Thursday, 11 February 2016

Keeping pastels clean.

I like a tidy start with pastels. Ten minutes later it looks slightly different!  Here is the set up, with some colours chosen, put together in tones and colour hues. 
I find having white paper is ideal to test colours and also clean pastels. Using the Pastelmat paper I do find any dirt or muddy colours on the pastels does show on the paper. I also wipe them regularly with tissue, or give them a shake in ground rice. Couscous seems to work too!!If you don't like me have ground rice in the cupboard

I often start with the background. Cooler tones, less detail and getting a feel for the place I'm in.
By the way, I forgot to tell you where we are. 
Looking into the Langdale valley from Lingmell fell, a super inspiring place at any time, but with the sun shining it's pure heaven.

This is as far as I've got, the Pastel sticks have had a party. Masking tape has been applied in the foreground,  I want to retain some of the juicy darks for later. And now it's time to stand back and figure out what needs adjusting.
I like to jump into the studio for a few minutes and see what catches my eye.

I'll keep you posted, with the progress.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Finding the perfect Yellow watercolour

I do find Landscape painting easier than expressing myself with Flowers. But it is all about the challenge and Flowers really get you thinking especially in watercolours. I often think how I would approach the subject in pastels, and I'm sure it could be easier, but do we as artists want easy???

That is the question, do we want to paint atmospheric, soft yet stunning Flowers, I'm sure we do.

Those that know me, will know I have a thing about colours, the ingredients, translucency, staining, flow and the special numbers that make them what they are.

Who said been an artist was easy or boring!!

Today I've been sat thinking about Yellow and doing some research, my friends would laugh if they knew, it's not just a yellow.

Cool, Mid or Warm. Pure, Opaque or tinged with another shade.

So with this in mind, we do need to choose the right colours for our palette, it will make a difference and most importantly give confidence.

I've organised a Fabulous Flower watercolour course in Grasmere staying at the very special Glenthorne with a super studio in the Gardens. It's going to be just a small group, but I promise at the end we will have learnt so much and tried different techniques and had a wonderful time.
If you would like to come along either on the course just send me an email there are a couple of single or twin ensuite rooms left. Or if you live nearby and just would like to come on the course, just let me know.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Painting in the Lake District

Here I am demonstrating Bluebells and Silver Birch with watercolours, in the studio at the Glenthorne. We use the studio quite a bit on my courses, usually having a chat in the morning about painting ideas, before we head off on location, there are some lovely secret hideouts about ten minutes away. 

Walking down the quiet lanes looking for something wonderful to paint. Light on the fells, an old lakeland cottage, a gushing waterfall or maybe the hidden stepping stones with the Kingfisher dashing brightly by. 

After a few magical hours we might head back to the studio. A hot drink is the first call and then settle down to some serious painting or just pick up lots of handy tips.
By the way, Can you see the masking tape ? I use tape probably much more than masking fluid, I tear it into many different shapes and use it like a stencil ? I got the idea after watching Maitisse tear strips of paper into negative and also positive shapes. B &Q is just fine, just make sure it's low tack.
I use Arches paper mostly and find this is great with masking tape, Bocking ford can tear more easily.

I have a few places left on the following courses with Single and Double ensuite rooms, groups are small but painting at Grasmere is fantastic,  why not come along.

Fabulous flowers in watercolours  Monday 21st to Thursday 24th March £395.00

Bluebells and Rydal water in watercolour and Pastel Monday 8th to 11th May

Summer Watercolours Monday 7th to Thursday  10th August £395.00

 All courses include, Breakfast and all meals.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Dramatic mountain scenery in pastels

I love been  high on the fells, and on the top of Helvellyn on a sunny February day is close to perfect. After walking / scrambling to the top the views were awesome, with a painting in every direction. The light was stunning with mauve and liliac shadows and soft peach on sunlight snow as far as the eye could see. How marvellous a thing it is to be an artist. We see something inspiring and then spend many happy hours reliving and creating  the experience.

Stage two

Stage three 

Stage four

I feel like I have climbed the mountain painting this scene. It's nearly finished and been simular to a good book you can't put down and don't quite want to finish.

If you fancy pastel painting, my Online pastel course is available to do anywhere in the world.
The course contains  six projects and personal feedback with extra painting tips on each project.

Striding Edge, Helvellyn
 Painted in Pastels 

Friday, 22 January 2016

Sketching snow in the Lake district.

Friars Crag, Derwentwater.

I wandered down to the lake foreshore, with paints in the bag, scarf and hat firmly in place. 
With the wind not blowing, snow on the fells and barely anyone around, it really was a joy to be out painting. I've sketched from this spot many times and sit myself in the roots of the old tree. 
It is important for me to paint outdoors, but really it's about loving the outdoors, enjoying the wildlife and drinking in the view and atmosphere of a place.

I loosely painted with watercolours, no pre sketching onto Pastelmat pastel paper. When this was dry I added the pastels and then finished off the painting in the warm studio.

I do recommend getting out sketching.

These two lovely views, though were far too cold to sketch at. It was nearly too cold to get out of the car to take some photographs.

If you fancy sketching or painting in the Lake District, 
I organise four days courses based in Grasmere. 
In the warmer months!!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Winter Landscape in Pastels

I'm loving working on the Pastelmat pastel paper. This week I thought I would paint a classic Lakeland winter scene. Full of drama, colourful and also on a bigger scale. Something to really get the teeth into, so to speak!! I started with a white piece of paper and then added watercolours, very loosely to get the main mountain shapes and rich tonal colours. I then let this dry to see what magical effects would take place.

Working on the pastelmat with watercolours is very different to watercolour paper. This velvety touch paper is a little like blotting paper. Soft edges rather than hard edges seem to form.

With the paper dry I started with the sky making a few adjustments, getting a few colours down but not thinking about finishing this area. I like to start on the background first. It's a personal thing. Cool colours first and not too much details, gaining in momentum as we move forward richer tones, a little more detail and I'm finding my way through the scene.

Silly me I forgot to tell you where we are. It's a Saturday afternoon in February, bitterly cold and about two o'clock. We've been to the summit of Great Gable and now we are stopping for a late lunch on Green Gable and admiring the magnificent view down into Ennerdale Valley. Pillar the mountain on the left is demanding all the attention with the light catching rocks and cliff edges. We turn and head down the mountains following footsteps in the snow and make it safely back to the car in Seathwaite valley.

If you fancy painting landscapes in Pastels why not try my Pastel online course. This wonderful medium is easy for anyone, you just need a selection of soft pastels and the right pastel paper.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A new year a new Hobby

A great big Happy Inspiring New Year to you.
How's the painting going? It's quite hard to get back into it after a short break.  I want to paint so much but at times find it difficult to focus on exactly what!! So the other day I had a play and painted one of my online projects

Windermere Sunset
This is the third project of the first course

 I've a few new students all starting the course and this is what one of them had to say after completing the first painting.
Thanks for the encouraging comments! 

I found the project gave me lots of new things to think about, especially the use of water to soften colour once it was applied to the paper. Also, I have commandeered my daughters hair dryer, which she is so far being understanding about. :)

The next project looks like another step up so looking forward to getting started. I might take your advice and do a couple of versions before sending back to you.

I can't wait to see his next painting. If you fancy joining and stating a new hobby for 2016. I love painting and see things so differently because of this. Definitely recommend it

Online Watercolour course is £55.00 for six projects, including sketches, colour tags and material list. With feedback and more helpful tips after each project is completed.