Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Kakapo - A Flightless Parrot

The New Zealand Kakapo, the last survivor of a number of New Zealand flightless species of bird, has fascinated me ever since I saw a BBC wildlife programme.

The Kakapo - 11" x 15" Khadi

I've been fascinated with this flightless parrot ever since it was featured on a David Attenborough BBC wildlife programme. There were a whole range of these flightless birds, some were very large and were killed off in the 17th and 18th centuries, mostly  by human predators for meat, while introduced predators, rats, stoats, etc decimated the smaller birds like the Kakapo who had no defence against them. All that exist now are museum specimens. The Kakapo is quite large but of course the chicks were very vulnerable to rats and the adults to stoats

In the Attenborough programme this solitary male trudged, every night, to the top of a mountain and sent his booming calls - designed to attract a mate - across the valleys. No response and at the time it was thought extinction beckoned. However at the eleventh hour a considerable conservation programme was launched and there are now over 130 - still very few - with small breeding colonies established on a few predator free islands. On some of the islands the predators had to be eliminated first. This is an iconic bird in New Zealand and is about the size of a chicken.

The painting above is my attempt to portray the Kakapo, which is a sort of moss green colour with brown markings, is nocturnal and is a pure vegetarian. They live to an average of 58 years with some lasting up tp 90, but are slow breeders and have 1 - 4 chicks, but not every year. Birds mature slowly. They are solitary, the males and females only meet to mate and the female is solely responsible for raining the chicks. Look them up on Google if you are interested.

The colours I used are various greens - Sap Green from Lukas a major one - plus Translucent Brown  from Schmincke ( now called Transparent Brown I think ). Green-Gold from Rowney also featured and some Cerulean Blue.Small touches of others.

Friday, 8 June 2018

My Latest Efforts

These are my most recent paintings - the usual mixture.

Young Amerindian Girl c 1900 11" x 15"

Amerindian Warrior C1880s (?) 15" x 11"

Chaffinch - 9 " x 12" Fluid Watercolour Paper not surface.

This new paper is okay but nothing special. It is reasonably cheap though so I would say similar to Bockingford. Claimed to be sourced from an 'old' European Mill. I am also about to try Stonehenge from Legion, an American paper getting rave reviews over there. I've yet to try the 16" x 12" not block I've purchased but I gave Yvonne Harry, the top artisl in my Avon Valley Group, a test sample and she wasn't particularly impressed feeling it was nothing special. She still favours Fabriano Artistico Extra White, apart from the fact the blocks fall apart. I also like Fabriano but the blocks do fall apart and I prefer the 16" x 12" format of Waterford rather than the 18' x 12' that Fabriano offers.

A Work in Progress - The New Zealand Kakapo, a flightless parrot,  an iconic bird. Only 130 or so  remain and a massive conservation effort is in progress to increase the numbers and protect them - by placing them on predator-free islands - the predators being introduced stoats and rats, which have decimated them and other flightless birds. Some of the original types were huge and were eliminated completely by that other predator the human, mainly sailors who killed them to eat. The human race has a lot to answer for in respect of the natural environment.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Watercolour Paintings 43

For June here are the latest batch of watercolours. I've been on holiday recently so haven't been able to 'collect' as many as usual. It depends on what you prefer but there is some lovely work here.

? Not sure who the artist is? It isn't Gerard (I don't think) although similar in many respects. In any event I love it! OF COURSE BEV JOZWIAK!

Woon Lam Ng

Stan Miller

This is on Yupo paper, which Stan has been experimenting on. No drawing (I think) and he feels it has enabled him, a very precise although not super realistic painter,  to 'loosen up'. Yupo with it's shiny, smooth surface is certainly unusual. I have a small sheet supplied with a copy of 'Watercolor Artist' but haven't yet plucked up the courage to try it!

Trevor Lingard

The ever reliable Trevor

Robert Brindley

N B Gurung

The brilliant  Nepalese artist, again much is to be found about him if you look

Roberty Wade

The guru of Australian watercolour artists. One of his older paintings this is Cape Canaveral.

 Gerard Hendrike

I have to include Gerard, one of my favourite artists and great person.

Edward Seago

Seago, although shunned by the art establishment,  despite being a close  friend of the Royal family,  was - and still is - one of the most influential British artists. Although he painted many watercolours like the above oils were his first love. Look at how he portrays this scene with such simplification.

N B Gurung by a Chinese Artist - I've put this in because I love the way it has been painted. Many of these Chinese artists are just breathtaking.

Roland Hilder
A legendary British artist from the Seago era.

Chien ching-wei

This guy is a fabulous artist. Googling him will produce a lot more of his work.

Abhijeet Bahadure

Woon Lam Ng

Oscar Quadros from Peru

That's it then folks hope you like them.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Watercolor Artist

This bi-monthly American magazine recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It was originally launched under the name  'Watercolor Magic'. This is one of only two magazines devoted to watercolour. The other is the glossy and expensive 'The Art of Watercolour'.  I have written before about this latter one and have nothing to add. This is not to say 'Watercolor Artist'  is cheap. It isn't for us UK artists due to the premium we have to pay. With the magazine is a small pre-paid card, obviously intended for American readers but it does say for International orders add $10. This still makes it quite a bit less than  the £17.71p, which includes postage, we pay for three issues. In the UK I subscribe to it through Newstand via the internet.  I did have it  for a few months in 2014 but for some reason didn't continue. IF UK artists purchase direct the cost is $47.97 for two years, including the extra $10 for International purchases. This shows a substantial saving. I am tempted to try. 

I subscribed to 'The Artist' magazine for some years. Previously I also bought 'Leisure Painter' from the same publisher. 'Leisure painter' is aimed at the beginner and intermediate artist. Recently I decided to discontinue 'The Artist' as I have found less and less of interest, as it covers all media. My feeling about it was that it was mainly repeating itself year after year, and the rich World of watercolour outside the UK barely if ever features, I know this is partly a language problem but even Continental watercolour artists, many of whom ate fluent in English, don't get a mention. 

The latest issue of Watercolour Artist has 72 pages and features several artists, most of whom are new to me, but this isn't always the case with top artists  like Bez Jozwiak, Fealing Lin and Ted Nuttall featured in other issues. Topics include painting Earth, Sea and Sky, Flowers, and the 9th Annual Watermedia Showcase.

Is it worth buying? Obviously yes for American watercolour artists. In the UK the price is high but on balance I think, if you are a watercolour enthusiast, just about unless price is an issue.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

My Most Recent Work

Here are my latest efforts. I don't post them as good work, just what I've been getting up to lately. I have mixed feelings about much of my recent work, possibly  (another) bout of self-doubt but I'll keep trying! I have scrapped a couple as well.

A Female Goldcrest
 - Approx. 9" x 12"

 2nd Attempt at the Goldcrest as I felt I overworked the first.

This was an attempt at an abstract portrait with glances towards Agnes- Cecille's work.  16" x 12"

Goldfinch - approx. 9" x 12" I like this one. It's more towards where I want to be (with acknowledgement to Gerard Hendriks)

A Dipper. 9" x 12" mixed feelings about this one.

This was an AVA Thursday subject "Summer Landscape" 20" x 14" Lanaquarelle Not

A Blackfoot Indian - 16" x 12" 

Another AVA subject - " Seed x Heads" 16" x 12"

Second Attempt at this one 16" x 12". It was an AVA subject , something to do with Flowers.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Watercolour Paintings 42

Here are the latest batch for May.

Robert Wade by Cheng Chung Wei - Inspired by Charles Reids style - so says the caption. Love the painting.

Judith Farnsworth

Viktoria Prischedko

Viktoria has her first UK workshop at Sidmouth, Devon in early May.

Gerard Hendriks

Enough said. How versatile is Gerard!

Ben Gassenbauer

Ektarina Savo

Maksym Kisilov

Aynur Akalin


Amit Kapoor

 Rachel Toll

This young British artist has a very interesting website.

Yuko Nagayama

Fabulous detail and looseness plus colour combined brilliantly by this wonderful Japanese artist.

Surentsetseg Munkhbaatar

Fabulous Mongolian artist. What a name though!

Tiejum Chao

Sunhee Kim (think this is correct?)

Anna Razumovskaya

Another find! One of many in this batch. Look at her other work which is easily 'googled'.

Another from Rachel Toll. -  See above.

Migull Linares Rios

Konstantin Sterkov

A well known Russian artist.

Fikret Tunah

Roberto Zangarelli

Another well-known artist look at his website for more excellent paintings.

What I try to do is give a wide range of different types of painting in watercolour to show the diversity and possibilities in this underrated medium. I think the above selection succeeds in doing this. Many of these artists are new to me and show how watercolour spans the World. Enlarge the ones that appeal to you, as not all will with personal preference, and give them careful study. If I have made any mistakes in the naming please feel free to correct me.