Wednesday 30 October 2013

More Paintings - Mostly Buildings

Here are more paintings I like or find interesting. I have mostly grouped them under the heading of `buildings' rather than landscapes or townscapes. They are in a variety of styles of which some may appeal and others may not.

Gerda Mertens - the Belgian artist  also noted for her distinctive treatment of trees.

Christian Couteau - A quite abstract style with really bright colours. His other work has the same approach. Reminds me of John Palmer. Red and yellow feature in many of his paintings. 

Grzgorz Wrobel - Strong contrasts and use of shadows.

Kees van Aalt. The author of the seminal `Realistic Abstracts' and promoter of this different way of seeing. 

Mahmoud Samandarian - a more conventional painting with great use of figures.

Mika Toronen Look how the orange and red of the car brings this otherwise dull painting to life.

Milind Mulick - How about the red figure!

Orhan Gurel - Another semi-abstract approach note the figure.

Ping Long

Tan Suz Chiang

Vikas Mishra

Another from Kees van Aalt  I like this better than his previous one. Again I can see similarities to John Palmer. 

I don't know much - if anything -about some of these artists but searching might produce more information if you particularly like them. The paintings show many different approaches.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Autumn Still LIfe

This weeks subject at Avon Valley Artists session today was an `Autumn Still Life'. This was more to my taste, and produced an interesting and colourful crop of paintings from the twelve members present. 

This week we had a guest artist, Jan Weeks granddaughter Evie. Actually I gather her name is Angelina but she is known as Evie. Following in her grandma's footsteps.

This was Evie's painting. As many will recall my granddaughter is also called Evie.

Pat Walker

Not sure ???

Again not sure???


Clive Brotherton

Jan Weeks

Yvonne Harry (unfinished)

Waterford Rough A3 140lb (300gsm) 

The above two photos are of my effort. The first at a very early stage. Why is it I often prefer the paining when it is half or even less finished? I mostly painted it with an Escoda retractable size 12 Kolinsky sable. Essentially is was some fuchsias and hollyhocks plucked - very hurriedly - from the small courtyard garden of my new home. I only had two apples and decided to paint them as they were, and not add any imaginary ones. I was quite pleased with it but perhaps overdid the colour of the hollyhocks in the centre or slightly off centre. Colours used were Quinacridone Coral, Quinacridone Rose, Sap Green, Green Gold, Moonglow, Quinacridone Gold, Cobalt Teal Blue and Cerulean. I think that's it, a mixture of mainly Daniel Smith. Graham and Rowney.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Great Art Schminke Watercolour Offer

Great Art have a number of special current offers and these include the excellent Schminke range of 110 watercolours. They are 35% off examples being Ultramarine Blue, Ultramarine Finest and Translucent Orange all at £7.65p for a 15ml tube. They also do half and full pans. Translucent Orange is one of my favourite colours. Translucent Brown is very good also - a brighter Burnt Sienna. There are many other excellent paints but check the pigments before you buy as all are not what they might seem given the names. This offer ends 31 October. You can get a very good pigment chart with other information from the Schminke website. then click on watercolours and follow the trail to the download.

Sunday 20 October 2013

Jacksons Brush Offer

Jacksons are offering, until the 25th October, an additional 20% off existing brush prices. For watercolour they have a huge range selling Winsor & Newton, Princeton, Pro Arte, Isabey, Da Vinci, Raphael and Escoda to name a few. If you need any brushes BUY!  I would remind artists living outside the European Union that the 20% Vat we pay is deducted and with Jacksons charging carriage at cost - not inflated - these are really good prices.

Friday 18 October 2013


Not the most inspiring, `Glassware' was the subject at Thursdays AVA session. I missed last week so was determined to go even though the subject leaves me cold. 

There were eleven or twelve members present who produced 13 paintings. I seemed to finish very quickly and the result typifies this rush and the fact I'd done no preparatory work. For a subject I picked the following which was off to the right side and front of where I sit. 

Partially finished

Basically I did a pencil drawing then painted using a very limited number of colours. Green for the left hand jug and mixed greys for the one on the right. I put some red into the background of the green jug as a compliment to the green.

Robert Heal

Myra Abbot

Jo McKenna

Cath Wilkins

Yvonne Harry - a work in progress

Brenda Parsons

They certainly aren't the best set of paintings I've seen from my group by any means but it is a tough subject. Next week the it is an `Autumn Still Life'. That sounds more interesting.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Ken Bromley Watercolours

The well-known UK mail order specialist Ken Bromley has now introduced their own range of watercolours.

The paints are offered in 41 colours in 14 ml tubes. The tube size is unusual previously confined to Winsor & Newton.  Bromley claim they are `professional quality'. They say the same thing about St Petersburg - as do others - which arguably are not. The number of colours and prices suggest they are more likely to compete with student brands like Cotman, although as they offer genuine Cobalts, Cadmiums and Cerulean  they could be classed as midway between student and artists quality. Don't be fooled into thinking that paints offered at half or less than the standard artist makes are just as good. It is possible but look at the number offered and compare pigments not colours. 

 The increasingly high prices of artists quality paints seems to be bringing about an increase in  the number of `economy' brands, many claiming to be equivalent to artists quality but at a lower price. The Korean Shin Han and Mijello also come into this category. High prices are not necessarily a guarantee of high quality and even within the accepted artists quality brands there are wide price fluctuations. I would contend for example that many paints in the Lukas and Daler Rowney ranges are just as good as most others at a lower price.

This new range has two price points, series 1 at £4.32p with series 2  at £4.73p. I don't know if pigment details appear on the tubes but the colour chart on the Bromley website has them by clicking on each individual colour. A quick analysis indicates there are 26 single pigment paints and 15 with two or more. A few paints, Naples Yellow, Paynes Grey Dark and Translucent Grey are made up of 4 pigments. There is a colour called Cotswold Stone which is a 3 pigment mix including PW6 white. Sevres Blue is a mixture of PB15:3 Phalo Blue Green Shade and PW6. Teal Blue is composed of PB27 Prussian Blue and PB15:1 Phalo Blue Red Shade. Vermillion Hue is a 2 pigment mix and Viridian Hue is based on PG7 Phalo Green. There are some idiosyncrasies in that there are two Paynes Greys and  two Burnt Umbers. The pigments in general appear reliable with the exception of two. Alazarin Crimson is PR83:1 and Aureolin is PY40. Both are described as `Permanent' which is completely contrary to what Michael Wilcox, Hilary Page and Handprint have been saying - with examples - for years. The internet forum Wetcanvas has had much discussion about these colours(pigments) and numerous examples have been illustrated and quoted  to show they are simply not reliable - they fade or discolour. This is not to say this is exceptional as amongst the leading makes equivocation reigns and the only maker to call Alazarin  Crimson (PR83) fugitive is Daniel Smith.

Amongst the single pigment paints are many worth trying if cost - as it is to many - is an issue. I am not well disposed to multi-pigment mixes but some may disagree. The prices are excellent and certainly I'm tempted to try the Cobalts, Cadmiums and Cerulean. At the moment an extra 10%  is an introductory offer. Up until now only Jacksons and the SAA, amongst UK suppliers, have their own range of watercolours. In the USA all the large mail order suppliers have own brands, some more than one. Jacksons are (or were) made by the French company Sennelier, while Bromley state these new paints are produced in the UK. I only know of Daler Rowney currently manufacturing over here, with Winsor & Newton reportedly moving production to France. There may be some smaller producers as I was once told that the SAA watercolours were made by someone who had worked for Daler Rowney. This is speculation on my part rather than fact. Bromley's website is 

Monday 14 October 2013

Daniel Smith Special Pigments

Jacksons advise they now have some `special' pigment paints from Daniel Smith, previously unavailable in the UK. They are  Azurite Genuine, Kingman Green Turquoise Genuine, Malachite Genuine, Yavapai Genuine and Purpurite Genuine. These paints arise from Daniel Smith sourcing the original rock from a variety of mines throughout the USA and elsewhere.  They are part of the PrimaTek range as opposed to the normal watercolours. Daniel Smith make some great watercolours. That is a fact but amongst the huge range are some that might be regarded as gimmicky. I have done several earlier posts on Daniel Smith which can be referred to. I regret it is difficult to find older posts as there doesn't seem to be a way of including an index which would simplify searching. If anybody knows how to do this I'd be pleased to hear from them. One of the posts was on the PrimaTeks heavily based on the one by Bruce McEvoy on Handprint. My post includes a link. Bruce was somewhat sceptical and picked out only a few paints as being really interesting.  Most he thought were unnecessary and they don't all handle exactly like normal watercolours. Prices are very high, really eye watering in some cases and I personally am very sceptical about investing in them - with the odd exception see below.

Malachite Genuine

Azurite Genuine
Kingman Green Turquoise Genuine

Yavapai Genuine

Purpurite Genuine

Green Apatite Genuine

Interesting? Pause for a moment. These paints cost from £10.90p for Yavapai Genuine (from a mine in Arizona) to an astonishing £28.00p for Azurite Genuine, with the others in between!!! This is for a 15ml tube. I have included Green Apatite Genuine, which has been available for a while, as this has become a favourite of Yvonne Harry. I also have it. You pay your money......

Unfortunately for UK and European artists Daniel Smith are more expensive here than in America, nor do we have access to the frequent `specials'. This is a shame because they are excellent paints, even if the range is somewhat bloated. I have several and would buy more but for the prices.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Portraits in Watercolour

Unfortunately I've been forced to miss today's AVA session as I'm waiting for an engineer from the cable company to arrive to remedy a problem. The subject today is `Experimental', the rule being that brushes are not allowed other than to mix the paints. I'd been scratching my head what to do and had come up with palette knives, sponges and bamboo pens. In it's place here are a selection of portraits in watercolour by some of the very best artists (in my opinion) around. They show a variety of styles, and while portraits are not everyone's favourite subject they do illustrate the range of possibilities from realistic to expressionistic. The way colour has been used is also something worth noting.

Janet Rogers the brilliant American artist. A study in delicacy.

Stephie Butler - a wonderful and distinctive touch also very delicate.

Mary Whyte -the highly regarded American artist

Liu Yungshen - another of these fabulous Chinese artists

Ted Nuttall - another American with a fabulous talent

Valerio Libralato - I don't know this artist but love his work

The guru of Chinese artists Guan Weixing

Stan Miller - enough said!

Sylvia Pelissimo (Agnes-Cecille) - controversial and often somewhat scary

Millind Mullick - great artist and great guy

Shi Tao - another of these talented Chinese artists, most of who are students of Guan Weixing, although I don't know if that is the case here.

Svetlana Danovich - great use of colour

Tina Kligaard - bold and thought provoking.

Paul Lovering - great portraits in s very distinctive style

I hope these prove of interest. They shouldn't be viewed just as portraits and dismissed - if portraits aren't your thing - but considered in the way watercolour has been used to create different effects to those in the mainstream oils.