27 June 2007

Feed the birds...

Here's another version of the girl that I posted a while back, this time with added pigeons! The vague shapes on the upper right were supposed to represent a flurry of feathers as more birds hurried over!! The fact that I've had to tell you this shows how well that worked! :( Part of the reason for doing this was to experiment with a new squirrel mop that I've just got from Jackson's Art Supplies; their own brand ones are currently on sale with a 60% discount, so I couldn't resist. I've never used a squirrel brush before; I'm amazed both by how much water it holds and by how soft it is.

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24 June 2007

Botanical illustration

Yesterday I attended a workshop in botanical illustration at the Harcourt Arboretum (part of Oxford University's Botanical Garden) run by Valerie Price, an artist trained in scientific illustration who has done work for, among others, Kew Gardens. Although you might not guess it from the very loose paintings I've posted here recently, I've always been fascinated by this type of detailed, highly accurate drawing and painting. I very much enjoy doing this style of work, even though I'm nowhere near being capable of the incredible detail the real experts can achieve. It seems to be unusual for people to enjoy producing both very loose and very detailed work; I suppose it doesn't really make sense to try to work in different styles, but after all I'm only doing it for fun, not to make a living!

My experience of taking classes in watercolour is that teachers invariably want you to work larger, wetter and looser, so it was a refreshing change to take a class with someone that thought my number 6 brush (the second smallest I own!) was "rather long", who stresses careful preliminary drawing involving painstaking measurement, and for whom A4 is as large format as it gets! I wouldn't want to work like this all the time, but I really enjoyed the day.

This was the result of my day's work...a single flower! But I'm quite pleased with it; I think it has a good feeling of transparency. It's mainly done using W&N opera rose on Fabriano Artistico cold pressed paper. Oh, and the flower is a lavertera.

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21 June 2007

And another one...

Yes, it's another rose! I think tomorrow I'll have to try something different. Like a yellow rose, perhaps. :) Again, this is on a 1/4 imperial sheet of Bockingford NOT.


It's hard to resist painting roses at the moment, as thy are everywhere! So, here's another version. This style is largely inspired by the work of Jean Haines. Anyone interested in her work would also do well to check out the internet forum that she's recently set up (and which I've mentioned before), the Watercolour Haven. This is on a 1/4 sheet of 300gsm Bockingford NOT paper (as was the previous post).

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20 June 2007


I've not been able to post much so far this month, thanks to pressure of real life (boo!). But I hope to put that right with a flurry of posts over the next few days! Here is a watercolour of a Nigella, a lovely blue flower with delicate leaves and attractive seedpods. I'm trying to work in a very loose style. This was done in five minutes or so.

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11 June 2007

Tree study (again!)

I had the chance to go out and draw for a hour or so this evening as the sun was going down, and what better way to spend the time than draw one of my favourite subjects: a tree. I call it a "study" because that sounds like the sort of thing that proper artists do, but really, I just like drawing trees! I had to rush a bit at the end as it was getting dark, but it was a lovely evening to be out drawing.

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07 June 2007

Girl feeding birds, study

I'm planning a painting of a young girl feeding pigeons. This is a quick study of the girl. I don't have a lot of time to do much art at the moment as I'm buried under a big pile of exams that I've got to mark! I know what I'd rather be doing, but I should be finished with the marking this weekend. I've still got that portrait to finish too!

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03 June 2007


Summer has returned to Oxford this weekend, thank goodness. And with all the rain, we've been having, when the sun comes out everything in the garden grows like mad. All our roses are out, pink, white, yellow, orange; patio, bush, climber. I never feel as though any attempt I've made to paint or draw roses have really worked. This year I'm having another go, using a very loose, watercolour style. Still not really right, but I think this approach could work if I keep at it.

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