Sunday 28 September 2014

Back to Painting - Mystery Animal

After a hiatus of several weeks with no painting, due to the accident to my hand, concerns about my eyes and other family worries I finally returned to activity last Thursday.  This was at the weekly Avon Valley Artists session with the subject of `Mystery Animal'. We had no idea beforehand what this would be but it materialized as photographs of a specific cat and dog.

We were rather light this week with only ten members present, why I don't know.

Only ten members!

Kath Wilkins at 86 our oldest member (?). That white band is a fault caused by my photography

Yvonne Harry

Jan Weeks

This is mine - the early stages

The completed work - 16" x 12" waterford High White

The large painting at bottom right is pastel.

I was slightly apprehensive after doing nothing for weeks especially as I once read you needed to paint at least thrice weekly just to stand still. On that basis I expected to regress - hor far I wasn't sure.

Friday 12 September 2014

Birds in Watercolour (2)

This is a selection of bird paintings, some from my favourite artists, others that I like but don't know much about the artist. If I've got any names wrong I do apologize. Corrections welcomed.

Gerard Hendriks

Morten E Solberg Snr

Beata Gugnacka

Bev Jozwiak 

Dean Crouser

Lars Kruse

Peter Nilsson

Susan Crouch

Gerard Hendriks

Vickie Nelson 
Kristen Borresen

Bev Jozwiak

Peter Williams

A varied selection I hope you'll agree and a wonderful demonstration showing different approaches. Even if not into birds the use of colour and movement are worth studying In the case of Bev Jozwiak they MAY be acrylic, I'm not certain as she does vary the mediums she uses.


Saturday 6 September 2014

Graham Watercolour Paints

M Graham and Co, one of the three principal American manufacturers, the others are Daniel Smith and Da Vinci, are one of the favourites of Bruce McEvoy of Handprint (well they would be wouldn't they - just kidding Bruce).

The company are family run and have only been in existence since 1992 so are very much a newcomer to the world of paint makers. In that time the watercolours have gained a good reputation, certainly in America where they are well-priced and widely available, according to Bruce mainly through independent retailers. In England the only source  is Lawrence of Hove who seem to have a monopoly, incidentally also with Da Vinci. In the rest of Europe they are available from Denmark The only other source outside the USA is in Australia.

The initial offering was only 36 colours but a few years ago, following prodding I feel sure from Handprint, the range increased to 70 colours, 80% of them single pigment paints. I have quite a few Graham paints and a particular favourite is Quinacridone Rust (PO48). All the standard (high quality) pigments are there along with a few exotic ones like Ultramarine Pink (PR259).

This was the best I could find. Look on the Graham site.

As already said Bruce McEvoy of Handprint was effusive in his praise of Graham, probably the best review of any maker `..all in all,  these paints reflect great care and of the most satisfactory brands of watercolour paints'... because of the high pigment load all the paints dilute out to glowing tints' and so on although he does say due to the way they are formulated several paints stain aggressively. See what he says in full on the Handprint site under `watercolour brands' . Is this American bias? Try them and make your own mind up. While Bruce praises the American brands generally I think he is sufficiently professional not to let national pride influence his judgement - well not much anyway! Graham have an excellent website where you can see details of the individual colours with pigment details and good colour swatches.

We now come to a few caveats based on my own experience. Graham paints are made using a honey humectant which gives them a thick honey like consistency. I have read comments by American artists that Graham paints don't travel well, as in high temperatures they remain very liquid.  This is a problem if you are travelling with a filled paintbox. Schminke, the long-standing German paint maker are against the use of honey although the French firm Sennelier certainly add honey. In earlier posts I related the problems I had with the Mineral Violet (PV16). After a few months the paints resembled a thick brown sludge. Complaints to Lawrence brought a prompt response and Graham supplied a replacement, blaming the pigment supplier which they said had now been changed. The second tube went the same way and the third tube, supposedly problem solved, did the same thing although it took longer to do so. I then gave up and Mineral Violet is no longer on my radar. It does seem as PV16 might be a problem pigment, although I haven't heard anything about other makes so don't really know. The other problem is slightly puzzling. I noticed some tubes were sticky and it appeared that something (honey?) was leaking notably from the yellow ochre. Not all were affected so it may have been only one or two but I can only wonder if pin holes are responsible as it didn't seem to come from the cap. 

Am I knocking Graham? No I am not but nobody is perfect. Overall the paints are excellent and the only problem in the UK is having to buy them from a single source, who don't offer free postage whatever the amount you buy, although they have had an offer recently at £75. Basic prices are high but Lawrence offer a 20% discount if you buy 6. However postage adds £4.99p which on 6 tubes is an extra 83p per tube. Even with this they are cheaper than Daniel Smith. I think they are proving quite popular.

Monday 1 September 2014

More Paintings

To start off September here is another selection of paintings I've picked out covering a range of subjects. Some of the artists are well-known, others less so. At the moment, due to an accident to my right hand, I'm not painting at all, although I can still two finger type. I'm afraid I'm also suffering a lack of  inspiration, probably due to the trauma of the injury which was quite a nasty one, so have nothing immediate in the pipeline other than another brush article on specialist watercolor brushes. My friend John Softly is the lead on this and it will follow in due course once received from him. 

The following are in no particular order but illustrate the varied work of some very high profile artists, and some not so well known. As usual my penchant for impressionistic paintings influenced the selection. If I've misspelt any names I do apologize.

Keest van Aalst

Viktoria Prischedko

Ilya Ibryaev

Dianne C Benoit

Virgil Carter

Milind Mullick

Alvaro Castagnet

Edward Seago

Pol Ledent

Liu Fenglen

Gerard Hendriks

Stan Miller

I hope you agree, a varied selection of high quality watercolour paintings. More to come.