Searching for Baby Bear

I’ve been searching to find the right watercolour tutor on line, but I just don’t seem to be able to choose someone who has a course that feels right for me. I’ve felt rather like Goldilocks; I like the way one tutor teaches, but I don’t like the techniques they use: I like the techniques a tutor uses, but I don’t like their style of painting: I like a tutor’s painting style, but the way they teach annoys the heck out of me.

What’s to do when you realise you turned up at the three bears house, but baby bear has left home and took his comfy bed, comfy chair and porridge with him?

My answer was experiment and find out what I really wanted.

Last time I shared my painting I showed you these…

They were part of my experiment. The pear on the left – painted wety on dry – was everyone’s favourite. It was also the picture I liked best too. However I enjoyed painting the  other one more – painted wet on wet – but to be happy with the result I should have added more detail/texture wet on dry.

So the conclusion to my experiment was that maybe I need two tutors – one who focuses on detail – wet on dry – and one who works wet on wet. That way I can learn tricks from both then use what I want from each.

And having just decided all that, I found Kristi Arzola. She felt like the perfect Baby Bear; using mostly wet on wet, but adding details wet on dry after. Unfortunately she only has a few tutorials on offer, but one was a very generous free and well taught tutorial painting an orange poppy.

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My picture’s far from perfect and I should have been braver with my tonal values and adding more detail, but I’m still very pleased with it. It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but I still think I’ll need to follow my two tutor plan.

Stay safe.

Until next time,

Bekki

 

Watercolour Progress

A couple of weeks ago or so, with my creative mojo having gone AWOL, I forced myself to sit down and paint. I also promised myself I would paint every day from then on and share the results weekly on my blog – however bad they were.

Although I broke my second promise and didn’t post last week, I did keep to the first. I started with some technique experimentation that was a bit mad – so we’ll gloss over that – then with painting bees still on my mind, I spotted a bee on these beautiful flowers and decided to paint it.

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This is the point where I need you, dear reader, to tell me what sort of flowers these are – please.

Okay, so the picture was taken after the bee flew away. And yes, I know this is a tall order for a newbie to paint in watercolour, but still I sketched them and made a start.

 

However the level of detail of the flower became rather intimidating. Rather than make a complete mess, I decided I needed to build my detail painting skills and come back to it. So I took a free class from Anna Mason – painting wet on dry. I didn’t have any hot pressed paper, so it doesn’t look as it should, but I’m happy enough with the result.

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Following this I had the urge to to paint a pear wet on wet…

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Somewhere in the last two weeks I also painted a few birds – these are my favourite two…

and I painted an anagram card…

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I’ve a couple of other unfinished painting on the go too. So all in all quite please with my progress and also pleased to say I think I spotted my creative mojo hiding behind my paint brushes last night.

Stay safe, stay well,

Until next time,

Bekki x

 

How’s Your Mojo?

I know I’m not the only one who’s creative mojo went walk about at the start of lock down. I think for me it was mostly about four things:

  1. Getting my brain around the whole situation
  2. Loss of routine.
  3. Having someone else in the house near 24/7 – it’s great him being here, but I like silence and my own space to create in.
  4. The good weather calling me into the garden.

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At the start I was quite happy to take my scattered thinking outside – I knew I need to get my head straighter and there were outside jobs that certainly needed doing. However after a couple of weeks or so of not touching my paint brushes, I was feeling all those fearful beginner thoughts again.  Time, I thought to make myself paint. Paint anything, however bad.

So I did…

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I started with this, just to move my paint brush – they’re supposed to be tulips  – inspired by the  bunch of  tulips Lovely Eldest sent me for mother’s day.

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Another exercise just to get my paint brush moving

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A whole picture!

I wasn’t at all happy with the results – even though I’m very much a watercolour newbie.

I knew the way to get through this was just to keep going, to try and build a routine, but easier said than done with hubby on reduced hours and the days he works changing every week.

I stuttered on, trying to find inspiration, but even when I did I struggled to put my heart into it.

Even the bees I painted, because I was so excited when I found out my friend Ali is a contestant in the Great British Sewing Bee this year.

I soon found myself going days and days without painting again. So today I made a promise to myself. I would paint every day and blog each week about what I’ve painted. However good, however bad, however uninspired.  And that’s it really.

How’s your creative mojo doing?

Stay safe, stay well.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Before and After

I know many of us are feeling our concentration/creativity has done a a bunk, but before mine left I painted a picture of Harry…

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I was pretty pleased with it, but wanted to have a go at doing his fur wet on wet to see the difference.

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As you can see I made a mess of the edges, but I understood why this had happened and with being so new to watercolour was quite happy with what I had achieved and learnt.

However that was the point at which my concentration/creativity upped and off. The picture sat on kitchen table for a week or so, until I decided I’d just finish the eyes and leave the fur as was. After all it was only practice. I could try again when I was back in the right frame of mind.

Opps! Eighties eyeliner anyone?

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What  mess! Sorry Harry. I’m sure I could have tidied this up more, but having made such a mess of his eyes, nose and mouth, I filed it away in the experience pile.

If anyone has any wet on wet tips they think would help me, that would be great, but best not mention the black.

Stay safe, stay well.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Following My Heart – Watercolour Progress

This morning Pauline at The Contented Crafter posted a lovely post containing some beautiful photos to help improve our sense of well being. Unfortunately life is made out of both positives and negatives. So to balance Pauline’s beautiful pics I thought I’d post a pics of my first proper watercolour painting.

In the last few weeks there has been technique learning/practising and experimenting…  

Quite a few of small practice pictures…

And after 6 weeks of owning some watercolour paints, I’ve finally produced a bigger picture…

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It’s a little old fashioned, because I followed a project in an old book. There’s also a fair few things to be improved, but considering I’ve only owned a box of watercolour paints for six weeks, I’m pretty jolly pleased.

Be kind. Stay safe. Stay well.

Bekki x

Back to the Fuchsia

At the end of last week I finally made a decision and bought some watercolour pencils.

Derwent Intense Colour PencilsI rummaged through my sketchbook and found this fuchsia sketch

 

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Unfortunately as I copied the sketch onto my watercolour a paper I was also looking at a photo of the flower and leaves, but it was at a slightly different angle, so my drawing ended up a bit squiffy.  Unfortunately I was drawing in the watercolour pencils, so couldn’t rub out and correct it.

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I then shaded it in.

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Then for the exciting part…

I added water…

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Parts of it weren’t quite dark enough, so I coloured and added water again, then drew the veins in…

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I’m pleased with it, but it does look a bit too much like coloured pencil in places and the leaves to look a bit blotchy and greasy. I wondered of this was because I coloured it twice, so tried again, colouring only once and comparing with a watercolour of the same leaves…

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Comparing my results, I think the blotchyness  is actually down to the rough surface of the paper. I think next time I’ll try to draw something more textured on this paper and save drawing flowers until I have some smoother paper.

Until next time,

Bekki x

Following my Heart – who needs easy?

It’s been almost a month since I posted my first acrylic paintings…

There’s a very good reason why. While I was working on the beach hut I started two other paintings. But once I’d finished the beach hut, I couldn’t get the oomph to work on them. After they’d sat untouched on the kitchen table for about a week, I packed everything away.

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To be honest I’d known from the first strokes that I didn’t like acrylic painting. Too splotchy IMO and although I do have two beautiful acrylic painting I love, they’re the exception. I’m rarely drawn to acrylic (or oil) paintings.

So why did I choose to explore acrylic? I hear you ask.

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Because people who knew more about art that me advised that  if I wanted to bring colour into my work I should try acrylic first; much easier than watercolour. But when did I like easy?

However while I wasn’t acrylic painting I’d had been working on my graphite pencil portrait of Harry. I’d loved working on all that detail and wondered if I’d be happier working in coloured pencil, but I knew I wasn’t keen on the look of coloured pencil. While I explored the coloured pencil market, wondering if I really wanted to buy an expensive set of colour pencils, I spotted Derwent’s Inktense watercolour pencils. I then began to wonder if they were what I wanted.  While I dithered, a beginners’ watercolour workshop was posted at art group for February.

I love the look of watercolour. Working on all that detail on Harry had made me realise how much patience I have for this, how much I love learning more complicated things. So how could I ignore a beginners watercolour workshop?

I bought some paints last week. Watched a heap of YouTube tutorials and had a go ahead of the workshop (long story here about trying to stretch paper when I didn’t have any gummed tape, which is why the edges are rubbish) …

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Wet on wet single colour gradient
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Wet on wet, two colour gradient
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Wet on wet playing with dabbing various colour.
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Bird on a tree

They might not be very good, but I loved the technique, the way the watercolours behave and that there’s so much to learn and master.

Who needs easy? Not me when it comes to painting.

Until next time.

Bekki x