Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Watercolor Artist

This bi-monthly American magazine recently celebrated its 25th Anniversary. It was originally launched under the name  'Watercolor Magic'. This is one of only two magazines devoted to watercolour. The other is the glossy and expensive 'The Art of Watercolour'.  I have written before about this latter one and have nothing to add. This is not to say 'Watercolor Artist'  is cheap. It isn't for us UK artists due to the premium we have to pay. With the magazine is a small pre-paid card, obviously intended for American readers but it does say for International orders add $10. This still makes it quite a bit less than  the £17.71p, which includes postage, we pay for three issues. In the UK I subscribe to it through Newstand via the internet.  I did have it  for a few months in 2014 but for some reason didn't continue. IF UK artists purchase direct the cost is $47.97 for two years, including the extra $10 for International purchases. This shows a substantial saving. I am tempted to try. 



I subscribed to 'The Artist' magazine for some years. Previously I also bought 'Leisure Painter' from the same publisher. 'Leisure painter' is aimed at the beginner and intermediate artist. Recently I decided to discontinue 'The Artist' as I have found less and less of interest, as it covers all media. My feeling about it was that it was mainly repeating itself year after year, and the rich World of watercolour outside the UK barely if ever features, I know this is partly a language problem but even Continental watercolour artists, many of whom ate fluent in English, don't get a mention. 

The latest issue of Watercolour Artist has 72 pages and features several artists, most of whom are new to me, but this isn't always the case with top artists  like Bez Jozwiak, Fealing Lin and Ted Nuttall featured in other issues. Topics include painting Earth, Sea and Sky, Flowers, and the 9th Annual Watermedia Showcase.

Is it worth buying? Obviously yes for American watercolour artists. In the UK the price is high but on balance I think, if you are a watercolour enthusiast, just about unless price is an issue.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

My Most Recent Work

Here are my latest efforts. I don't post them as good work, just what I've been getting up to lately. I have mixed feelings about much of my recent work, possibly  (another) bout of self-doubt but I'll keep trying! I have scrapped a couple as well.



A Female Goldcrest
 - Approx. 9" x 12"


 2nd Attempt at the Goldcrest as I felt I overworked the first.



This was an attempt at an abstract portrait with glances towards Agnes- Cecille's work.  16" x 12"



Goldfinch - approx. 9" x 12" I like this one. It's more towards where I want to be (with acknowledgement to Gerard Hendriks)



A Dipper. 9" x 12" mixed feelings about this one.




This was an AVA Thursday subject "Summer Landscape" 20" x 14" Lanaquarelle Not



A Blackfoot Indian - 16" x 12" 



Another AVA subject - " Seed x Heads" 16" x 12"




Second Attempt at this one 16" x 12". It was an AVA subject , something to do with Flowers.



Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Watercolour Paintings 42

Here are the latest batch for May.



Robert Wade by Cheng Chung Wei - Inspired by Charles Reids style - so says the caption. Love the painting.



Judith Farnsworth



Viktoria Prischedko

Viktoria has her first UK workshop at Sidmouth, Devon in early May.


Gerard Hendriks

Enough said. How versatile is Gerard!


Ben Gassenbauer




Ektarina Savo



Maksym Kisilov


Aynur Akalin


Jung-Hun-Sung


Amit Kapoor



 Rachel Toll

This young British artist has a very interesting website.



Yuko Nagayama

Fabulous detail and looseness plus colour combined brilliantly by this wonderful Japanese artist.



Surentsetseg Munkhbaatar

Fabulous Mongolian artist. What a name though!



Tiejum Chao




Sunhee Kim (think this is correct?)



Anna Razumovskaya

Another find! One of many in this batch. Look at her other work which is easily 'googled'.



Another from Rachel Toll. -  See above.



Migull Linares Rios



Konstantin Sterkov

A well known Russian artist.



Fikret Tunah



Roberto Zangarelli

Another well-known artist look at his website for more excellent paintings.

What I try to do is give a wide range of different types of painting in watercolour to show the diversity and possibilities in this underrated medium. I think the above selection succeeds in doing this. Many of these artists are new to me and show how watercolour spans the World. Enlarge the ones that appeal to you, as not all will with personal preference, and give them careful study. If I have made any mistakes in the naming please feel free to correct me.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Rosemary & Co


Rosemary & Co are one of the leading British brushmakers with probably the largest range, the other specialists being Pro Arte who are major and smaller operations like Luxartis. Pro Arte  are strongly represented in British art shops whereas Rosemary, who is the main brushmaker, sells only by mail order and at Art events. I think there may be one or two smaller operations as well. Of course companies like Winsor & Newton, who are famous for Series 7, and Daler Rowney also offer brushes but where  are they made these days? I believe Rosemary also makes some own label brushes.

Originally Rosemary and her then husband ran ABS brushes and when they parted she soon started again  as Rosemary & Co. The catalogue was virtually identical but has now been expanded and is very comprehensive with a huge range covering all types of brushes and mediums. She has a large and loyal following of British and overseas artists and works closely with a number in developing brushes.

The catalogue, approximately 6 1/2 by 9 1/2, has 95 pages in full colour. It offers 18 different types plus travel brushes and some speciality brushes. She also offers two special sets with artists names attached, something I'm not too enthused about. She's also on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube! Brushes within the UK are free postage over £40, otherwise £2 and there are other rates for next day delivery and bulk orders. Current prices overseas are listed on her website. www.rosemaryandco.com






As you can see the information is extensive and there is much useful stuff about brushes, what they are for and how to maintain them. The catalogue is a mine of information.

 Series 8  Kolinsky were a favourite with many artists but Kolinsky prices are now really only for the very well-healed or top artists. For amateurs to pay these prices, especially with a restricted budget, is difficult to justify. The obvious choice is Red Sable with a Size 8 round £11.59p, compared to £39.95p for  Kolinsky Series 8 round. There may be a difference but  I doubt it would be much to most  artists. She also offers a range of synthetics that are very good.

I have, in the past, paid a lot of money for brushes but not at the current eye-watering prices. I have enough new ones to keep me going BUT should I have to buy any more (unlikely) I would choose 
Red Sable blend, a mixture of animal hair and synthetics. This is Series 401/402 in rounds with a Size 8 costing £6.90p to £7.30p! Rounds, Daggers , Riggers, Sword Liners and One Stroke are also offered in this blend. 

The best artist in my Avon valley Artists group is Yvonne Harry, who mainly paints flowers, and can compare with most professionals. She mostly used Pro Arte synthetics , often purchased as seconds at art events, but was persuaded to try Jacksons own label sables (made by Rosemary?). She didn't like them saying she found them too soft. However recently she tried the Rosemary 401 series  and has really taken to them. Although this is fairly recent she likes the better stiffness  with the mixed blend and also likes the way they point well. Should I have to buy any more brushes they would be my choice.











Thursday, 5 April 2018

Book Review - Ann Blockley's Watercolour Workshop

This is the latest, and apparently the last book Ann Blockley intends to write. I have her 'Watercolour Textures ' (Collins 2007), which is quite similar except she goes even more abstract in this one. Ann was originally known as a very good flower painter and my sister, who lives not far from her, has two of her flower paintings. They are beautifully done but more realistic, although not botanical or super realistic. The interesting thing is the way she has changed direction, something her famous father the late John Blockley also did. John Blockley was in the same group of British artists as Seago and Wesson and considered an exceptional artist, who painted mainly landscapes and other outdoor subjects, often bleak ones with a predominance of grey and earth colours. Later he changed direction becoming much more colourful and became President of the Pastel Society.  She has also done something similar - although always colourful - in that her style has altered and her subject matter has widened to include landscapes and tree paintings.



128 pages, approx 9 x 10 inches Batsford 2018. UK £19.99, USA $29.95, Canada $39.95











Above are typical examples of the projects in the book. The contents have a number of chapter headings as follows: - Getting Started, Flowers and Field, Trees and Hedgerows, Landscape Features and Towards Abstraction. She also covers materials, paints, paper and brushes but also other things like granulation medium, crayons, lead pencil, watercolour pencil, gesso and tissue paper, collage, pieces of card etc - in other words the whole gamut. including techniques and  how to use them. There are a number of projects which are on a step-by-step basis,

Some of my paintings friends, including Pauline who loaned me the book to review, and has attended her workshops, are ardent Blockley fans. I think her work is very interesting - really pretty amazing actually so this isn't a putdown, but you need to buy into it to benefit from this book. It isn't for the faint hearted or beginners, as achieving this level of expertise and the ability to emulate her work requires really hard graft and determination. Rather like my fascination with Charles Reid, which although nothing like her style and apparently much simpler isn't actually when you get down to it. It's taken me years and I'm still not there although, in each instance, I stress I'm not talking about copying exactly how these artists work but being influenced by it with your own input.

A nice useful book? Yes with the qualifications I've made.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Watercolour Paintings 41

With the beginning of Spring here is another batch of watercolours from around the World.



Robert Wade

The doyen of Australian watercolour artists Bob is also a very nice man. I had contact with him a few years ago via e mail. He well remembered Bristol as his son had been a medical student here.



Yuko Nagayama

This lady is an amazing artist. I don't think there is another like her. Her paintings have this wonderful ethereal quality. 



Bijay Biswaal

Wow!



Sarah Yeoman

Sarah has done several similar paintings. Catches the subject (and turmoil) of birds competing with one another very well. An unusual subject.




Stan Miller

This is a good example of Stans portraits. I think this was a demo.



Amit Kapoor

Fantastic detail. I imagine this is quite a large painting.



Aud Rye

This is so evocative! Mother (or is it father?) and children.



Vickie Nelson

Typical of Vickies work. Loose and colourful with just the right amount of detail, mainly the yellow and white Iris slightly left of centre. which attracts the eye.



Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey

Different from much of Jonathans work which often entails large panoramas.




Nikhil Girl

A new one to me, almost abstract but set off by the two tiny figures in the centre.



Gerard Hendriks

The wonderfully colourful and prolific Gerard. Colour and movement. What more can I say!



Charles Reid

This is a typical pose and good example of Charles figure paintings. I've been trying to emulate him for years (with only moderate - if at all - success!) Small areas of detail - large areas of generality.



Cao bei An

This fine Chinese artist was featured in Kees van aalst's book 'Realistic Abstracts'. He also has some videos on Youtube, which is a rich source of inspiration and demonstrations for artists.



Trevor Lingard

One of the best British watercolour artists of the modern era.



Robert Brindley

This almost seems like a pastel but it is said to be watercolour  from this British artist.



Roberto Zangarelli

I very much like the work of Roberto and this is a typical example. Three large shapes, the building to the left, the trees on the right and most important the tram at bottom front with it's yellow colour highlight. Look how he creates depth.




Diann Benoit

This is a typical Diann  painting from her Monday night class painted from a live model, bold and colourful.


That's it folks another batch of highly individual paintings which I hope has something for everyone, regardless of taste. My personal preferences  are towards  the looser end of the spectrum but I can - and do - admire other styles, even though I wouldn't want to emulate them even if i was capable of it. Each to h or her is own. What a wonderful and underrated medium watercolour is.