Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas festivities

Firstly, I would like to thank my thursday group for clubbing together to buy my festive dinner at the Red lion in Granchester, it was a smashing dinner, and brilliant to be out socialising with you lot.
And I'd like to thank Mel and Maureen for bringing the mince pies and mulled wine to the Wednesday class, topped off by Vanessa bringing her brand new grandchild into class at the end, it was like the adoration of the magi!

I'd also like to thank those who came to my end of term party, especially as we are so far out in the sticks, and few couldn't have a proper drink for driving, thanks also for the cards and presents! I wasn't expecting that! although I should know by now what a lovely bunch you are!
I was so busy enjoying myself that I only managed a few blurred photo's.
So seasons meetings to you all, and I'll see you in the new year! : )

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Stunning pool photo's

Just look at these stunning pool photo's I took yesterday!
I owe a massive thank you to one of my Sawston watercolour group members for organising this photo shoot.
those of you who know me will know how difficult it is for me to find models and a pool together, this is why I have had to resort to using myself as a model in the past, but on hearing this, Uwe,
( pronounced Oover ) volunteered himself and his kids to pose, arranged permission from the pool owner, ( no mean feat in itself ) and arranged for us to meet in the pool at a time of day when he knew we would get natural sunlight in the pool area, which I had asked for, but not dreamt of getting! An hey presto! All came together!
Not only that but Ewe and kids were a delight to watch playing in the water, they did all the poses I asked for, but I think you'll agree, the most stunning one, is the pose they chose themselves, the one  below, I  couldn't have asked for more!
Thank you Ewe and kids! I now have a stock of pool shots to keep me going for years! : )


Thursday, 6 December 2012


For the past few weeks we have been doing portraits across the board in my watercolour classes.
Sawston evening  class, like my other classes have been drawing and painting faces with subtle colour mixing, and hard & soft edges.
The primary focus of these exercises, apart from the drawing proportions, was to learn how to mix colours on the paper, without hard edges, and enough, so they were slightly neutral, with a hint of intense.
The portrait below illustrates this point, with hints of blue and green on the skin tones, which added interest without leaving the subject in the portrait looking bruised.

Then the Sawston class moved on to creating portraits with strong intense colours.
The object of this exercise was to lay the pigment down and leave it alone, this can be harder than you think!
This involved mixing colours on the paper allowing the colours to do their own mixing across a very fluid surface, with little manipulation from us, therefore avoiding neutral mixes.

I was aware from experience that some learners would love the way the paint did it's own thing, whilst the lack of control made others nervous,

However, it is important to explore all the possibilities and  potential watercolour painting holds, no matter what style of painting you prefer, it allows you to thoroughly explore the medium.

These portraits were not finished, but to my mind, had phenomenal potential to be stunners!

As we did the background wash last week, and we were already practised at adding features, I felt it best that we finished our portraits off at home, and move on to a 3rd colour mixing exercise.

I set up a still life of clear, see through glass objects of analogous colours with 1 complimentary, the Dahlia,  oranges being on the opposite side of the colour wheel, and therefore complimentary.

The object of this exercise, apart from understanding a little colour theory, was to build up washes in glazes, which involves waiting for 1 wash to dry, before painting over it wet on dry with another translucent colour wash.

However, again  from experience of Learners being impatient to wait for a wash to dry properly, I asked them to paint at least 4 sections of the still life, so that work could be carried on whilst other parts were drying.

However, even this did not deter the most impatient of us, and there was a struggle to wait, resulting in soft edges where the paint had not dried sufficiently.

However, where there were successful glazes laid down the results were lovely and revealing.

More of this in spring you Sawston lot! You'll sit there and wait for it to dry even if it takes all night! And you'll go to bed without supper! ; )

This was the last class before the Christmas holidays, see you all in the spring term!
G x

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Describing the form in drawing

The past 2 classes have been about describing the form with directional linework, that means giving the viewer information about the contours of the object you are drawing, as opposed to simply outlining it, or blocking it in with shading.

The example I did below, describes the form of a jug with lines curving around the form.

But we wanted to explore cross hatching to develop tonal differences in light and shade, so we did the exercise below of doing lines with hard pressure and closer together for the darks, then lighter and further apart for a gradual gradation from dark to light.
We did these lines over the top of each other and in different directions, to create a dense darkness of tone.

Here are some of the results of this exercise, drawing from a still life in class, set up to have tonal differences in the local value of each object, for example, the onion was lighter than the jug, but still had it's own range of darks and lights

Here the plum was darker than the mug, but still had it's own range of lights and darks.

All the items had areas darker than others, but had to be built up with a succession of of directional  lines, following the contours of the object.

The thing we need more practice on, was gauging the tonal differences in relation to the whole, as opposed to the tone next to it.

All these drawings were very competent, but we will be exploring tonal relationships after the Christmas break in spring term.