Saturday, 27 May 2017

Watercolour Painting on a Budget - Paints Update

Up until recently my recommendation for Artists Quality paints has been Daler Rowney and Lukas. This is based on a combination of quality allied to price. I have been buying Daler Rowney from an art shop in Bath at better than mail order prices, which even so were very competitive. I realise personal preference plays a part in choosing and others may have different ideas. In addition prices vary country to country so this recommendation only applies to Europe.




Last week I went into the Bath shop and to my horror saw the prices were now £12.75p for series 1 and 2 and over £17 for Series 3 all 15ml. There was a notice saying 'would you buy at these new prices'? I politely told the lady in the shop that I wouldn't. She was obviously concerned and said there had been a price increase and presumably - although she didn't say so - the extra discounts that enabled them to sell so competitively had been withdrawn. I then checked Jacksons prices and found they had increased to just over £10 Series 1/2 and £14 for series 3. As a result I did a round robin of the various makes to see how they stacked up.

My new recommendations are 1st choice Lukas (24ml) closely followed by Sennelier (21ml) Maimeri  (15ml) is also in the mix. I believe Lukas are now owned by the Daler Rowney group so this may not last we shall have to see. Sennelier, with the largest range, has to be a serious contender.  Scmincke, although more expensive with the new improved and enlarged range are also on my radar and I've just ordered Perylene Violet and Perylene Green (both £9 for 15ml) to try out. The cheapest Daniel Smith is now in excess of £10 and Graham and Da Vinci are not considered because they are only available via Lawrence of Hove who have a fixed carriage charge. Although I've gone off Graham due to various problems with the paints I am intrigued by Da Vinci and if I was close enough to visit the shop would probably buy some. In the USA I know prices on Daniel Smith, Da Vinci and Graham are much more competitive but as usual in the UK we get ripped off. I haven't mentioned Winsor and Newton who are (or used to be!) regularly offered at extra discounts. You can mix makes don't let that old chimera that you shouldn't put you off doing so.

My comments only refer to Artists Quality. There are alternatives. The Korean Shin Han and Mijello are very competitively priced but I have reservations about them.  Many other artists seem to find them satisfactory but be selective in which ones you buy with a preference for single pigment paints. There is  also  the Japanese Turner from Jacksons at very keen prices. Lots use St Petersburg quite happily. We now have some house brands which are worth a try. There are also Cotman, Venezia and Van Gogh in the budget makes. Take your pick.

Before closing I note papers have also increased in price. Prices are now £32.60 for Waterford and £35 for Fabriano - blocks I should add. My favourite block size is "16 x 12"  Fabriano Artistico and Saunders - although Fabriano have this strange size of "12 x 18". We watercolourists are being taken to the cleaners!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Latest Paintings

The following were done over the last two to three weeks, mostly at AVA Thursday sessions.



16" x 12" Lanaquarelle 140lb (300gsm) not Subject : Trees.  This is an apple tree. We are allowed considerable leeway in our interpretation of the subject. Various greens, reds and orange/yellows with some blue.



16" x 12" Lanaquarelle 140lb (300gsm) not. Subject: Single Flower. This was the second of two. I had about 40 minutes left so did this one which I'd already drawn. Mainly mixtures of red and blue to get this mauvish colour. I used some masking fluid around the white area in the centre. A mix of green again.


16" x 12" Fabriano Artistico 16" x 12" Extra White not. Subject: Single Flower. The original Fabriano block is 18" x 12" but I don't like that size so reduce the painting area to 16" x 12". Mainly reds, yellows and orange colours.




16" x 12" Fabriano Artistico Extra White not. Same as above reduced the painting area. Subject: Farm/Domestic Animals.



16" x 12" Lanaquarelle 140lb not. Same subject as above. This was a thirty minute painting. I had done the drawing the previous day.

I'm not too displeased with most of these although my favourites are the animals. I even like the little pig - a minimalist painting! You may note I've photographed them with a surrounding mount. This is an experiment to see if I can make them look better! I need all the help I can get.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Medicine Crow

This is my latest Amerindian portrait of a warrior called Medicine Crow. I don't know what tribe. Added 16/05/17 Actually he is a Crow Indian.


Medicine Crow - 16" x 12" Lanaquerelle 140lb (300gsm) not

This is based on another of the old black and white/sepia photographs and is an interpretation of it rather than a straight copy. I'm not great at copying and avoid doing so as much as possible. This is one of the hardest things when painting from photographs as the tendency to try and copy has to be resisted.

Some of my indians are too light in respect of the skin colour but here the result is closer to this dark-skinned individual. Colours used were limited with various mixes involving Ultramarine Blue, Translucent Brown (Schminke PBr41), Burnt Umber plus some Cadmium Red Light. There are touches of one or two other colours like Raw Sienna and Gold Ochre. 

This was painted at home, first a pencil drawing using a Pentel mechanical pencil, Size 7 2B. I then painted it in two stages, first of all the features beginning with the eyes, then the nose and mouth followed by the remainder of the face then the hair. I completed the painting the following day.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Khadi Watercolour Paper

 I was in Foyles bookshop in Cabot Circus Bristol, a while ago and noticed they were selling Khadi watercolour paper in a variety of sizes. As the prices were very good for a handmade paper I couldn't resist buying an A3 pack of 20 sheets. Weight is 320gsm, slightly over 140lbs. The surface is moderately rough. 

Khadi is an Indian handmade paper from 100% long fibered cotton rag. I read somewhere else that it was recycled cotton and they have a mill in Southern India. They do a range of papers and have expanded considerably since the original launch in the 1980s, so they obviously have their adherents. Google 'Khadi' to get to the website.


Apart from Moldau the only other handmade paper I've tried is one under the Jacksons name and I wasn't very impressed. It soaked up paint like blotting paper and was very uneven. Khadi is  a little like this but then so is Moldau. I've not stretched so whether others do this I  don't know. The initial attraction about Khadi is the price which is cheaper than the quality mould-made cotton papers. I have looked up some reviews and they are mixed. This thing about the paper soaking up paint rears it's head again. Obviously the lighter weights would not be so prone to do this. Nevertheless many artists would appear to use it and availability is widespread.



Amerindian Cowboy circa 1900 - A3 Khadi 320gsm

The above is only one painting but I thought the result promising. Until I've done a few more with this paper I can't make a definitive statement  - at least from my own experience - so I'll reserve final judgement until then but will report in a future post.

To quote one example Jacksons (Jacksonsart.com) do a huge range in sizes and weights , from 1000gsm to 210gsm! The A3 size - slightly larger than 16" x 12" - pack of 20 sheets  costs £14.40p. When you consider a block of  20 sheets Waterford (my preferred choice 100% cotton mould-made) 16" x 12" costs £28.60,  this is very reasonable.

I'd be interested in readers experiences if they have tried this paper.
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Monday, 1 May 2017

Watercolour Paintings (30)

Here are the latest batch to start off May. A bumper crop. Once again a very diverse group showing the wide range of this underrated medium. As I've often said my personal preference is impressionistic and loose watercolours - even minimalist ones. That doesn't mean I don't admire the more detailed works shown here. It is simply that I have neither the skill,  inclination or patience to do such detailed works. My guru Charles Reid- actually I have three - said in a workshop I attended that some people said he couldn't draw a straight line!  As this just about sums me up  - except with a ruler - I rest my case.




Diann C Benoit

A favourite artist of mine



Catherine Rey

Another favourite artist - I have so many!



Nigar Deniz Damir



Mahmood Samandarian



Joan Coch Rey

Amazing detail. How do they do this in watercolour?


Zhon Tianya

Not certain I have the correct artist here



Yuko Nagayama

The fabulous Japanese artist - so delicate



N B Gurung. The Master Nepalese artist



Gerard Hendriks

I love this! The contrast between the colours of the bird and the grey- greens of the surrounding area - wow!



Laurin McCracken

This is an amazing watercolour. Not my taste but wonderful skill and look how the red of the cherries sets off the greys.



Edward Seago

The British Master . This is a typical Seago landscape and he did many similar ones. This type of painting isn't as popular these days but again not much detail and very powerful.





Catherine Rey - again!



Rose Ann Hayes




Judith Farnworth

I like Judiths work a lot




Rukiye Garip

Amazing detail





Andrew Geeson

A new artist to me - love the looseness of this. Has some videos on Youtube.



Michael Jasiewicz



Andrew Geeson

Another very loose one - some think this type of painting is easy but I can assure you it isn't. I know from bitter experience. I've been trying to master it for 18 years.



Shyam Dongarwar



Gn Madhu



Aud Rye

The birds are the only real detail here but don't they hold it together.




Judith Farnworth

A more abstract painting from Judith. I love the colours and had to include it!



Stan Miller

The Master of portraits and much else. See his demos on Youtube.




Thats it folks. Hope you like them.