I’m enjoying painting my watercolours again this week. The hard frosts have damaged some of the early flowering shrubs in our garden so although I’ve loved painting the emerging flowers of the magnolias their poor, delicate petals were now a sorry mess and were never going to open fully. I like to paint from life when I can but faced with sad, brown blooms I decided to revisit my photographs instead. Laura planted a few young grapevines last year and they produced the most glorious coloured leaves and I couldn’t resist. That’s my finished painting on the right.
The sheer number of overlapping leaves was quite a challenge so, to get started I sketched the main shapes using a water soluble pencil, knowing this would disolve into the wet paint later. What I love about watercolour is how it floods and bleeds across the paper but of course, this is also what you don’t want to happen when you are trying to paint separate shapes and keep colours also separate. The obvious answer is to paint leaves that don’t touch each other first, let them dry and then paint the gaps in between. Hopefully you can see how that is beginning to work in the photo below. I added a bit of negative painting in the background to suggest the small leaves that weren’t part of the vine but were growing below it.
The third image shows the effect of flooding water into semi dry paint to create ‘blooms’. They may not be exactly what I was seeing on the vine itself but I think it adds lovely, organic texture and it’s one of my favourite ways of adding interest to a painting.
Although watercolour paint dries quite quickly you still need to be patient between layers of colour so what better thing to do than to start a second painting? While I was wading my way through the thousands of photographs I have I fell upon some I had taken of an ancient fishing boat seen on holiday years ago in Brittany. I’ve always loved these pictures and in fact have made three quilts inspired by the boats combined with quotes from Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea. Words and song lyrics often conjure images in my mind and have always been a kick start for me and my quilt designs!
It’s something of a departure for me to attempt a landscape/seascape subject as I tend to favour nature as inspiration but it’s good to step out of your comfort zone every now and again isn’t it? I hope you’ve liked seeing work in progress and my finished paintings. I shall add pristine card mounts to these and maybe even frame them for sale. A mount makes all the difference to a watercolour painting – it’s like adding a crisp binding to a quilt!
Thanks for dropping by. Linda x