Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Quick demonstrations


I've been doing a lot of sorting lately, since moving into a smaller house. It's a good chance to assess what is useful and what is not and reduce the clutter. I thought, however, that some of the things that I don't need to keep may still be useful, so I took a few photographs before recycling these pages. 

When I am running workshops and doing demonstrations I do a number of pages of quick studies and sketches and though they are not carefully finished, they still show what I was explaining. I've selected sections of a few pages to share here.

Anyone familiar with my work will know about Jane's Grey. Here's a quick demo of the mix. I don't suggest for a moment that you don't also explore the gorgeous range of hues you can create mixing ultramarine and burnt sienna on the palette or on the paper, but as a pre-mix it's incredibly useful.
Jane's Grey mix.
Jane's Black mix.
Jane's Black is another favourite mix. Whereas Jane's Grey is a deep slightly blue-grey that is granulating and liftable, Jane's Black is non-granulating, staining and a neutral black - neither looking red nor green. It washes out to a neutral grey. It's very useful for passages of very dark hue - whales or penguins for example. 
My students are currently using it to create a tonal underpainting that will be glazed later with washes of colour.

Here is a demonstration about the various strengths I aim for in watercolour. Starting with a very thick (like cream) mix of watercolour - as shown on the bottom - I add a 'brushful' of water to create gradually lighter tones.
Determining tones in watercolour
The 'cream' mixture will move slowly on the palette, just as pouring cream would. The 'milk' mixture moves a little more freely, but is not as liquid as the 'coffee' mixture. Think of black coffee here - liquid but not at all thick. Then 'tea' is more diluted, just as black tea is usually transparent. The weak tea is exactly that - rather like coloured water.

As we are talking about watercolour, we must always add water - the paint straight from the tube needs to be diluted before use, otherwise it will do what is called 'bronzing' and dry with an ugly sheen.

This quick demonstration shows in a very immediate way what sorts of colour mixes can be obtained when working with a well-chosen warm and cool red, yellow and blue. Here I've used hansa yellow medium (which is strictly speaking a mid yellow, but works much the same as a lemon yellow) along with quinacridone gold (a warm but neutralised yellow); quinacridone rose and pyrrol scarlet as the cool and warm reds respectively and ultramarine and phthalo blue GS as the warm and cool blues. 

Mixing a warm and cool red, yellow and blue.
It's apparent that the greens vary greatly, more than the oranges, and that you can't make a purple with a cool blue and a warm red. 

I have many pages of this sort of sketch explanation. Do you want to see more? And if so, about any particular aspect of watercolour?

13 comments:

  1. Hello Jane - I've been lurking for a little while, loving your blog.
    Which red-green made the "best" black was where my search began.
    I'd rather forgotten that as I've been so entranced by your lovely colour swatches!

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    1. Lurking is totally fine - but thanks for checking in Caroline :-)
      I really enjoy painting watercolour swatches - they are like mini abstract landscapes to try to see the full tonal range and characteristics in one little space.

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  2. Really useful post as always. I just put together a palette of your favorite 48 colors in an empty Schmincke tin. Still have two empty pans 'cause i was 'gonna look up Jane's Grey & Black mixes. Nice to find them in one place. Good timing :) Thanks.

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    1. Very good timing Bob. You can also do a seach in my blog (and website) if you are looking for specific things. Enjoy the new palette!

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  3. Yes, please post more sketch explanations like this one. I find it incredibly useful. I have been following you for awhile now, first time posting. thank you.

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    1. Good to know Nancy - thanks for checking in :-)

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  4. Hi Jane, since I found your blog last year I've been fascinated with your work and all the knowledge you have on colour and colour mixing. You have opened my eyes to the world of colour theory. I find your colour exercises and swatches very useful, so to answer your question... yes, please keep posting colour combos and swatches. Thank you.

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  5. Yes please, show us more.
    Every time I read a new post I learn something new, although I've already red, and studied, almost all the content in the web and blog ! ;-)
    Thank you in advance.

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    1. I use the website and blog for slightly different purposes. The best thing about a website is that you can easily find the information again as it is all organised together, so that is intended as a reference place. This is full of varied ideas and explorations - what I am up to, thinking about or doing at the time that I think others may find useful. I have all sorts of ideas about what I may add in the future :-)

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  6. New to your blog and new to watercolor. Found you about two months ago and absolutely love it.

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  7. love this -- need lots of color theory to avoid mud! thanks so much.

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