I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Sunday 19 February 2017

Mixing and Daubing

Hello all!  Thank you for the lovely feedback on the Wild Grasses.  I have a feeling there will be more coming along those lines as I continue to explore how I want to use watercolours in my creating.  For now, we're going back to start at the very beginning (a very fine place to start).

Really these posts are for my own virtual scrapbook records.  I like being able to trace the steps on the journey.  If you care to join me on the way, that's a lovely bonus, or you can just go for a quick scroll if you prefer...

I was very happy when my short trip to New York for work at the end of January coincided with a 40% off coupon at Blicks, a favourite art supplies shop.  Once the work was done, I was straight on the subway to go and see what they might have to play with.

I did have an idea of what I wanted.  About two years ago, I got some Qor watercolour paint tubes (made by Golden) on an offer and had a tiny dabble with them then.  I knew there was a newer sampler collection of 12 tubes around, and that was on my hit list.

Happily they were in stock so I grabbed them, and some large 9x12 inch Canson watercolour pads which were on offer, as well as a cheap set of brushes.  I did, of course, have brushes at home, but I wanted to play right then, that evening, in my hotel room!

I really just did some mixing and daubing, to see what sort of colours they were and how they played together.

I started with a fairly formal colour chart of just two colours - Nickel Azo Yellow and Ultramarine Blue.  The two left-hand columns are the colours unmixed.

It's not too formal - my pencil boxes got a little tipsy as they went across the page.  It's great fun to see how many shades and tones appear with different mixes and water washes.

And as you can see I used up some of the extra paint on some words...

But I decided that was too formulaic for the mood I was in that day (though I'll definitely do the same with other colours another time), so for the next page I allowed myself four colours - Paynes Grey, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre - and just dabbled.

I love letting the colours run in to one another to see the mixing possibilities.

And because it's just playing and learning, loose and free, I even found myself really enjoying the red zone (and on into pink and orange too...)

A couple of my usual doodles made their way onto the page.

The cheap brushes turned out to be rather nice to use, creating shapely strokes to turn into leaves.

Back down to a trio - Paynes Grey, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Phthalo Blue.  I had so much paint on the brush (unintentionally - lesson learned now!) that the first dark blue sweep took up half the page by the time I'd spread the pigment out.

A little more writing practice, just using up paint on the brush.  My brushwriting turns out to be similar to but not the same as my handwriting.

I had a play with how light a wash I could use.  There's so much pigment in these paints that you can really use loads of water and still get a beautiful effect.

I wanted to see some of my green options, so I tried out a page with Nickel Azo Yellow and Phthalo Blue, mixing both on the lid of the paint box and on the page as I went.

The blob at the top formed itself into a clump of leaves without my even really thinking about it, so I gave it some rough sort-of-dandelion heads (though I know they're not really dandelion leaves), and added texture with the end of the brush handle.

Then I found myself playing with stems and grasses over the rest of the page too.

I'm fascinated by how many colour tones you can get with just two paints.

I carried on with those two colours on the next page, but added some Paynes Grey into the mix too - complete change of atmosphere.

Again, the doodling led me to plants and trees.

I like the cooler blue/greens of this page very much.

And I enjoyed painting water on first and allowing the paints to bleed into it - really cool effects.

So those were my hotel room daubings.  I was back home for the next few.  I'd planned to get back into the craft room properly, but I found myself unable/unwilling to stop playing with the watercolours.  Besides, I can do that in the living room where it's much warmer!

There's a whole page of Dioxazine Purple, experimenting with brush strokes after watching some videos on youtube.

Lots of lovely possibilities here, and slightly better brushes to accomplish them with.

(They're still not mega-expensive, I assure you.  I swoon at the prices of some of the brushes you can get!)

I added Quinacridone Gold Deep into the mix for the next page.

I'd been looking at videos about how you get neutrals when you use contrasting colours, and I love the browns and greys I got with these two.

Business as usual with the trees and grasses...

But I also tried out a couple of little figures, very impressionistic, not detailed.  It's mostly chance, but with a little bit of control.

I intentionally created the pairings, but I love how alive they seem to be in their conversations, which I didn't really have much to do with.

I really loved the neutrals I got with mixing, but the purple was maybe a bit much for me, so I retreated to my blues and greens for the next page of playing.

I think this is Sap Green and Indigo in action together.

Continuing to try out brush shapes and strokes and positions...

Some more of the inevitable grasses...

... and some more painting with water and then adding pigment strokes and letting them just do their thing.

Finally for today, some more colour combinations (which I stupidly didn't write down, but there's Payne's Grey and Quin Gold in the bottom half of the page, and I think the Alizarin Crimson again, but the rest is up for debate), and a bit of circle practice.

I was also playing with dropping colours into other colours, wet on wet.  

I completely understand why people become obsessed with watercolour as a medium!

So that's enough experimentation for one day.  I'll be back soon with some watercolour florals... Florals?  Yes, florals - well, flowers are basically glorified grasses, aren't they?!  Thanks for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make, the better.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Valerie-Jael said...

Looks like you had BIG fun playing! Hugs, Valerie

Meggymay said...

Oh my, this looks like you had a fantastic time experimenting with the paints.
I enjoyed reading this post.
Yvonne xx

Living to work - working to live said...

Don't you think the names are so fabulous- Payne, pthalo, alizarin- they sound like characters from some sort of gothic love story.

I must admit I love the effect of water colours but I've never quite fallen in love with the actual medium.

Perhaps a hotel room is needed.

Helen said...

WOW!!! what an amazing time you had experimenting with these colours - I love them (especially your figures!) but your paint chart at the beginning is simply beautiful.

Redanne said...

Oh my, you really did have a wonderful time Alison, I just love your experiments, especially the figures, they are incredible! A great post! Anne x

Brenda Brown said...

Fabulous dabbles, doodles and creative playtime. The whole feel of the free, liberating blends of colours In their unrestrained bubbles and daubs is refreshing and invigorating to see. Wish I'd brought some with me to my hotel room. Xxx

froebelsternchen said...

I enjoyed this post - you are so good with your watercolours! Looks fantastic!
Keep up the good work!

maria's knutselplezier said...

Beautiful play with your watercolours!!


Marci said...

Fun seeing your play with color and brushwork.

Sandy said...

You are soooo talented but it comes to no surprise for those of us who have followed you for a while. Love your doodle pages!!
sandy xx

Dorthe said...

Oh, you are good Alison, you really control the paints, and pencils, your mix of tones, the play with two..three giving so very many shades, --just amazing, and I do love your doodles creating greenery and wonderful humans !!
Hugs , Dorthe xx

Princess Judy Palmer said...

I love what you do with water color. I need to just sit down and play with it some day. I don't really have free time so when I do sit down to play it is to create a specific project (or somewhat specific, like "birthday card"). I enjoyed seeing your daddles with color. This paint looks like it has really good movement.

Sue said...

What a fun project Alison and I love your pages - well done with your people, they look wonderful, AND you've used red! xx

rachel said...

such fun alison - lovely to see some brights in there too - I know its not really your thing so its nice to see you enjoying something different for you! Big hugs rachel x

catherine said...

Fabulous experimentation Alison and love the colours-so wish I could do that
x catherine

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Beautiful doodling Alison, aren't watercolours just the greatest things ever?! You so inspired me with your gorgeous grasses post that I've just ordered some Bombay ink and a dip pen ;)
Donna xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Oh Alison! This is just the most fabulous post - mainly I think because of your obvious joy in experimenting with your paints! The results are certainly wonderful and I now want to go and play with my paints…even though it's way past my bedtime!!! Hugs, Chrisx

Etsuko said...

This is wonderful post Alison, love the basic watercolor techniques and your favorite nature that you drew. It will be so helpful to me, thank you!! xx

craftytrog said...

Fab effects Alison! Looks like you had a lovely play. Your little characters are wonderful!

sarascloset said...

I can just hear the wonder and glee in your words and see it in your watercolor play! Good to take some time to just let the brush and the color do the work for a change. Oddly I skipped ahead, or in this case behind, and read through your other adventures with the colors. What fun, and great to see those little conversing figures in your comfort colors! Good for you to be trying out these delicious paints! So inspiring to read through both of these posts! Hugs!

Jackie PN said...

I love that you share your experiments and watercolor play! Have to say I was loving the purple even if you were not- your figures are great-freehand? I am so impressed Alison, is there anything you can not do? heehee
I am quite fond of your blues and greens, and see why you gravitate to these most times. Now, will you leave these in this pad otr take out the pages and place in another journal?
Thanks so much for sharing
Jackie xo

Neet said...

The mere mention of "golden" when you are talking about paints gets me all of a tingle. Fabulous quality products - and you got a 40% off coupon to spend - bliss!
Love your experimenting and your little figures are so animated - they are gorgeous.
Hugs, Neet xx

A Pink said...

wonderful and inspiring . I really need to embrace my watercolours again - thanks for the nudge x

Kirsten said...

I love the results of your experiments! It was lovely to see you at the trade show last week, hope you're well.