Wednesday 27 June 2018

Too Much Detail or Too Little?

My recent painting of a Kakapo was quite pleasing to me as it gave a quite good representation of the bird. I did however photograph an earlier stage thinking I might post that also as part of the piece. In the end I didn't but looking at it again I wondered whether this lesser depiction was indeed better (as a painting) or not. In my opinion the biggest mistake in watercolour painting is over elaboration and too much detail. Yes I know there are some fabulous paintings by great artists that follow this route  but , while I can admire them, it isn't my way.

The Kakapo - Unfinished stage.

It's all a matter of opinion but I rather like this unfinished work. Charles Reid says you shouldn't overfinish a painting and when you get to the stage of wondering what to do next - stop!

Monday 25 June 2018

A Deadly Hunter

This subject was brought to my mind after watching the latest BBC Springwatch programmes. In more than one programme - they run for several days consecutively - a weasel was shown taking young birds from nests, close to the ground it has to be said. Two nests near to each other were predated including one of Yellowhammers, sadly becoming quite a scarce bird. Of course this is nature and the weasel probably had young to feed - they are carnivores after all. I found an interesting photograph- two actually that I combined - and this is the result.

A Deadly Hunter - 16" x 12" Waterford High White 140lb (300gsm) not.

My aim with this painting, and indeed generally, is to have small areas of detail and large areas of generality. This is what Charles Reid teaches. Not as easy as it sounds and the tendency is, especially when painting from photographs, which is what I do, to become tighter. I think I've probably (mostly) achieved this with more recent paintings other than Portraits.

Colours were a variety of greens - Sap Green from Lukas, Green-Gold from Rowney plus Oxide of Chromium, with Transparent Brown (Schmincke), Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Gold (Daniel Smith) plus some Cerulean and Ultramarine Blue. Ultramarine Violet also features and Cobalt Violet. For the latter I used Lukas but this paint is greyish and very weak. There are other Cobalt Violets that I think are better, some more reddish such as Winsor & Newton.

I'm happy with the above as I achieved what I set out to do.

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.