pages with usually 6 articles and a number of columns. Artists like Ted Nugent and Fealing Lin have been featured in the past. Worth buying yes apart from the UK premium.
This is a glossy high quality production of 98 pages and is larger than the one above. When it was originally introduced I wrote a less than complimentary review of it. This provoked an anonymous post from some brave person who called me a moron. I had my suspicions it was a fairly high profile artist with whom I'd had a run in when he said Charles Reid recommended Escoda brushes. I pointed out I'd done several courses with CR and he always recommended DaVinci brushes. This didn't go down very well. Enough of that the reason I bought this copy, the 31st issue, was that Genevieve Buchanan a lovely lady I met on at least two Charles Reid workshops was featured. Genevieve has done lots more CR workshops than my five and also many others with artists like Alvaro Castagnet. It's obviously paid off.
I saw an advert for this issue, which a local newsagent stocks, they usually only have two or three at most. I think it cost me £6.25p which not much dearer than Watercolour Artist given there is no postage involved. To be blunt is is a cut above but I had one other reason for my previous criticism and that was the elitist bent of the magazine. It seems mainly aimed at the higher levels of watercolour artists and if anyone disputes this then why run articles, at least one, with the theme of 'how to join the inner circle of watercolour artists'. As one might judge from that I'm very much against elitism.
Genevieve piece is based on her flower painting, although she does other subjects. I cannot really recall how she painted when we did the CR workshops together. Her style now is exceedingly loose and I have mixed feelings. I try to follow Charles Reid's mantra, with mixed success, of 'small areas of detail , large areas of generality'. To my eyes what is missing here are the small areas of detail. However who I am, a struggling hobbyist, to say when she gets in this elite magazine and I get ......... Just kidding I know my limitations!
When I first started painting I bought Leisure Painter and The Artist magazines. Leisure Painter is very good for beginners. I recently discontinued The Artist as it seems to me to be in a rut and has very little on watercolour, certainly next to nothing on the amazing artists out there from other countries and continents. Perhaps I've just become more cynical as I'm now well into old age and realise it's a case of not falling off the perch rather than improving much. I asked a painter friend of mine, sadly now deceased, at what stage one stopped improving. His reply was it wasn't a case of improving but trying stop the rot.
I have recently been on holiday at Sidmouth on the Devon coast. Sidmouth is a mecca for artists and group called East Devon Art Centre or similar have been running workshops this year, of varying lengths, including such fine artists as Stephie Butler AND the amazing Viktoria Prischedko. originally from Moldavia but now living I believe in Germany. There is a nice art shop there called South West Art. As a serial impulse buyer I can't pass them by so went in (twice) for a peruse. I finished spending just over £17, not much considering what art products cost, especially for watercolour so here we go.
The Maskaway, Twist Grip Large Fan and the Pebeo dtawing gum "High Precision Masking Marker".
Actually I bought the Pebeo in Minerva in Bath but have included it here. The Maskaway from Frisk is a square piece of hardfoam-like material for removing masking fluid. I've tried it once and it works fine so far. The blurb says it is easily cleaned and can be cut to shape for more detailed erasing. `it can also be used to remove a wide range of sticky marks including adhesive tape, and cleans dirty paper or after using Tracedown". This cost £5,25p.
The brush is called a 'Twist -Grip' and this one is a large fan. There was quite a large range mostly rounds, and prices were pretty cheap this being less than £5. I've used it a couple of times and quite like it. Well-made.
The Pebeo marker is similar to the one recently introduced by Molotow. I bought both the Molotow markers and one is already unusable. When I saw the similar Pebeo one I decided to try it also. There are two sizes 04 and 07. Larger then the Molotow which is 02 and 04. It's early days but already I prefer the Pebeo. I believe you can buy new heads. They are of a soft/hard material and you press down on them to release the fluid.but eventually, as happened with the Molotow, clog up. Maybe my technique is faulty so if you use masking fluid give them a try.
Catalyst By Princeton.
Princeton are an American brush maker and these 'things' are made in China.
When I was in the shop I saw this collection of strange looking brush-like tools and was intrigued by them. That shown, 12 inches in length, was the smallest and cheapest, most were much bigger with heads up to two inches across.! Exactly what you are supposed to do with them I'm not sure but they are obviously designed for special effects. Whether that included watercolour I'm unsure and foolishly I didn't ask the young lady in the shop about them. Special effects seem to be all the rage at the moment and all sorts of special brushes and other things are being promoted in this field. I've played around with it a little using thick paint and it may be useful - we shall see.
I have written previously on the above subject of painting on a budget and due to the escalation of prices propose to revisit . First a qualification. The above title suggests this is about the 'Best'. It isn't but instead about what I consider 'best buys' , combining price and quality. This isn't the same thing. Watercolour artists get ripped off (in my opinion), especially in paints but also to a lesser extent in brushes and paper. Professional artists nearly all recommend you buy 'the best quality products'. Some, not all, promote various brands, some telling you they are the 'best in the World' either being paid by the respective companies or supplied with product free for doing so or very cheap prices. I'm not saying all artists take this line but some undoubtedly do. The only one I know of that was very cynical about this was the late Ron Ranson, who used the cheapest materials in all three categories. I know of one artist who promoted a particular brand of paint then switched to another when the deal was withdrawn. Each was 'the best'. Enough of that now to a summary. These are only my opinions so you can take what you want from them or ignore them. There are a huge range of brands available in all these products so there may well be others I've missed , especially in the USA and other countries but my perspective is primarily a UK one. Daler Rowney, until recently a 'best buy'; have increased prices to the extent I've dropped them. I would stress I am very flexible in buying paints taking the view nearly all artists quality brands are acceptable subject to personal preference.
Here prices of artist quality paints are horrendous. At the top end we have Daniel Smith, QoR and one or two lesser known. For the purpose of this exercise I have also discounted brands like Winsor & Newton at current prices. However look out for special offers and you may find them cheaper at some other outlets. I am only talking about what is currentlyon offer from Jacksons - a good benchmark. There are certain colours in these top brands that are 'must have' to some artists' Fair enough. Another might be Permanent Rose from Winsor & Newton (PV19). There are lots of paints made with PV19 but the Winsor & Newton one is a favourite of many flower painters.
The following are my recommendations as things stand. I'm in a slight state of flux at the moment as what to buy so put these forward for consideration. Schmincke are a good buy IF you are comparing them with brands like Daniel Smith. The range is extensive with over 100 colours and prices are cheaper than Daniel Smith .You have to watch though in what price category each paint is listed as there is no industry standard. Schmincke don't have a lot in category one - the cheapest. They also do a 5ml in addition to the 15ml plus half and full pans.
Another to look at is Talens (Rembrandt). They mainly do a 5ml tube but also a few colours in 21ml. Prices are pretty keen and if you only use a small amount of a certain colour I recommend the 5ml size.
For bulk users the best buy is Lukas with a range of 70 colours, a few outstanding. They don't match the range of the others but all the standard colours are there. The problem may be they offer a 24ml tube size plus pans. This may be too large unless you paint a lot. Keep in mind though paints should last ten years or so, according to the chief chemist at Daler Rowney. However I have found that quite a few colours (pigments) solidify in the tube after much shorter periods, and that includes some from Daniel Smith. I know we are told to cut open the tubes and they can be utilised like pans but to me that's a pain! Lukas prices are excellent.
Another brand well worth consideration is Sennelier. With nearly 100 colours they also do 21ml (the best buy), 10ml plus full and half pans. Prices are a little more than Lukas but still well short of Daniel Smith.
There are two other groups of paints outside of the main European and American brands - I would include Holbein here also. They are the Korean brands, Mission Gold and Shin Han plus the Japanese Turner. Prices are really cheap compared to the others - almost too good to be true. I have written extensively about them in my back catalogue so read it and make your mind up. I am minded to try a few colours in some of these brands but be selective. I did try Shin Han a few years ago and was not impressed but the current range may be different.
We then have the house brands which are growing all the time. They tend to have fewer colours, often less than fifty but claim to be 'artists quality'. Jacksons, which used to be made by Sennelier (they may still be); is one with 48 colours and new ones seem to pop up regularly. All the major companies now seem to have them both here and in America. Try a few colours by all means and you may be pleasantly surprised. The SAA have a growing range.
Finally as I said at the beginning it's possible deals may be available at local shops that are normally more expensive. For instance I called in at Cass Art in Bristol the other day and two shops from them is an outfit called Stationery World or similar. That shop has been there many years and I spotted some art materials in the window. On going inside I was surprised to see a full range of Maimeri watercolours together with the budget Venezia range, Prices were better than current Jacksons on the Maimeri and Maimeris excellent budget brand is normally hard to find. There is also the Cotman brand from Winsor & Newton together with the excellent Talens budget brand Van Gogh if you are really strapped for cash - and many amateurs are. Thats it folks take your choice. For overseas visitors outside the EU Jacksons prices are less 20% VAT so even with carriage at cost only you may be pleasantly surprised how competitive they are.
Here are the latest batch to start off September. As usual they are a mixture to show the variety and versatility of watercolour with a little personal bias towards artists I particularly like.
The wonderful Shirley Trevena. I have her first book and video, but to try and emulate her is not for the faint hearted!
Edo Hannema - superb landscapes
Janet Rogers - The excellent American artist
Sir William Russel Flint - a legendary artist from the earlier era
Virgil has succeeded in developing his own unique style.
John Singer Sarjeant - enough said!
Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey
The ever creative Bev is doing some painting on Yupo paper
Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey - I should have known!!!
Gerard Hendriks - one of a series of boat paintings
I recently came across this interesting artists who specialises in birds. His paintings are actually quite large.
Unusual subject of a portrait for Yuko but brilliant as usual. Eat your heart out Ward!
Another from Shirley Trevena
Her paintings have this amazing ethereal look. I believe she's one of the founders of "The Art of Watercolour' magazine.
Very loose - maybe just a tad too loose - only my opinion.
Joseph Zbukvic - the well-known Australian Artist.
That's it folks. Hope you like them.