Making Color Charts

Yesterday, the Jean Haines’ books I ordered had arrived.  I really love her style.  I would love to paint like her.  She has many years of painting behind her, so that is going to be a tough one to follow.  Anyhow, I am inspired by her work.  Right now her books are my bedtime reading.  One of the things she suggested is to make a color chart of your paints.  It is a good idea to see what you have and find out how they work.  She isn’t the only watercolor artist who has suggested it, so I thought it would be a good idea.IMG_1594The above are all Winsor & Newton Artists’ Watercolours.  These are the most popular in the UK and easily purchased in most art stores and The Range.  It looks like I have loads of blue, but I forgot the name of a couple and had to re-do them. Duh!  I have 6 blues!  I just bought a few new colors this week to use on landscapes.  I basically took straight color either from the pan (they are all tube paints, but go hard on the palette) or straight from the tube.  Then I took some clean water and touched the bottoms and sides to see what they do, how they flow.  Some paints are granulating like French Ultramarine and Permanent Mauve and the rest flow pretty smoothly.  Quinacridone Gold has some very interesting properties and moves around a lot.  My least favorite is Raw Umber.  I purchased it for landscapes, but I might need to play around with it more.


The swatches above are Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolours, except for the Raw Sienna, which is Daler-Rowney.  These are student grade paints and what I originally purchased when I tried a WC Class a couple of years ago.  It was the watercolor class that never really was as we spent the first lesson stretching paper, one was cancelled, etc.  A complete waste of time!  The yellow and red primary colors are lacking from my Artist’s colors, and so I ordered them in Artists’ quality, along with a few others.

I painted these swatches on the backs of landscape lessons I did the other day! OMG!  I was not happy with them and was never going to re-work them.  I can still see them on the back of my swatches.  I am going to practice a lot on scrap paper.  No sense in wasting it.

With that thought in mind, I had an idea to try the watercolors on my Camino Landscape.


It doesn’t look like much, but I got some really interesting effects.  My little lavender clumps on the right turned into coral!  It was interesting to see how the paints reacted with each other and when I dropped water in certain places.  I didn’t draw anything, just dropped the colors in freehand.

Art 2015

After this, I tried a couple of exercises from one of my new books and failed miserably.  Although Jean is very positive in her book and thinks anyone can be good at painting, I just can’t help but think I may not be cut out for this watercolor painting lark.  But then I try again!

Finding My Way With Landscapes

After giving myself permission to paint loudly, (I can’t believe I did that! I’m a grownup and can do what I like!) I wanted to try painting from one of my own photographs.  Here is the reference photo I worked from.

Landscapes to Paint

The photos at the bottom are the original.  I cropped to zoom in to get the details and color.  Beautiful isn’t it?  This was a view on The Camino de Santiago.  Makes you want to walk it doesn’t it?  The sun was high and washed out a bit of color in the photo, but I remember how it was.  The sky was bright blue without a cloud, the rape fields were bright yellow, the wild lavender is really purple and the plowed fields had a beautiful red color to it.

Because my painting from yesterday had some runny bits I wasn’t happy with, I decided to paint on the back of it.  Yes, you can do that! There is no wrong side!  Anyway, the wild painting from yesterday was an exercise, as was this below.


This was done on A4 paper.  I tried to use a method from Charles Evans’s book, but with more vibrant colors.  I just used watercolor pencils and inktense pencils for this.  It didn’t quite work the way I wanted and is still a bit blah.  I tried to capture too much detail.  So I worked on the back of another landscape I painted yesterday and did something completely different.


This is on half an A4 piece of paper.  For this I used mainly artbars and Neoart watercolor crayons and sticks.  I also used a different sprayer.  I am much happier with this and have a few more ideas about painting this scene. I focused mainly on shapes and color and used what I remembered seeing rather than trying to capture every detail as in the photo.  At least I feel that I am getting somewhere now!

By the way, this is what the Neoart sticks look like. They are nice and chunky.   I forgot I had them! 🙂


Playing with Aquarelles

I learned something about my art self today.  Well, I already knew what I learned, but I never gave myself permission until now.  I want to paint wild.  I want to paint the type of art that I love that others do.  Does that make sense?  This is probably why I have been a bit frustrated painting flowers with watercolor.  I just love all of the wild and juicy colors, but really don’t know how to use them to their advantage.  I thought by changing my tack and focusing on landscapes instead I would be less frustrated, but I’m not.  I want to paint wild and crazy landscapes.

I love color.  In fact, my house is full of color.  For example, here is photo of my living room.


How many people do you know that have lilac colored walls in their living room (and in the bedroom!), have a set of purple and fuchsia sofa covers and a rainbow colored carpet?  My kitchen used to be turquoise (it came with the house), but now that I have a white kitchen, I had to paint a wild Portuguese Cockerel to offset the turquoise withdrawal.


I also have a turquoise sheer curtain on the back door to diffuse the sunlight.  I don’t have a big house, but it is full of color without being overwhelming.  I also wear colorful clothes.  All of my Camino clothes were color coordinated, down to my socks.  Everything was purple with green and grey trousers, except one melon and one navy t-shirt.  So where is all this leading to you may ask?

Well, while I was pondering what to paint today, my new watercolor pencils arrived in the post!  Hello my lovlies!  IMG_1586 IMG_1587I wanted to try them out, but I have to say that I wasn’t too inspired about painting a landscape from the Charles Evans book I had been working from.  As much as I love landscapes, they can be a bit dull.  I wanted to paint a landscape that was different.  So I rooted around my books and found a book called Drawing and Painting with Water Soluble Media, by Fiona Peart.    The whole book is full of vibrant and colorful ways of painting with Aquarelles.  So, I dug out all of my pencils and crayons and did the first lesson.


It is not quite the same as the one done in the book.  Firstly, I didn’t have the exact same colors, and I am still new to working with Art Bars and all of the pencils. Also, spraying the painting didn’t quite work for me and I found it necessary to go over the piece with my brush, which gave it a different look.  Maybe I need to use a different sprayer. However, it is not a bad effort and has given me ideas of painting one of my own from the many photos I took of poppies on the Camino.

So, for the moment, I am on a huge learning curve until I find out what works best for me.