Thursday, 10 April 2014

A "dirty picture", plus a bleak one

A couple of watercolours today - Bleak Coast (and believe me, it was) and Dark Corner: the dark one, "dirty" because there's a lot of dark paint in it, Payne's Grey mixed with various blues and reds and spattered with salt, didn't turn out as I'd intended but I let it go because I was interested to see what it would do more or less left to its own devices - it has a je ne sais quoi; or at least I think it has.  Can't speak for anyone else, of course.........

There are those who like very precise paintings, lots of detail, everything drawn with the brush to resemble as closely as possible realistic forms.  I don't do a lot of that - there may be a fair amount of detail, sometimes too much: but it's more in the nature of random brush strokes than very careful drawing.  This is because the paper I use for watercolour is invariably either Rough or NOT (cold-pressed) - if you're after fine detail and limpid washes, the paper to use is Hot Pressed: a smooth paper, with little texture.  I admire paintings like that, but have no desire to paint them myself.

Anyway: these are both around 10 by 7 inches, on 140lb paper (The Langton NOT).

Bleak Coast

Dark Corner


  1. I was going to ask what paper you used then I found it- same as I use. I find it tough, will take anything thrown at it and a lovely texture. For a rough though I prefer Arches which is wonderful for dry brush work. I like the atmosphere of Bleak Coast; just the type of day I like to be by the sea watching the white caps.

    1. I prefer the Bleak Coast, Robert. It is very atmospheric and reminds me of what I see when I am walking on the beach and dunes by our Northsea Coast. The Dark Corner is a bit too dark for me.

  2. Welcome - Mia, I wonder what you would make of Steve Cronin's watercolours? He has a YouTube account - I find him a bit dark, and suspect you would too, but it's an interesting approach.

  3. Yes, Robert I had a look at Cronin's watercolours and I must say: it is not what I really like. When I saw the thumbnails, I thaught it was not so bad but watching the real demo's... his technique is what my husband and I call "a bit slabdash". Also, he is using the same colours in all his paintings and at the end of each work, they become rather muddy. I have nothing against large brushes (hakes?) but you have to look at those paintings from a distance to see what they are really about.
    Honestly, I prefer your and Alan's paintings.

  4. Yes, I thought you might feel that way about him. I'm amazed by his palette - it's the dirtiest I've ever seen: but I do like his results, all the more remarkable because he uses Cotman watercolours, a student brand (although a good one). His colours - mixes of Ultramarine, Payne's Grey, Light Red, Burnt Umber, Raw Sienna, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Sienna, and Alizarin Crimson, do produce - in his hands - a mixture that is very typical of a great deal of English and Scottish countryside. So, I like his work a lot, but I'm aware not everyone would.