Pembrokeshire is my favourite area of the UK for sketching. There is so much variety of unspoilt coastal and rural scenery that there is always something exciting to sketch whatever the season or the weather. One of our most popular courses takes place in St David’s at the Warpool Court Hotel overlooking St Non’s Bay. The good news is that due to the economic climate we have negotiated a considerable reduction in the price of the course this year. You can find details here. Do come and join us, you can paint in watercolour or pastel as both David and I will be tutoring this course.
(click on picture for larger view)
Sketching in watercolour or pen and wash is a very quick way to capture colour and tone out of doors and it has the added benefit of loosening up your painting style. After all it is only a sketch and not intended for exhibition and because your time is limited it is not so easy to overwork it. You can learn a lot from sketching in watercolour.
Even if you are not particularly mobile, if it is possible for you to get out and enjoy nature, do try and do some sketching out of doors. I’m convinced you will find it improves your work.
In order to develop our painting skills, it is a good idea to experiment from time to time, Often this starts with just making a bit of a mess. A while ago I wanted to try using Mixed Media on the sandpaper, Fisher 400 Artpaper, that I love to use for my pastel paintings, as I was aware that it was waterproof, unlike the industrial sandpaper that I used before Fisher 400 was produced.
This painting of Twilight Cottage, started with an ink outline of the building, followed by a watercolour wash of Naples Yellow and Ultramarine in the sky and Cadmium Orange and Cadmium Yellow in the foreground. I let this all mingle and some of the ink drawing ran into the washes.
At first I thought that this was a mistake but when it was dry the dirtyness of the cottage appealed to me and also suggested a low light. So I worked into the painting with pastel, leaving large areas of the watercolour washes showing and added some undergrowth in the foreground with the scraping technique, which involves scraping flakes of pastel onto the painting and pressing them into the surface with a palette knife. This creates a spatter which resembles flowers or seed heads.
You can read how to create the scraping technique in my book, and you can see it demonstrated in film on my DVD,. The book and dvd are entitled Painting with Pastel and are on special offer our website.
I will be painting off and on during the day. You are welcome to come and watch.
I will also be there on Saturday 17th and Thursday 22nd .
The exhibition continues until 22nd September
Yesterday David and I went for a walk on the hills above our home and it occurred to me that this view of the Black Mountains illustrates perfectly aerial perspective, or recession.
Notice how the distant mountains are blue, the middle distance hill is blue/green, the bright green fields are cool green with touches of blue/green shadow and the foreground bracken is warm yellow/green.
In reality all these greens are similar in colour temperature but the atmosphere between gives this effect and it is the key to creating the illusion of a three dimensional space on a two dimensional painting surface.
This autumn David and I are demonstrating this and many other aspects of painting the landscape in two Seminars. David will be demonstrating in watercolour in Great Bookham, Surrey. Details are on the website. Also you can see detail of our painting courses for 2012 in Yorkshire, Mid Wales, Somerset and Pembrokeshire. You can also download a copy of our annual newsletter and order form.
We are also taking part in a joint exhibition at Aberglasney Gardens this month. Entry to the preview and the gardens is free from 6.30 to 9.00 p.m. on 9th September.