I have gotten to the stage when painting flowers in watercolors is no longer fun. I am not sure it has ever been fun. If anything, I have found it frustrating – especially when I am trying to paint from my own photos. I had an unsuccessful day yesterday. So, I am taking a break from painting flowers in watercolors and going back to the basics. I think I might be better at painting landscapes in watercolors. I know I can paint flowers in acrylics, and I can draw them. I am just not good at painting them in watercolors. At least, not right now.
I have a book (yes, another book!) by Charles Evans called Quick & Clever Watercolours. I also have his book on top tips for watercolor artists. Some of the techniques overlap, but there is enough variety in both books to warrant having them. The top tips is a small hardback and can easily be carried around for reference. Today I worked on trees. I have some Daler-Rowney 140lb cold pressed watercolor paper, A4, that I cut in half. When one side was dry, I used the other side. These are exercises, not masterpieces. The author uses only 4 brushes. There are also exercises for using watercolor pencils. I will be using a sketchbook for the exercises with pencils. This is what I worked on today in-between chores.
These are small, approximately 5.5 x 8 inches. By the time I got to picture number 3, I already had some experience for mixing the colors and using the brushes as the mixes were pretty much the same. My brushes are not the same size as the author’s, but close. I really liked using the rigger brush and will most likely get another one. It is great for making branches. I have a number 2 and the author uses a number 3. My weeping willow in picture 4 is not great and I need to practice those more. The trunk and branches are good, but the brush let me down for doing the leaves. I might try that part with a fan brush next time.
The author also uses a limited palette of 8 colors. I don’t have two of his colors and had to improvise. I will most likely get them the next time I am out in the car, and also get a couple of brushes. The good thing about working with a limited palette is that it pulls the whole painting together by mixing up the basics to get other colors. The undertones will all work together. When cleaning out my art cupboard to get all of my watersolubles together, I found another palette. I will most likely use this for landscape painting, especially as I am running out of room on the palette I am currently using. So this is where I am right now with watercolors. I know there was a reason I avoided using them when I started painting, but for some reason I got hooked when I took a class. Maybe I was trying to do too much, too soon. Let’s see how this goes.