Friday, 21 October 2016

New Products

I've recently bought two new items, basically to solve the same problem. This is my propensity to get masking fluid and acrylic white paint on my clothes. The problem is once it's on you can't get either off. This is due to my  clumsiness which seems to be increasing with age! The pleasures of growing old!

Jacksons Adjustable Artist Apron £23.50p

Getting acrylic white (Vallejo) on my trousers two weeks ago was the last straw. I had to do something about it. Two of the ladies in my group. Pat and Pauline, already wear them but they are a different shape to me and their aprons are on the short side. I wanted something to cover most of my trousers. Pat actually offered to make me one but as I didn't want to put her to the trouble I declined with thanks. Looking at what's available from our usual sources I saw that Ken Bromley had at least two different sorts and so had Jacksons. In the end I decided on the Jacksons because although the most expensive it seemed the most adaptable. It is designed to be unisex and  also adjustable. If you are interested Jacksons illustrates both front and back views. Most others seem a little shorter. It was a little fiddly at first (I'm clumsy) but you soon get the hang of putting the two straps over your shoulders and putting them through the large metal eyelets at the back, which then allows you to tie the straps as loosely or tight as you wish. My initial verdict is favourable although I've only worn it once so far.

Zest-it Masking Fluid Remover. 50ml £4.30p

Jacksons catalogue actually says clothes as well as brushes can be cleaned in claiming this stuff will remove masking fluid. As everyone know masking fluid is lethal in the wrong place and that includes your clothes. I would have thought acrylic paint would be no harder to remove but as far as I can see it just didn't work. In additon the small print on the bottle seems to indicate this stuff misused is dangerous as there are dire warnings about using it very carefully.   Nothing about cleaning clothes though. Hmmm!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Watercolor. Made in China.

The above is the name of a page/site I saw referred to on Facebook so investigated. It is a celebration of Chinese watercolour painting, and while I only looked at part of the photographic albums there are a considerable number to peruse and enjoy. The number of Chinese watercolour artists continues to amaze me. Yes, it is a very large country with a huge population but not much is known of these artists in the West, and they are so good. Many it appears are proteges of  the famous Guan Wexing who is better known outside China. Enjoy!  

Liu Shouxiang (b.1958)

Lin Shaoling (b.1957)

Liu Yaping (b.1954)

Wang Hsin (b.1925)

Ou Huanli

Hon Yue (b.1972)

Liu Yi (b.1958)

Lu  Zaikai (b.1957)

Jiang Yue (b.1958)

Tu Weineng

Gao Yaoming

Li Qing (b.1982)

I shall be further exploring this Facebook site and may well post more paintings in future.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Primary Colours?

This post has been prompted by reading the Winsor & Newton Literature for their artist watercolours when I did the recent piece on them. This is an excellent leaflet that folds out and has much of interest, not just solely to do with the brand.   
Before getting into things let me point out that the Handprint site demolishes much of the perceived wisdom promulgated by some- and others - of todays artists, those who write books and articles. It tends to be quite simplistic. Look up Color Theory on Handprint however. You may well find it impossible to take it in it's entirety and  much of it indigestible, but it's all there with the forensic approach that typifies Bruce McEvoys work. While he no longer updates the site this information remains current. Obviously there will be those who disagree  but I'm not one to argue. Essentially he says that much of current colour theory is a misconception and explains in great detail why. I'll leave it at that.

I thought I read somewhere on Handprint that 'originally' there were four primaries which included green but I haven't been able to find the relevant quote

What I thought I would do is cover what some of the leading makers say in relation to their own ranges. We know  as a starting point that the three primary colours are said to be red, yellow and blue
but as McEvoy says which ones, as there are many to choose from. What are usually described as primary colours are actually the so-called printers colours Yellow, Cyan and Magenta. McEvoy claims that the technically ideal primary set would actually be Cobalt Violet (PV49), Cobalt Teal Blue (PG50) and Bismuth Yellow(PY184). Why are they not used? McEvoy says because of the nature of these particular pigments they would clog up the printers - and he gives other reasons - so they are not used. In other words the whole thing is a compromise as so often happens.

Winsor & Newton recommend Winsor Lemon (PY175), Winsor Blue (Red Shade PB15) and Permanent Rose (PV19). To add to this and create the `split' 'palette recommended by Handprint are added Winsor Yellow (PY154), French Ultramarine (PB29) while  Winsor Blue (Green Shade PB15:3) replaces the Red shade and finally Scarlet Lake (PR188). This last is interesting as most makers don't offer this pigment.  This gives you both warm and cool versions of each colour. I must confess when I'm painting I don't suddenly exclaim ' oh dear I've put a warm colour down when it should be cool or vice versa' but maybe I do it automatically - I wish!

Next we'll look at Schminke. The reason is that their literature is also very good - possible the best overall so the information can be gleaned from it. The suggested paints are Lemon Yellow (PY3), Cadmium Red Light (PO20), and Ultramarine Finest (PB29). Quite different to W & N. Added to this to give warm and cool versions are Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35), Permanent Carmine (PV19) and Prussian Blue (PB27). However if you look at the list of paints they also say Magenta (PV42) is the basic colour magenta in colour theory and also Hello Cerulean (PB15:3). in regard to Cyan. They do say in each instance 'close to' the basic colour tone. I might add the initial information comes from that given for their standard 12 colour paints box so it might be a little misleading.

Maimeri.  They list Primary Yellow (PY97), Magenta (PV19) and finally Cyan (PB15:3) as the initial three. I'm not sure about the next three but possibley Ultramarine Blue (PB29), Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35) and Cadmium Red Light (PR108). If you won't use Cadmiums then there is a problem. I might e-mail Maimeri and ask them what they recommend. I've actually done this so await a reply. My e-mail was bounced back saying it had been identified as 'spam'. That's one way of avoiding the question.

Dale Rowney. The choices seem to  be either Lemon Yellow (PY3) or Bismuth Yellow (PY184),  Phthalo Blue (Red Shade PB15) and Permanent Rose (PV19). To make six add Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35), Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) and Ultramarine Blue (PB29) or replace the Red shade of PB15 with the Green shade.

Holbein. Most of their yellows are mixtures so I can't determine which one would be the primary. They do several Cadmiums including 'yellow pale' and 'yellow light' but their Lemon Yellow includes white. Red is equally difficult perhaps Permanent Alazarin Crimson? Blue isn't a lot clearer Manganese Blue Nova (PB15) or Ultramarine Blue (PB29) our even Marine Blue (PB16).

Graham. Yellow would be either Hansa Yellow (PY3) or Bismuth Yellow (PY184). Red Quinacridone Rose or Violet (PV19) and blue Phthalocyanine Blue Red Shade (PB15:0). Additional colours could be Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35), Permanent Alazarin Crimson (PR264) and Ultramarine Blue (PB29) with Phthalocyanine Blue green shade (PB15:3) replacing the red shade. Prussian Blue (PB27) would be an alternative.

Lukas, Lemon Yellow (PY3), Magenta (PR122) or Genuine Rose (PV19). and Cyan (PB15:3). To make six Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35), Alazarin Crimson (PR176) and either Ultramarine Blue Light or Deep, Prussian Blue (PB27) or even Turquoise (PB16).

Sennelier. Lemon Yellow (PY3), Carmine (PV19) and Phthalocyanine Blue (PB15:3). Add PrimaryYellow (PY74) or Cadmium Yellow Light (PY35), Scarlet Laquer (PR188) and either Ultramarine Blue Light (PB29) or Prussian Blue(PB27).

Blockx. Primary Yellow (PY154) or Blockx Yellow (PY3), Magenta (PV19), Primary Blue (PB15:3). The next three might be Cadmium Yellow Pale (PY35), Quinacridone Magenta (PR122) or Crimson Lake (PR264) and either Ultramarine Blue Light or Deep PB29) or Prussian Blue (PB27)'

That will have to do. I was intending to include Daniel Smith but with no clear guidance on the literature and with such a huge range I've decided not to risk it.

Another complication is that there are different colours within a single pigment number, examples being PV19 that has rose, red, and violet shades. Ultramarine blue has also many variations as a recent post based on  research  from Zvonimir illustrated.

This has proved more difficult than I anticipated because no-one other than Winsor & Newton give really clear guidance. Some of my assumptions may be incorrect so are open to correction. Please feel free to comment. These 6 colours are just the start as most artists will have at least 12 and often far more. What other colours to add? In a restricted number I imagine two or three or more  earth colours are a must plus a green. It's all a matter of personal preference as there are so many fantastic colours out there. If you favour a particular subject like flowers then you have to expand the number further. You could do worse than consult Handprint on 'palettes'. This has all (and more) information on how to put together your palette of paints and what to choose and why.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Watercolour Paintings (23)

To start October - now we are into Autumn in the UK - are the latest batch of paintings. I hope there is something for everybody, and they are picked in part to show the diversity of the medium and the different styles and techniques that exist. There are a number of new artists not previously featured. I hope you like them.

Slawa Prischedko - husband of Viktoria

I absolutely love this - fabulous. How I wish I could emulate his work.

Genevieve Buchanan

A lovely lady who I met on a couple of Charles Reid workshops. She has developed an ultra loose style somewhat to the left of Charles!

Orhan Gurel

Another superb artist from Turkey I think.

Charles Reid

The above model is Joseph Wolfskill, a favourite subject, who has been painted by Charles on numerous occasions and features in some of his books - two of them are in `Watercolour Solutions'. He has changed over the years!

Another from Slawa Prischedko

Ewa Ludwiczak

Ewa- a fine artist - is almost a clone of Charles Reid and emulates his style better than anyone else I've come across. Perhaps she should put more of her own stamp and individuality on her paintings.

John Yardley

The doyen of English watercolour artists - although he also paints in oils - this was painted in Brugge some years ago and features in his book 'John Yardley A Personal View'.

Fran├žoise Dupasquier

Another new one.

Bev Jozwiak

The fabulous American artist. Bev paints in various mediums but I think this one is watercolour.

Pasqualino Fracasso

New to me. I like his depiction of light.

Roberto Zangarelli

Another new to me. The red umbrella is the attraction.

Guan Wiexing

The doyen of Chinese watercolour artists and teacher of many of the fabulous younger generation. I read somewhere that he uses Cotman paints and Bockingford paper. So much for the `very best materials'.

Dusan Djukaric

Dusan is a regular on Facebook and most of his work appears on there.

Michal Jasiewicz

Another I know little about. Possibly Polish. Look at how blue features in the above painting. Several shades though with coolness on the right hand side and warmer colours towards the left showing the light.

Michal Jasiewicz

 A second painting from Michal.

That's it then. Food for thought`? 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Latest Paintings

These are the latest paintings I've done mostly at Avon Valley Artist sessions.  I reiterate I don't post these as good just my current work. The only 'serious one' - by that I mean I was really trying - is the first one. I did have a record of her name but have mislaid it. It wasn't very lyrical though just several short indian words separated by hyphens.

Indian Maiden 16" x 12" Waterford High White 300gsm not

This was partially drawn at an AVA session then corrected at home. I then commenced painting. Finally I completed it last Thursday at the AVA session. I'm fairly pleased with the final result. You can see there is a lot of blue in the hair and the reddish skin colouring is Cadmium Red Light with a little Raw Sienna. 

Abstract ? Cornwall 210lb matt surface

The subject last Thursday was 'Abstracts',  I decided to look at the book 'Realistic Abstracts' by Kees van Aalst for inspiration. In it are some watercolour portraits by Slawa Prischedko. I then looked up agnes-cecille (Sylvia Pelissero) of the Deviant Art movement. Her portraits are quite startling and not to everyones taste. I find them interesting but wonder where she gets her inspiration. They have the look of a tortured soul. Mine isn't so extreme but would fit (I think !) in the Kees interpretation of realistic abstracts. Comments welcome. It was fun to do though and is one way of loosening up. I used Cornwall paper for this one and it seemed generally ok.

Hidden fawn 16" x 12" Waterford (?)

This was a wildlife subject at an AVA session

Butterfly 16" x 12" Centenaire

Same as the above.

Next week the subject is buildings - not my favourite subject - followed by Harvest Time. What I generally do is Google the subject then click on images, Usually something catches my eye, sometimes more than others.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Winsor and Newtons Artists Watercolours

Having recently posted on Holbein it struck me I'd never covered Winsor and Newton in detail. By this I don't mean an analysis of all the individual paints but an overview of the paint range, in this case the artists water colours. In addition to the artists range W & N have the well-regarded second line Cotman but that is outside the scope of the present post. 

 This and the following illustration show the new metal tubes introduced quite recently.

The tube sizes, left to right are 37ml (limited range), 14 ml, and 5 ml. Also available are half, full size pans and a limited range in giant pans.

One of the limited edition sets of 5 ml tubes of which there are two. Expensive.

Winsor & Newton were started in 1832 by a scientist, William Winsor and an artist Henry Newton at 38 Rathbone Place, London. In 1837 they introduced the first glycerine based moist watercolours and patented the screw cap tube in 1844.  For many years they have been the standard at which others are judged and this is still partly the case although they are under attack by, especially, the American company Daniel Smith. Handprint while in general claiming the American makes, all much more recent,  are better than the long-established, mainly European makes, did not claim this with respect to W & N, although saying they were 'under competitive attack' by some other makes  of equal quality in many colours at lower prices. This mainly referred to the American market.

Unfortunately W & N are no longer British, having been sold to a Swedish company in 1990. Since then I believe ownership has changed again to a German corporation or multinational. Production of the artists watercolours has also been transferred to France. If we were able to untangle this web it might well lead to the Russian or Chinese governments. Only joking but who knows who owns what these days? Members of the Newton family were still involved into the 1970s but no longer.

The Range? 96 colours all but three of which are given excellent lightfastness ratings. Handprint always suggested you take manufacturers ratings with a pinch of salt and disputed quite a number. Here the three culprits are Rose Madder Genuine (NR9), Opera Rose (PR122 + a dye) and Alazarin Crimson (PR83). The original Opera is by Holbein and it acquired quite a following by mainly American artists despite it being known to be fugitive. W & N say Opera Rose is `significantly more lightfast than older pigments of its type'.  The W & N formulation seems identical to that from Holbein although they don't specify what the dye is (Holbein - BV10). W & N have an excellent leaflet that folds out into a large double-sided sheet containing much useful information. In terms of the information provided is goes beyond  Schminke. Transparency, opacity, warm and cool colours, everything is there with much else besides. Virtually every art shop I've ever visited who sell the brand has this leaflet.

There are some quirks in the range. Cadmium Orange for example is a mixture of Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow not the true PO20. They have the habit of giving certain colours the prefix of `Winsor', for example Winsor Blue (PB15), Winsor Green (PG36)  , two versions of each. Qinacridone Gold is now a three pigment mix that correctly should be labelled a `hue'. However everything is there and most paints are labelled reasonably correctly not the flights of fancy some indulge in. One of the standout colours is Permanent Rose (PV19) a favourite of many flower painters. I keep reading they are the most expensive paints in America apart from Bloxx but this isn't the case in the UK where,  although in the top tier of prices, they are competitive and cheaper than Daniel Smith. You need to allow for the fact though that the 14ml tube size is unique to them, although the web art supplier Ken Bromley has it's own brand in this size compared to others of mostly standard 15ml. It does make a difference. As for sizes I wish they would offer either a 21ml or 24ml rather than the huge 37ml. Even though the price per ml is lower it is still too rich for most amateurs.

I've used and still do W & N paints. I don't major on them because of my price philosophy but they are good quality and have a long pedigree. They are regularly on special offer in the UK and that's when I buy some. I'm sure Daniel Smith has given them a shock and the lights burn long in the marketing dept to counter this. At least when I queried them over the Cotman policy I had a long e-mail correspondence, rather than  no reply from either Daniel Smith or Maimeri. I got nowhere in the end but that's beside the point at least they replied. One result has been the introduction of 'special edition' sets, two so far, and it may be other initiatives will follow.  I've given my view on the special sets and will say no more on the subject.   Worth buying? Absolutely.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Watercolour Paintings (22)

Here are this months batch of watercolour paintings to interest and (hopefully) inspire. Of course as far as styles are concerned 'different strokes for different folks'. This certainly applies in my case and I prefer in general 'loose' paintings however that may be defined. I do admire many others even though I don't aspire to paint like them. Perhaps it is a case of painting within my limitations, although anyone who thinks painting 'loose' is easy is mistaken because there is a very small margin between loose paintings and a mess. One of the secrets I've defined is that  the very best  artists who paint like this are actually really  good at detail and know how to put just enough in, which sets off the rest. Oh I wish!

Bev Jozwiak

I like this ladies paintings very much. She alternates between acrylics and watercolour and I think the above is watercolour (?), although the actual results of the two mediums don't appear that different.   

Artist? Not sure who this is - it could be Bev again -  but decided to leave it in. If I find out who the artist is  I'll put details in later.

Milind Mulick. A very fine prolific artist whose use of colour deserves serious study. 

Jean Haines

I'm not a fan of this lady although she has a large group of enthusiastic followers.

Virgil Carter - I first encountered Virgil - a charming and knowledgeable artist - on Wetcanvas. He has a very distinctive style using very bold colour.

Catherine Rey

I love the work of this French artist.

Charles Reid

I am a follower of Charles Reid, who everyone reading this blog will know. Especially His portrait and figure work.

Trevor Lingard - a fine British artist, always interesting and varied.

Morten E Solberg Snr

Super American artist who combines animals and the landscape in a way no other does.

Another from Bev Joswiak

Milind Mulick again - amazing

Sun Yu - unknown to me but quite superb.

Another from Milind just to show his versatility

Who else but Viktoria Prischedko!