I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Watery Florals

Hello all!  More baby steps in watercolour to share, and we're getting a bit flowery today.  Apart from the meadow flowers and Wild Grasses with which I admit I'm slightly obsessed (but I know I'm not the only one), flowers are fairly rare here at Words and Pictures.  But they do seem to suit watercolours, so I've been having a bit of a dabble.


And my flowers are still mostly related to the meadow.  This lavender is my favourite, I think, though it wasn't the first, so we should probably stick to the journey in the right order (though some of the other doodlings you've already seen, and some you've not yet seen, came in between these - it just made sense to group the flowers in one post).






So, you saw a glimpse of these sort-of-dandelions in the Mixing and Daubing post, but I wanted to include them in more detail because there's a looseness and wildness to them which I like.













That's probably because they were utterly unplanned!  I just put down a splodge of green paint to see what the mixed colours were like.

There was so much pigment on the page that I started spreading it with my brush, and that became a clump of leaves pretty much by itself.












I thought I'd try sticking some flower heads on the top.  Since the two colours I was playing with on this page were Nickel Azo Yellow and Phthalo Blue, the yellow seemed the better choice, and they ended up a bit like dandelions in full bloom.






(I'm now tempted, as I write this, to go and try out some dandelions in seedhead mode, which is how I like them best.  I'll finish the post first.)  That doodly page was done in the hotel room.  These next flowers were done back at home, but they're still in the large 9 x 12 inch Canson watercolour pad.






As I mentioned in the last post, I've been watercolouring in the warmer living room rather than the freezing craft room, and there were some unopened tulip buds just by me in a vase.


"Paint those," said Cestina, who's in the UK rather than the Czech Republic (or newly-renamed Czechia, a name she hates though I rather like it) at the moment.  She's fond of hurling down challenges.  Well, I'm still just messing around so I thought I'd see what I could do.

I love the loose impressionistic watercolours you can find on Pinterest, so that's what I really wanted to have a first play with.  There's a definite through line here to my crafting journey - the delight in shimmering light and translucence which has been there from the start.
















(I have a Watercolour pinboard - you'll get an idea of some of what I enjoy there... and see how far I still have to go on this particular journey!  You'll also see the inspiration for the lavender stems.)













The shape of the tulip heads is not quite right - though they were in very tight buds - but I like the sense of light and sunshine of all the splatter and the soft washes disappearing at the edges.














And I do like the leaves - and how the colours bleed from the flowers, the reflected glow of the gold on the surface of the leaf.













The bit that pleases me most about this is the completely invented glass vase.  The real tulips were in a dark brown jug which I wasn't very interested in trying to replicate, so I created an imaginary one for my tulips - much lighter and airier.

I'm quite excited about the glass and the water inside for a first go.  Though I suppose, what could be better than watery watercolours to capture water?













Finally, back to those lavender stems.  As you can see, I was again playing with that watery expansion of colour into nothingness at the edges.














There's a freedom in putting down the water first and then letting paint flow into it...














... and then adding more details at various stages - sometimes wet on wet for the flow, sometimes waiting for the whole thing to dry so that you can add more intricate details.















I've watched quite a few artists in action on youtube, but my main guru is Steve Mitchell, whose channel is called The Mind of Watercolour.  (Okay, he spells it 'watercolor', but he's American and I'm not.)















Mitchell veers between very precise work and much softer, looser techniques, and he's a natural communicator and teacher.  My favourites are the ones he calls "spontaneous paintings" - but more of that another day.















I've spent happy hours watching his videos full of fantastic techniques and inspiration (and enjoying the contributions of his studio assistant, Rhys, a plastic skull... you probably have to be there), and I've learned so much along the way.













Now I've just got to put in the hours to continue developing my skills.  I know that I'm just stumbling around in the foothills at the moment.


Thank you for bearing with me on these forays into watercolouring.  I don't think flowers will be a major avenue of exploration for me, though the lavender may continue to pop up (given I have an idle dream of being a lavender farmer).








But it's all about discovery for now - enjoying the steepness of the learning curve, finding out what fits, what feels exciting to me... so who knows?  So far, the Wild Grasses and maybe this lavender feel like the most like "me-in-watercolour", and they're flowers, really, aren't they, so I'm not ruling anything out at this stage.


There's a brief PaperArtsy diversion next before we get back on track, and when we do we'll be heading from the flowers to the first of many trees.  Trees are another existing obsession alongside the meadow grasses, so there are already plenty of them to share, and with some of them I feel as though I'm on the way to another "me-in-watercolour".

I hold no preference among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.
Edward Abbey

Watercolour is a lifetime pursuit... mostly uphill.
Robert Wade

31 comments:

Amanda said...

Looks like you're really getting the hang of this they look fabulous to me, I totally love the loose style and your vase looks fabulous. You'll need to put your signature on them soon 😀
Love
Amanda x

rachel said...

stunning work Alison - I do love those lavendar stems particularly - the colour and delicacy of them is just wonderfully! Captured perfectly dear lady xx

Valerie-Jael said...

Fantastic work, they all look really good. Hugs, Valerie

Meggymay said...

Oh WoW. the lavenders look beautiful, you have caught how the look to perfection for me. I did like your glass vase with the wonderful tulips as well. You seem to be on an amazing journey with your water colours. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Yvonne xx

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Wow just simply wow....I'm in awe of your water colouring skills!
Hugs
Donna xx

Redanne said...

You really do nave a 'natural' touch with the flower watercolours Alison, the lavender is so beautiful! You have captured the look of a clear vase incredibly well too, it looks amazing. Love your flowers! Anne xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh My! The tulips in the vase are brilliant……but then so are all of the other water colours - I love how you are extending the colour especially on the lavender! Definitely looking forward to seeing more! Hugs, Chrisx

Chrissy said...

WOW!!..GORgeous water colourings Alison..I love the lavender..perfect..and those beautiful tulips [as I love yellow anything]..even the dreaded dandelions, which my main lawn consists of, are just fabulous..wonderful.

Luv CHRISSYxx

Helen said...

Stunning! I love all of these, the colours, the watery interpretation, you are going to be so good at this! Looking forward to the trees.

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Amazing Alison! I'm in awe of your watercolouring skills! Great paintings - the loose style looks masterly in my eyes!

Brenda Brown said...

Incredibly realistic and impressionistic both at the same time Alison, your vase of tulips and the lavender are beautifully recorded and remind me of those old Edwardian diaries that ladies used to keep their creative meandering in. Stunning work xxx

Jane said...

So beautiful Alison especially the lavender...stunning.Thanks for sharing these xxx

maj. said...

Totally love this work, Alison!!!!

chrissie said...

You are doing so well with this medium Alison and I just love the lavender painting. Well done on taking on Cestina's challenge it looks amazing with the glass vase--bet that wasn't easy.

'Watercolour is a lifetime pursuit... mostly uphill.
Robert Wade'

I imagine he is right though it can't be that difficult to do your own thing and be happy with what you have done. I would be very happy to have painted your lavenders.

Love Chrissie xx

selena said...

magnifique

Anneke said...

Thank you Avril for showing your journey with the water colors.
It looks amazing!

craftytrog said...

Beautiful dabblings Alison! I think the lavender is my favourite!

Hazel Agnew said...

Love the movement that you have managed to get into your "baby steps" . Looking pretty accomplished to me! Xx 😊

Mrs.B said...

This looks like the start of a wonderful watercololur journey for you. I love the lavender with it's watery background and I do like how you've captured the look of water in the tulip vase.
Looking forward to the next watercolour installment.
Avril xx

Marci said...

Even though I love the lavender, I think your tulips are even better! I think you captured their essence, and the vase is amazing. Wonderful journey of discovery you are on.

Jackie P Neal said...

Beautiful flowers, each one so free and delicate! And your vase is very impressive Alison! I do look forward to more flowers, even if grasses are your first love!
Jackie xo

Dorthe said...

They look so beautiful, dear Alison, - I think you are very good, painter, and the play with waTERcolors , gives amazing results. I love both the lavenders, and tulips, -so different, but both beautiful !! Dorthe, xxo

Lauren Hatwell said...

Wow! These are fabulous! Lx

Coco said...

I'm in love with your lavender stems Alison. They are so well done!!! The loose and watery effect, also the colours are fabulous. I also love to bits your bouquet of tulips... well, looking at the details for every of your trials, in my opinion each page is great, congratulations!
And thank you very much for all the links and help as usual... I'm interested by following the same videos of masters than the ones you suggest of course, when ready it may help a lot. I hope I will have time soon to practice more and more, and play with my wonderful watercolours!
Hugs, Coco xxx

Paper Profusion said...

Very impressive Alison - I really do intend sitting down with my watercolours to play when I get some time! Especially love the lavender. Nicola x

Karen D. said...

how gorgeous...I think you are doing fab with this...
I love it too but dabble using stamps.
TFS,
Karen

Astrid Maclean said...

I'm on a big catch up mission this morning, and having been a fan of Steve Mitchell for ages, I had to start here..... Love your flowery watercolour experiments, the lavenders are my favourite, but they are all beautiful! Do you know the work of Ann Blockley? If not, check her out! And she lives in the UK so knows how to spell colour lol....

A Pink said...

Wonderful! Alison Looks to me like you are a real natural at this . These are far more than 'doodles' as you call them .Love all three but the one that wins my heart is the vase of unopened tulip buds in the glass vase . So so beautiful ! x

Craftyfield said...

Wonderful watercolours Alison. It's all about the freshness of the medium which is so difficult to preserve, especially if you can't draw and have to correct yourself all the time like me!

Sara Barker said...

Well done on the "weeds"! I am particularly fond of the lavender, and your glass vase is an incredible first! Fabulous to watch your talents with watercolor unfold! Hugs!

Sandy said...

You've got to be kidding me Alison - this are gorgeous and certainly look professional - where in the world do you get the time. Your family is so talented!
Sandy xx