Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Still life with fish

watercolour 24 x 32 cm

I seem to have a thing for fish lately. It could have something to do with the amount of laps I'm swimming. Actually it has more to do with paying almost 10 euros for this sea bass for my dinner. At that price it needed to be painted!

If the colours are a bit wild it's because I have been dipping into Shirley Trevena's book, Vibrant Watercolours.

I also actually did a thumbnail sketch before I started this still life to work out the composition. It's pretty busy, I know, and I do have one regret. I don't think I'll point it out.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Learning Exercise

Love in a Mist 29cm x 23cm watercolour

Having painted the pod of this lovely flower from a bunch I collected in Jean's Garden, I've had to rely on a photo reference I took some weeks ago to paint the flower. The result is disappointing. I'm not experienced enough in botanical art to make up petal structure I can't actually see. I also want this to be part of a series but I was so influenced by the actual background colours in the photo, the end result isn't faintly related to my earlier painting.

I decided to stop here on this one. I then played with the painting in Photoshop, replacing colour to see if I could make a version of this painting in harmony with the earlier picture.

Photoshopped painting

I think it would be more interesting. Any thoughts?

Now I have to go and make Tomato Chutney, which really puts everything into perspective!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Love in a Mist

Watercolour 21x27cm

I've spent the last few days sketching the various stages of the life of Love in a Mist (Nigella damascena) - the pods from life and the flower from a photograph I took when I first discovered this amazing creature in Jean's garden. I'd never seen one before. So I think this is the first in a series that will hopefully culminate in a large painting.

Since I now have dozens of pods rattling with seed I'm dreaming of a wonderful show in our own garden next summer.

Friday, August 03, 2007


After sixteen days wait, my copy of Shirley Trevena's Vibrant Watercolours has finally arrived! It was worth the wait. Thanks to both Vivien Blackburn and Katherine Tyrrell who recommended the book. Now I'm in a state of bliss, doing the exercises and discovering just how Shirley Trevena achieves such wonderful colour.

While I'm in the mood to give free plugs, our friends, Grant and Julia, are selling their newly renovated Tuscan villa just outside Cortona. After a long stay in Italy they are heading back to Australia. 'I can't imagine why!' mutters HWEM.
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