Friday 28 December 2018

Last Paintings of 2018

These are my last efforts of 2018. 

Guess Who? This was in response to a n Xmas subject at my art group. 16" x 12 

Yellowhammer 12" x 9"

Heron 16" x 12" 
This was a free subject at my art group

Mountain Sheep 16" x 12"

The original was of more yellowish shades which my wife said was bland. I added reds and oranges and got a bit carried away away but I like it! Thats it for 2018. 

Sunday 23 December 2018


May I wish all my followers and everyone else who visit this blog a Happy Xmas  and Prosperous New Year. Unfortunately we face very uncertain times both in the UK and World Wide.

In the UK the uncertainty of Brexit and what it will bring - those in favour seem to think we'll be sailing into a land of milk and honey  with little evidence to back this up unfortunately - while remainers predict disaster. I have to say I'm a remainer despite my reservations about certain aspects of the EU.

Worldwide there are all sorts of problems not least the concerns over the political situation in the United States. There are far too many others like climate change to name them all. I'm basically an optimist in that I believe all problems are solvable providing the will to do so is there. Of all the species on Earth the human race, despite its destructive tendencies, is truly remarkable in what has been achieved.

On the painting front the Watercolour scene has never been better with literally hundreds of wonderful artists all over the World producing fantastic work. I have shown more than 200 of these paintings on the blog this year and continue to find new ones all the time..

So have a great time over Xmas and let us hope 2019 will be a more positive year.

Thursday 13 December 2018

More Information on New Van Gogh Watercolours

I have received a reply to my enquiries from Yogesh Karia, Country Manager UK & Ireland. These are the replies.

1. Available from immediate effect.

2.Tubes & Pans £2.95

3. Tubes & Pans Series 2 £3.95

4.10ml Tubes and Half Pans

5. Pigment Information

In the Uk you may struggle to find a stockist but there are some. Try 'googling' 'Van Gogh watercolour stockists.
When you get to the swatches on the issuu site use the + sign to zoom in and see the pigment details which are small.
Looking at the pigments there are quite a few multi pigment mixes, all the 'dusk' and interference colours for example but don't let that put you off there are a good number of decent single pigments, After all who has 73 colours in their palette? Personally I would avoid the 'hues' where white is added, especially the Cobalt and Cerulean Blues. I think white makes the paints cloudy and they can harden in the tubes.
That said I found Van Gogh decent in the old range. The new one is vastly improved and if you find the prices of artists quality watercolours  eye watering give them a try. They are a middle range not a student quality one.
My current best value picks in Artist Quality  for a combination of price/ quality are Sennelier (21ml tubes) and Lukas (24ml tubes).

Monday 10 December 2018

Van Gogh Watercolours - New and Revised Range?

I was recently informed by a comment on the blog from Sebastien that a major revision of the Van Gogh range is taking place.  Added 11/12/08: Although I've still no acknowledgment from Talens to my FOUR e mails the new range colour chart is now on the Royal Talens website. No pigment details but colour swatches of all the new range. It's appeared in the last two days! Actually it's all a bit confusing. If you go to one part of the site following Van Gogh you get details of the old range of forty colours! 
However when I went on the Royal Talens site there is no mention of this and the only information is about the current 40 paint range. Sebastien gave me a link which is talens/docs/vangogh_wtc which takes you to this site - not anything to do with Royal Talens as far as I can see - and there it was in all its glory? Full details including swatches, reference to the brochure etc.  I have e mailed Royal Talens three times - and just sent off another one, the result being a deafening silence, no response whatsoever. Maybe this information is supposed to be under wraps and has been 'pirated' before an official release date. On the other hand is it only intended for 'certain markets'.

What does this issuu site tell us? The new range is expanded to 72, a major change in itself, and includes four 'dusk' colours, 6 metallics and 6 interference. Remind you of for example Daniel Smith? The new colours include Quinacridone Purple Red and Blue, Lavender, Turquoise Blue and Green and several interesting others. A number of existing colours are 'improved (it says) and overall this is a considerable upgrade. Pigment details are on this site although very small and difficult to read. There are no Cobalts or, only alternative 'hues", and quite a few multi pigment mixes. Some interesting pigments though , never before seen in student mixes, like PV55 and PY129. 

I've always rated Van Gogh and used them at one time. They are a mid-range paint (in my opinion), despite sometimes called student quality. However Royal Talens offer Rembradt as the artists quality with Amsterdam as the student range. Van Gogh comes in the middle.

When whatever is happening comes about and they become available in the UK I shall certainly have a fresh look as artists quality prices are eye watering. I just hope they aren't intended for certain markets like the USA where Winsor & Newton offer a much better Cotman range than the one on offer in the UK (and Europe). Please come clean Royal Talens.

Saturday 1 December 2018

Watercolour Paintings 49

Here are Decembers batch. Another mixture of old and newer artists, including some of the very best and some of my favourites. 

Liu Yu

Trevor Lingard

Bev Jozwiak

Milind Mullick


John Singer Sargeant

Charles Reid

Karl Martens

Trevor Chamberlain

Morten E Solberg Snr

Thomas Schaller

John Blockley

Robert Zangarelli

Michel Jasiowicz

Robert Ferguson

Atsushi Matsubayashi

Claudia Artzmann

Jose Luis Lopez

John Yardley

Michele Clamp

Gerard Hendriks

Charles Reid

Andrew Wyeth

That's it folks. Hope you like them.

Catherine Beale

We don't have many demos  at Avon Valley Artists but have just had one by the Bath artist Catherine Beale - - at our venue of Saltford Church Hall. Catherine teaches a method she calls 'Gravity Painting' using watercolour. In simple terms this is the application of wet in wet watercolour with the board vertical. 

The initial setup

Catherine starts and explains her approach and what she is trying to achieve.

Catherine begins explaining her approach and what she wanted to achieve.  However with this type of painting 'happy accidents' do occur and she improvises as she goes along, although having a strong idea of where she wants to end up. In the bottom right hand corner of her board you will see a small photograph of the clump of trees on Kelston Hill, nr Bath. This is a famous landmark and many people make the fairly steep climb up to experience the fabulous view. This was her starting point - but I emphasise not something she was trying to copy, just a guide.

 The paper is wet from the top using a one inch Protel flat brush- not the whole of the paper but in stages.. This together with a Protel rigger were all the brushes she used. She told me this is her normal approach and usual brushes. Only five colours were used. Indathrene Blue (PB60) from Daler Rowney, Moonglow (Daniel Smith PG18,PB29,PR177),  Phthalo Turquoise (W & N PB16), Sap Green and Raw Sienna. Moonglow has become something of a cult colour, a green, blue and red combination that produces a moody grey-blue, violet colour, perfect for shadows for example. Her overall preference for paints are Winsor & Newton artist watercolours. My choice of PB16 is the Lukas version, called just Turquoise. which is just as good and cheaper. A fabulous pigment and a favourite also of the terrific American artist Bex Jozwiak.

Paper used was rather unusual in that it is Watercolour board from Daler & Rowner, usually A3. This isn't very common. Catherine is also experimenting with painting on wood treated with Gesso.

Paint is applied with the flat brush and allowed to 'gravitate' helping it along but not overdoing the brushwork.

This is now now quite a way along with Sap Green and Raw Sienna being introduced in careful touches - placing paint I would describe this. The rigger has also been used for the tree trunks and the whole  
thing is now taking shape.  More work will be done on it after further thought and contemplation. She had reservations about the dark colour in the top corners but had yet to decide how to modify it.

The palettes Catherine used.

Salt - which she uses to create effects on her paintings.

Examples of Catherines paintings.

Catherine also paints Portraits as well as landscapes. Her landscape work covers real and imaginary images and arbitrary colours in some instances. Two of my fellow members of the AVA did a two day portrait course with her a few weeks ago which they thoroughly enjoyed. Although my portrait work (modest as it is) is a little different I intend to take a course with her probably in March.  I have an open mind and look at different artists all the time, hoping to gain inspiration and improve my painting. You are never too old to learn (I hope!).

Overall this was an excellent demonstration with an articulate  teacher. If you live within reach of Bath I would certainly recommend her courses.