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.


Connie in Alabama said...

I am an art quilter who has been learning watercolors for two years, and it is a wonderful way to play with color and composition. You did the right thing buying the professional grade paints; it is so important to get the best paint, paper, and brushes with watercolor. I joke that my box of tube paints is my "million dollar box." Just wait until you get addicted to beautiful big brushes!

Heather Dubreuil said...

Thanks for your encouragement, Connie. I am thinking about taking some instruction from a local teacher. No doubt it will be good for my ego to be a true beginner in a new medium!