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Experimenting with Watermedia (2)

, 10:22

My next effort was on a small made-up picture of two pears; again on pale grey PastelMat card. The card was dampened and a yellow, salmon-pink and red-violet stick hatched over the surface in various places and allowed to spread. Once dried, I didn't totally like the colour created so added orange as well. This all dried back to a golden haze.

Now I worked with the sticks dry. I drew a couple of pear shapes, putting one further away from the other. The more distant one was worked on lightly with a pale green and pale mauve, attempting to model the 3D aspect of the fruit. The closer pear was hatched over with yellow, then orange; I wasn't quite happy and decided to add water.....which took off across the sheet and spread the colour beyond the pear. So I reshaped the pear to accommodate the blot and let it dry.

From here, a couple of greens were used to add further variety to the pear's surface, followed by violets. Shadows were put in with deep purple and a dark blue, plus a little white at their outer edges. No more water was added!

A little bit of hatching for a table surface, and that was it. The waxy nature of these sticks can fill the tooth of the paper (not that it has much to start with); pressing hard will fill it faster.

So what do I think of these colours so far? Well, they create some nice effects especially with water; and they hatch over each other well. I have not yet tried them on their sides, like a soft pastel; I think I need a paper with more tooth for that. They are very good for calligraphic line-work on top of washes. Whether they are strong enough to hold their own as a medium, I don't know; I feel they are best used as part of a mixed media work.....like with gouache, or acrylic or collage, for example. I think they are ok for making small paintings/drawings, but they don't do sharp detail (as you might expect).

Their waxy nature might preclude them from certain techniques and, in other work, it may be just as quick to use actual watercolour or coloured inks for a background. I'd like to try something a little larger as a subject, just to test them further....but my box of colours could need supplementing with a few extra purchases and I'm not up for that at the moment.

Tomorrow I'll be getting back to some new "starts" on work, so will post soon.

Fruitbowl: oil on MDF panel; 3.5 x 3.5 inches

, 17:45



https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/fruitbowl/614615
Things are on a roll with oils right now; four pictures in 5 days, all worked directly from the subject.

So, before the final demolition of the remaining nectarines, here they are in a bowl, painted in oils on a very small-format piece of gessoed MDF board; measuring just over 3 inches square (around 75-80 mm).

I continue to like painting things in these mini-scales. They are often overlooked in the grand scheme of things, as people rush headlong through life seeking only the biggest, brightest and jazziest canvases. But at least I have plenty of storage space for my small pieces. For several years I've preferred the smooth surface that gessoed boards provide. I still have canvas and canvas-boards, but now I treat them with several layers of acrylic gesso to smooth out some of the tooth.
I set this small board up in my pochade box, which takes a max. size of 6x8 inches (and will handle an 8x8 inch board with the top flap open). It makes a useful table-easel (although small). I have also used it a number of times outdoors, resting on my lap and steadied with one arm (this again can be difficult if the pose is maintained for a couple of hours, due to arm cramp). Some folk have fitted tripod legs to their pochade boxes.

Bowl and Nectarine; watercolour 6x4 inches.

, 17:17




https://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/christine-derrick/bowl-and-nectarine/613958

I don't often pull out the watercolours, but this year I am thinking of taking them away with me on day-trips during the main holiday period. As much as I like pastels, I have found it difficult to work satisfactorily out of a small day-sack with them. I have selected various fragments of colours to try and get a good spread for outdoor work; then sorted them into two or three small plastic segmented boxes. Such a method should work ok, and it does....unless you drop a box. A couple of years ago I did just that, and was lucky to salvage all the pastel fragments. I then kept them indoors for the remainder of my time away and resorted to a small set of Cotman watercolour pans for any further draw/paint efforts.

I've spent so much time in recent years with pastels and oils that I've tended to forget how useful watercolours are for simply sketching things. Last week I sat out in the garden and made a passable attempt at a cottage window amongst the flowering weeds; done on hot pressed paper with the intention of adding a few ink lines (which never happened).

This very small painting of a two-handled cup with nectarine is a follow-on from last post's pastel nectarine duo. With the gradual softening of the fruit, it became necessary to start eating them up before they finally collapsed. The painting is pretty simplified and I've just aimed at representing the cup via the dark mass of blue-purple behind it; plus a bit of pale blue-grey shading; and then the darker colours for the fruit. It gets me back into the process of using translucent paint rather than the opaqueness of pastel or oil. I have found the Langton Prestige range of paper to be rather nice to use and it seems particularly good when making use of the granulation effects of certain colours, like Ultramarine Blue.