Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Playing with watercolours
When I discovered I was going to be in the neighbourhood of "Europe's largest art supply emporium", I knew I had to investigate the Atlantis store, next door to Spitalfields market. They must have seen me coming a mile away.
"I have a chance to spend a few days in the country and thought I'd try my hand at watercolour. Could you suggest something?" Perhaps there is a competition amongst the staff for the most outrageous outfitting of the earnest beginner.
Two hundred dollars later, I was the proud owner of a top quality set of Winsor & Newton half-pan cakes in 16 colours, a small brush, a spiral-bound pad of paper and a paint box with the all-important enamel-surfaced mixing palettes.
I enjoy following Shari Blaukopf's blog with its daily posts of her very accomplished watercolour sketches, and I do think that as an artist it's important to stretch yourself by trying new media from time to time.
With a full day and my hostess's sunlit studio all to myself, I began a study of a tabletop arrangement of sunflowers.
After lunch I found a couple of perspectives on her lovely garden, this time putting down a preliminary sketch with black ink.
Now I know I have a lot to learn about watercolour as a medium: sgraffito, working on wet paper, the beauty of transparent layering.
Still, I did have a real sense of satisfaction at the end of a day of puttering.
My second landscape even made a personal, one-of-a-kind gift to my generous hostess.