Saturday, 15 November 2014

New Paints and New Plans

First may I say a great big thank you to all of you who have sent me messages on and about the last post I wrote, Monday? It Must be Leaves. It is so heart warming for me to hear how my step-by-steps and tips have encouraged and given confidence to others. The feedback you have given me has, in turn given me great confidence and I now feel it's time to disclose my latest venture.

In the new year I am planning some online subscription tutorials, with videos and real-time classes, giving loads of step-by-step advice and tips on a range of botanical watercolour subjects. For each of the projects, I will take you through materials and equipment, then onto each stage, from drawing to painting, and finally onto finishing techniques to complete your piece, along with any troubleshooting tips. Of course, the blog won't miss out, and there will still be plenty here, but with the tutorials I will be able to go into greater depth.

If you think this might be for you, please do leave a comment or send me a message. I'd love to know what you think.

'It is the supreme art of the teacher 

to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.'

Well, I certainly hope I can do that, even a little bit, and do Albert proud. So, just to get in the mood, here's a little step-by-step to a small sketchbook study of Dahlia buds I completed today for the Nature Trail Sketchbook Exchange, using my lovely new M. Graham watercolours that arrived in the post this morning.

Here's the finished bud
(it's really very tiny, so I have enlarged quite a bit here)

Now onto the steps

Laying a first wet-in-wet wash of Perylene Maroon and a touch of
Indanthrene Blue

Dropping in a touch of green
made with Lemon Yellow and Indanthrene Blue
Allowing the two colours to blend a little

Using dry brush and a stronger mix of Perylene Maroon
and Indanthrene.
The stem is also taking shape

Sepals with a light wash of Azo Yellow and Ultramarine,
extra colour dropped in.

A little of the red mix is added to the sepals
Further dry brush used on the bud and stem

Extra definition to the edge of the sepals to sharpen them up.
Final dry brush touches and details to bud

Another finished bud
Using the same techniques, the light and shade are defined with the green and red.
As dahlia buds can be very shiny, some white from the paper can be allowed to remain and emphasise the shiny surface 

A little composition. 

The final trio of buds.
As this was a sketchbook piece using my brand new M. Graham watercolours, I am quite pleased

To see the rest of the page that I completed for this particular sketchbook, you will have to take a look at the Nature Trails Blog next week.

Crikey! Now just wait a minute, I spy a glaring error there. What to do? Aha remedy time.

The culprit here is that stem.
It should be going behind that top sepal.

So, it's out with the Magic Sponge.

I cut small pieces at angles to give a really good point to get into those tiny spots.
Wet the area a little using clean water and a fine brush.
I always dab the brush a bit so not too much water goes on the paper.
Work the water into the are a little, the dab with the sponge.

Don't rub!
The paint should lift with just a couple of gentle dabs.
This is a Perylene mix which is very staining. 

Once 'erased', leave the area to dry completely.

If really rough, I 'burnish' the paper with the back of a spoon to make it a little smoother.

This is sketchbook paper, so needed just a little smoothing.
To do this, I gently roll the back of the bowl of the spoon over the paper

Using the same palette of colours, (lucky i still had them in the palette)

Carefully repaint the areas to bring the sepal forward and the stem back.

The sepals on a dahlia should look as if the are in a ring around the stem.

It's not a perfect job, but in a sketchbook piece it still demonstrates the method quite well



Janene said...

Thanks for the great visual on how to use the eraser sponge. I've tried it before with limited success, but your method is different and looks like it works well. Great tip!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Well, after I spotted my mistake, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to discuss the remedy. Glad it was of some help :) x

Debbie Nolan said...

Dear Jarnie - wow this was wonderful and also to see how you corrected an error. Thank you for sharing these wonderful tips. Let me know about your tutorials. They sound like great fun. Now I am going to go check out your "It Must be Leaves". PS loved the lyrics you used on your sketch book page. A favorite song of mine. Have a lovely day.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

It's always my pleasure Debbie. If you can't hide a problem, so make a feature of it. That's my dad's advice so I go with it. If you like you can sign up for the newsletter to get the latest on the tutorials. It's something I have really wanted to introduce and am hoping to get that going later in 2015.

Maria la Montagne said...

Hi Jarnie,
that would be great! Having tutorials and helpful tips and tricks coming from you!
I love your work and since I'm starting coming January with the SBA distance course, it would be a great help for me.
Wishing you a nice weekend!

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Hi Maria, yes I am hoping that you will be able to join wherever you are as it will all be based on the website.I will keep the updates coming on the newsletter.

Good luck with the SBA, I know you will love it and will do very well.:) x