Friday, 12 October 2018

Watercolour Dot Cards

A few years ago Daniel Smith introduced these dot cards. At least I think they were the first. Since then they have proliferated. Winsor & Newton then offered  a few, I think with some special edition sets and also a basic primary colour set with currently a six dot card from Jacksons at 20p. Schmincke now offer the whole range or - like Daniel Smith - a reduced number at a lower price. There may now be some other dot cards from other makers but I have no current details.






Daniel Smith



Daniel Smith



Schmincke




This is how Jane Blundell paints out the dot cards. I think her method is best.

Prior to this the options were and still are printed colour charts which are usually free or hand painted charts, often hard to find and quite expensive.

Prices of the dot cards vary. With Daniel Smiths huge range the full 238 set costs £21.00 at current jacksons prices. They also do a 66 one for £7.50. The full 140 colour Schmincke costs £14.60 and the 80 one £9.10.


Daler Rowney Hand Painted Chart



Holbein Hand Painted Chart



Maimeri Hand Painted Chart

I also have a Winsor & Newton hand painted chart. What do I think of them? They are undoubtedly useful, especially if you major on one brand. The snag I find is that the paints are applied very evenly. This may seem an odd thing to say but with my - admittedly - less than perfect methods getting a similar result is very difficult and do you actually want them to be this bland? Jacksons also list hand-painted charts from Rembrandt - no current price. Shin Han at £34.00 and - surprisingly - Cotman at £11.20. I  believe Old Holland also do one but no details.

All makers tend to offer printed colour charts for free. My preference would be for these charts followed by the dot cards. You may feel differently.








Monday, 1 October 2018

Watercolour Paintings 47

Here are the latest batch for October. I've tried to mix them up even more this month.


D Joy McFadden (?)
What colour! Love this.



Edward Wesson



Lars Eje Larsson
The more I see of this artists work the more I like it.



Aine Devine
This Scottish lady is an amazing artist.



John Yardley
One of the greats in the modern era of British Watercolour



Ivelina Vladimirova



Kate Osborne



Viktoria Prischedko



Fabio Cembranelli



Cornelius Dragan



Winslow Homer
Am American great.



Michal Jasiewicz



Chien Chung-Wei - Thought it was probably him. Wonderful Chinese artist.



Milind Mullick



Giulio Boscaine



Yuko Nagayama


Michele Clamp

 Ted Nuttal


Catherine Rey



 Annemiek Groenhout



Aine Devine



Karl Martens

Some terrific artists here I hope most will agree. We all have our different tastes but good painting is universal. How I wish I could paint like many of those above.














Monday, 17 September 2018

Another Batch

Here are more of  my recent paintings - I usually average two per week - again I'm not suggesting they are good just my work. I tend to post initially on my Facebook page and also on the group Watercolour Addicts. I recommend Watercolour Addicts as a  source of generally  good paintings - many much better than mine. I tend to get fairly low marks regarding 'likes' with others in the dozens and even hundreds. Still I keep on trying!



Deadly Hunter 16" x 12"
I was quite pleased with this but it didn't receive many likes when I posted it.



Stone Chat 16" 12"
I liked the simplicity of this one.




Grey Wagtail 12" x 9" Fluid




Mother and son 16" x 12"



Yellow Iris 16" x 12'
Flowers for a change


Another Deadly Hunter 16" x 12"
The eyes are not quite right. I keep thinking I may try and alter them. It can be done if you are careful.




Crested Tit - 12" x 9" Fluid




Friday, 14 September 2018

Latest Paintings

Here are my latest efforts, mainly at AVA Thursday meetings, although I frequently do the drawing the previous day. I find this often works best rather than drawing and painting in one session.



Young Indian Woman 16" x 11" watercolour




Jenny Wren 16" x 11" watercolour




Molly Spotted Elk - Penobscot Tribe 1903 15" x 11"



Busy Bee (Wasp Actually) 15" x 11"


Satanta - Kiowa Chief. Stonehenge Aqua not. Likeness not good. 16" x 12"



Exotic Bird (species unknown to me) 12" x 9"


Scottish Crossbill 12" x 9" Fluid Paper


Red Cardinal. 12" 9" Fluid Paper



Wild Flower Medley - 16" 12" 



Another Flower Painting 16" x 12"

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Watercolour Painting on a Budget - Pt 2 Brushes and Paper

Having covered paints I now come to brushes and paper, brushes being the first topic. 



From left to right: Robert Wade Signature Neef, Rosemary 401, Luxartis Kolinsky, Escoda Kolinsky, Da Vinci Casaneo, Cosmotop 5530 Mix-B, SAA Kolinsky

Of the above brushes Nos 1,2, 5 and 6 are not pure sable being various mixtures of either synthetic or natural hairs and synthetic.  The others are Labelled Kolinsky sables but here - while I am not suggesting that these brushes are not - I would refer you to the article/post I did on this subject.  See the Index in June 2014. It should be said before I go on that many famous artists use all sorts of brushes, often cheaper ones or good quality synthetics. The hand that wields the brush....

Sable brushes labelled 'Kolinsky' or even 'Red Sable' are incredibly expensive once you get past size 4.  It used to be after size 8 but prices now reach the stratosphere from 8 onwards. Even size 6 is expensive. However my suggestion, and it is only that, if you must have sables for detail buy either a 4,6 (or smaller) or both.

There are some excellent synthetic hair brushes on the market and the latest ones claim to emulate sable. This has been going on for years and John Yardley wrote that he'd been supplied synthetic brushes claiming to be similar to sable on numerous occasions and he considered the claims - after trying them - unfounded. However things move on. The best artist in my AVA group has always used Pro Arte Prolene brushes - usually seconds - but has now switched to Rosemary Series 401, a red sable blend, and is delighted with them, They give her the stiffness she likes but also hold more water than pure synthetic. The big thing about these blends is they are cheap the Rosemary 401 Size 8 is only £7.30p. How long they retain there points I don't yet know but then many highly rated sables aren't perfect in this respect.

What is available? Quite a lot actually so it is a question of trying some and deciding if they suit your purposes. My first picks are the Rosemary 400 series, with a large range of sizes and types. For overseas readers she exports World Wide and has an excellent catalogue - see my recent feature . The 400 series are red sable and synthetic blended together. Next - equally so - is the well-regarded Da Vinci Cosmotop Mix B  which is a mixture of  red sable, Russian blue squirrel and Russian Fitch (black sable) with small amounts of synthetic. Artists like Viktoria Prischedko  and Piet Lap use these brushes, available in a range of types and sizes.  Sable/synthetic mixes are also offered by Pro Arte, Winsor & Newton, Daler Rowney, Jacksons, the SAA and others. There is plenty of choice.  Both Princeton and Escoda are promoting their latest  brushes as 'Kolinsky Synthetics', claiming they emulate sable. They may well do but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Da Vinci have introduced a new range called 'Casaneo' in a variety of types and sizes claiming - once again - they emulate sable. We are spoiled for choice bewildering isn't it? The thing is though that all the above come in at prices that are a fraction of  sable prices, although there are cheap sable brushes on the market, perhaps best avoided.

As well as the brushes in the above photograph I have several other Kolinsky sables from makers like Da Vinci, many bought a while back at less than the current eye watering figures. My current main brushes are Isabey Kolinskys 6228 so I don't need to buy any more as they should last unless I live to well over 100!  Perhaps a slight exaggeration! That assumes I'd still be painting then. If I were to buy more it would be Rosemary 401 or Cosmotop 5530 .

I have much less to say about papers. There are lots available ranging from hand made and machine made cotton mixes to the cheaper papers, usually of synthetic mixes or 'high grade' wood pulp (Bockingford).  Some mix the two half and half, There are a few other types but the above is the mainstream. 

Bockingford has long been the choice of many amateurs in the UK while both Hahnemuhle ( Britannia and Cornwall) and Fabriano do cheaper papers that are decent. Another possibility is the Indian Khadi range of cotton papers at very reasonable prices in a large range of sizes and weights. Worth a try. Not everyone likes them  as they could be described as 'slightly rough' , but I do. I'm sure there are others I don't know or have  experience with.

Personally my favourite paper is Saunders Waterford High White in 16" x 12" blocks. Current price is £32 which is stiffish. You can get this paper in sheets which works out cheaper but my problem is a full sheet cuts into four 15" x 11" and I prefer the 16" x 12". I'm trying the Stonehenge Aqua cold press paper at the moment and it seems to me similar to the Waterford but works out slightly more expensive as the block has only 15 sheets. Fabriano Artistico Extra White is good but here I have size problems as they do an 18" x 12" block. In respect of the blocks the Waterford is very well made and holds together right until the final sheet whereas both the Fabriano and Stonehenge soon start falling apart. As far as paper is concerned some famous artists say that the one thing you shouldn't economise on is paper. I leave you with that thought.

Added: Zvonimir has pointed out that Arches and Khadi are hard papers that wear out sable brushes. I'm sure he is right and further states that's it's more sensible to use synthetics on hard papers. sables are better on softer papers with not or smooth surfaces.  He also says that it is better to use quality papers at lower weights ie 90lb than heavier synthetic papers. I've done this and it works unless you use heavy washes in which case you get severe buckling. You can stretch of course although I've done it successfully and it is a bit of a chore. I stopped when Robert Wade said he couldn't be bothered to stretch as he hadn't time!

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Watercolour Paintings 46

Here are the latest batch to start off September. As usual they are a mixture to show the variety and versatility of watercolour with a little personal bias towards artists I  particularly like.


The wonderful Shirley Trevena. I have her first book and video, but to try and emulate her is not for the faint hearted!



Edo Hannema - superb landscapes



Janet Rogers - The excellent American artist 



Sir William Russel Flint - a legendary artist from the earlier era



Virgil Akins

Virgil has succeeded in developing his own unique style.




John Singer Sarjeant - enough said!




Jonathan Kwegyir  Aggrey



Bev Jozwiak.

The ever creative Bev is doing some painting on Yupo paper



Trevor Lingard




Robert Ferguson



Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey - I should have known!!!




Gerard Hendriks - one of a series of boat paintings




Karl Martens.
I recently came across this interesting artists who specialises in birds. His paintings are actually quite large.




Yuko Nagayama.

Unusual subject of a portrait for Yuko but brilliant as usual. Eat your heart out Ward!




Another from Shirley Trevena



Janine Gallizia.

Her paintings have this amazing ethereal look. I believe she's one of the founders of "The Art of Watercolour' magazine.



Jean Haines

Very loose - maybe just a tad too loose - only my opinion.




Joseph Zbukvic  - the well-known Australian Artist.





That's it folks. Hope you like them.