Saturday, 24 May 2008

Dorset Arts Week - messing about

Well after saying I'd be off line for 10 days, a slight change in plans means I will be able to offer the odd update to the trio-blogs as an when, but only intermittently.

This week is Dorset Arts week http://www.dorsetartsweek.co.uk/ so after thinking I'd not make it, I now should have a bit of time to see what else is happening in the area. I'll pop on some thoughts later in the month after our visits.

In the meantime I've been having another bash at fast, brash watercolours. There's something about watercolours I both loathe and love. I love the traditional forms of painting in watercolour, such as this boat I produced in 1996. But although others like them, I loathed the lack of vibrancy in my work, and for nearly 10 years gave up on watercolour altogether. I've never understood why a child's first foray into art is often with watercolours. They are a very hard medium to master, not least as often wet on wet produces a mess and the finished colour is lighter when dry.

Anyway last year I "almost" hit on the finished product I was looking for, examples of which are on previous postings. Though it was a hard and sometimes bad tempered slog at times. The technique is relatively simple enough, high pigment washes, blend washes and then undiluted tube watercolour for the detail, or lift off pigment with clean water. Golden rule = One brush, one colour. The tough part is not to make the paper so sodden it puckers and forms rivers of pigment, while not allowing it to dry to much before blending is compete.

Having not picked up a watercolour brush for a year, this week I had another go, with this "Betula Calm". I've now framed this and the finished painting has slightly less purple in the bottom section and lifts the reflection into the mid ground. Like all my paintings I'm never 100% happy as there's always something else I see I could improve, but I'm pleased with this and it got my eye in nicely. If you're in Frome in July, it'll be on the stall.

I've not just been painting this week. With my new camera I've been messing about with images from nature, again in a vibrant way. Below are three images of a Red Clover (Trifoluim pratense) I picked on a walk yesterday. Photographed against black gives the flower head a vibrancy I was looking for. The top photo was printed off as a 10 x 8 inch image then mounted into a 16 x 12 frame with a double mount, leaf green on black. And very nice it looks too on the lounge wall. Who'd have thought a common plant could look so exotic.


  1. What amazing photography! And quite uncanny .. I just got back from seeing my herbalist who has got me drinking nettle and red clover tea. She's been telling me all about the wonderful properties of this little wildflower.

  2. I didn't know they had wonderful properties, I'll look forward to reading more

  3. I love your experimentation with colour...very vibrant and with a distinct atmosphere :)

    Love the detail in your close ups of the clover. Makes my heart sing. Of all the flowers in my garden, the wild ones are my favourites :)

  4. I find it interesting Wildlife Gardner to take the normal and look it at it in a different way. All too often we look for the rare or obscure, when the common place can be extraordinary. Thank you for the kind comments too.

  5. Beautiful close~up's!! And beautiful water colors...you are so talented, such a great eye for great color!!
    wishing you a beautiful colorful summer!

  6. Thank you Cat, I'll hopefully be doing so more soon, so a colourful summer indeed. BR

  7. Brittany Asunmaa18 August 2008 at 23:40

    hi andrew, this is one of my favourite pictures, it looks so beautiful against the black background!