Thursday, July 19, 2012

Egyptian Goose Watercolour

Egyptian Goose Step - 22 x 30cms Gouache on Khadi paper

The geese were developed from my watercolour sketch:

I have a passion for  Egyptian Geese but have only seen them at an agricultural show in Umbria.

Often the desire to paint birds means one has to beg, borrow or steal (never!) a photo reference.  This time I am extremely lucky to have a wonderful photograph taken by a good friend in Richmond Park, London.  I could go on painting it forever.

© Alison Staite 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sennelier New Range of Watercolour Paints

 Sennelier's new l'Aquarelle Honey-Based Watercolours

In December 2010 I participated in some blind tests of watercolours for the famous French artist's colour manufacturer, Sennelier.  At the time I had no idea what an interesting and rewarding project it was going to be.

First of all a box of 51 little zinc paint tubes arrived - no names, just numbers.

In the tubes were different formulations of twelve colours.  For a colour addict, this was surely a feast.  My task, along with other artists around the world, was to test and rate the contents of each tube by their luminosity, pigment intensity, consistency, ease of application and appearance after drying. I was going to need a system.

Starting work on the Ultramarine Blues.

Well that's all a long time ago now.  I sent off my tests and voiced my opinion on the various colours.  Back came an amazing box of gifts from Sennelier; beautiful paper, pastels, watercolours and brushes.  But the story wasn't over.

Last month I was packing for a short holiday in Paris when a courier arrived with the beautiful box of Sennelier's new watercolours you see at the head of this post.  Since it was called Color Palette of the Impressionists I had to add it to my Paris sketching kit.  

I used the colours for the first time to paint a postcard of one of my favourite places in Paris.  The painting has been posted to my friend Pat Reese in California as my July contribution to our art mail exchange A Postcard from My Walk.  Once Pat has received her card I'll be able to show it here.

Meantime I've been playing with my new Sennelier palette.  The first thing I noticed and loved about the new formula is the way the paint re-wets on the palette.  I'm inclined to squeeze tube paint into a light plastic palette to take sketching.  Being able to bring it back to a soft, rich tube consistency with a quick spray of water is very important.

Look at that stunning combination of three reds at the top left.  I want to wear it!  I also loved the way the Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Deep mix and granulate.  I'm very excited about  two greens - beautiful deep, rich Forest Green and Phthalo Green Light.  This introductory palette also has two very useful colours for sketchers, Warm Sepia and Paynes Grey.

Of course I'm only looking at 12 of the 98 shades now available in half pans, full pans and 10 and 21 ml tubes.

I have a great deal more to say about Sennelier but this is probably enough to whet your appetite for some delicious new colours. 

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