Words and Pictures

I took a painting Skillshare class over the weekend. Needed a break from the screen. – Illustrated Words & Monograms: Paint and Print Techniques (for Wall Art and Greetings Cards), by Illustrator Claire Picard.

Using a variety of methods, the brief was to illustrate words and letters with paint and liquid mask practises.

In the first task I used liquid mask to block out the word “j’adore”, then painted a mixed watercolour wash over the top. Adding hand painted hearts once the wash was dry. Finishing off with a small splatter of paint made with a toothbrush.

Filling the page with colour was a lot of fun. Although I did struggle with what to layer on top of the background and didn’t really take any risks. On my next attempt, I will experiment more. I lack somewhat in confidence when it comes to watercolour washes and was so pleased with how this turned out, I didn’t want to ruin it by overpainting.

I need to get over my fear of florals, so decided to use this assignment as practice. I resisted the temptation to view flower photo references and started by just painting flower shapes. Then I added detail with a black Micron fine liner.  

I wasn’t as happy with the results of this piece. I didn’t spend enough time thinking about what flower shapes would work well inside the letters or how they should be placed. It is very rudimental, to say the least. I will try again with just one big letter. Think I tried to run before I could walk with painting a whole word. The curse of being dyslexic…. my brain runs away with an idea that my physical self has no experience with and can’t keep up. 

Feel the fear and do it anyway….. Is how I felt doing this class project. Abstract, although a style I like, is something I’ve never tried before and I usually avoid florals. Especially loose expressive designs. I’ve kept my distance from such designs on account of not knowing where to start.

Claire’s class was the perfect introduction. And although my results are a little haphazard and very rough, (don’t think I’ve ever drawn so many flowers on one page), I’m totally inspired.

Flaming Hearts

The Sacred heart is a symbol of devotion in Roman Catholic religion, representing the divine love of Jesus for mankind. It symbology is very popular in Mexico.  Artisans craft ornate trinkets from wood and metal, decorating them in colourful folk art and religious iconography. 

Inspired by their bright and bold colours, my interpretation of these delightful little treasures is a reminder to always follow my own heart. 

Floral Fever

Watercolours…forgive me, it’s been 3 weeks since my last session. Actually finding the time to execute a daily art practice of traditional mediums is not as simple as I first imagined. Partly because once I start, I don’t want to stop. 

Yesterday’s intention of painting for only one hour, quickly morphed into the whole day. Chores were neglected, work postponed and the world outside my studio was completely disregarded.

Inspired by a friend’s beautiful country garden, which I visited at the weekend for an engagement celebration, I thought I would try florals. Not a subject I would usually choose, in fact I have kind of avoided drawing flowers. Not entirely sure why, considering how much pleasure I derived from yesterday’s undertakings. 

I will have to suffer the consequences of such self indulgence today of corse, but it was worth it. I feel strangely refreshed and energised, ready for whatever the day entails. 

Purple Passion

The next logical step in my watercolour analysis was to mix red with blue. Starting with crimson red.

Now…. I of course knew mixing red with blue produced purple, but I was surprised at how many different tints and shades were possible. I started to see the colour in a whole new light. 

Although purple has regal and spiritual connotations in our society and its history, it is a colour I have always associated with old age. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, purple rinse hair was popular with the older generation. Hospitals, doctors surgeries and care homes were painted lilac. And lavender scented products were a favourite gift to grandparents. 

The almost fossilised purple and white VW camper van that sat in the drive of my fathers house didn’t do much to elevate my impressions of this interesting hue either. That ridiculously old vehicle broke down more than it ran and didn’t go above 50 miles an hour. 

Today I am seeing purple as if for the first time, with a fresh new perspective. 

Crimson and ultramarine blue
Crimson red and phthalo blue
Crimson red and french ultramarine blue
Crimson red and cerulean blue

Put on Red Shoes and Dance the Blues

The colour red has quite a history, dating as far back as neolithic times. The prehistoric cave paintings at Lascaux, southwestern France, are full of it. The Aztec’s of Mexico were the first to produce vibrant red fabric dye. The Romans associated it with courage and adorned their gladiators in it. Charles the Great, the medieval emperor of Western Europe in the Middle Ages, painted his palace red as a visible symbol of his authority. And ancient Chinese philosophers believed it could elevate confidence, vivacity and luck. 

I wanted to compare the three watercolour reds I have. First up was vermilion red.

Vermilion red
Crimson red
Brilliant red