I finally got round to finishing my demo piece during my Watercolour Basics class at Red Hot Press a few weeks ago. It's pretty much the same as last year's class (I even used the same brand of red wine!) but I think I'm getting better! I need to find time to do more...
on my Watercolour Basics course. Here are some demonstration pieces and teaching material and exercises used - more to come! Still a couple of places left on my Watercolour Day on Saturday 8 August .
and the penultimate session of my watercolour course at Red Hot Press. Here are some excellent work in progress examples of this week's still life. Considering these are first attempts by all, what encouraging results we achieved using all the techniques covered so far including flat and gradated washes; wet into wet and dry brush applications.
showing day three of my current watercolour class last Wednesday at Red Hot Press. Loads of potential with some real talent here. I'm really looking forward to next week's still life - watch this space! If anyone missed out on this course and is still interested, look out for my Watercolour Day on Saturday 8 August - a bargain at £60 with all materials supplied.
done from a photo taken last July whilst staying in Lisbon with two dear friends who were performing there. Lovely memories - lovely countryside. 25 x 35 cm on 140Ib NOT Waterford.
over Cemetery Lake. Watercolour 25 x 35 cm on Wookey Hole hand-made 140Ib ROUGH
after doing commercial work I needed to unwind and just thought I'd throw paint at some paper and this was the result!
Here are two demonstrations done with a limited palette for my current Watercolour Basics class running over 5 weeks at Red Hot Press. Day one went well (I think?) and I have 9 enthusiastic students. Looking forward to next week's landscape demo. For anyone interested I am running a Watercolour Day on Saturday August 8 also at RHP. These two pieces were done on Bockingford NOT 140Ib both about 17 x 27 cm in around 30 minutes each.
of a view from Jamaica Road looking north east along River Neckinger towards The Thames. I did this from a photo I took a while ago after walking from Shad Thames. It took under 3 hours and was just an experiment really as I wanted to see what I could achieve within this time: 423 x 296 mm on 140Ib Waterford NOT .
Yet another sunset, this one shows the view from my sister's house in Gundleton. Done from a photo taken on the ipad I lightened-up the foreground as a raw file and tweaked it in Photoshop to make out some features. I also gave the horizon a warm tone to express the fading light.
I'm still waiting to start a commercial job so in the meantime I did this. I took the photograph for this a few weeks ago when the atmosphere produced this dramatic reflection on Southampton Water. I was inspired by looking at one of Turner's watercolours on-line and found an old piece of heavy Whatman rough paper which was perfect for the job! I've never done anything with so much contrast before - what do you think?
and what better way to enjoy it than making a watercolour sketch! A spot in the north between Fritham and Brook - a blissful break away from it all.
I did this as a final demo for the last of my evening classes. Taken from a random source on-line and copied from my ipad I timed it to about 50 mins to fit in with the 2 hour class. Done on 140Ib Bockingford NOT surface. Look out for some of the excellent work done by my students in my next posting.
This is the demonstration piece I did for my evening class group this week at Red Hot Press. Actually I completed it in my studio after introducing basic techniques and applications to landscape. We are using a Daler Rowney NOT 140lb paper which is not very forgiving and I wouldn't use it for a finished piece but good for the beginner.
This one I did in the searing heat in around 10 minutes - too hot to stay any longer!
I've taken on a large commercial project so I'm just taking opportunities to sketch outside when I need a break. Here's a few done in my A5 sketchbook over the last few days - see if you can identify locations...
I did this on location and finished off in the studio. The wool House was built in 1417 as a warehouse for the wool trade with Flanders and Italy. Later it was used as a prison and is now awaiting it's future role. The drawing for this watercolour took around an hour and and I spent a further two hours laying basic washes before finishing at the Chapel - the roof was a joy to study!
There are still a couple of places left on my watercolour class starting next Wednesday 10 July from 7 to 9.00 pm in Southampton. Ideal for those wishing to revive past skills as well as for those new to the medium. Go to Red Hot Press for further information.
This is a sketch of St Andrew's church at Raveningham Norfolk. The church is a "round tower" with a Norman octagonal and castellated top. Done in around 1 1/2 hours at approx 300 x 400mm.
This view is just behind the Bear and Ragged Staff public house at Michelmersh. To the left is the lovely 12 century parish church of St Mary which has a most attractive wooden tower - a must to draw in the near future! Done on waterford "rough" surface 140Ib paper at approx 340 x 500mm.
Remember those damp misty mornings we thought would never end? I decided to capture one in watercolour as a reminder and here it is: The Common early one morning - recognise where it is? answers on a postcard...
Here's something different - I did this a few months ago after receiving an email from Alan Titchmarsh (or rather his secretary) asking me to donate an artwork on a postcard. Titchmarsh is President of Gardening for Disabled Trust and the idea was to invite a wide range of people to submit original works on a postcard for auction. Submissions included famous and unknown artists as well as politicians and celebrities and no one would know who did each card. The lucky bidders would receive a bargain! As it happens the turn out was dissapointing and not many cards were sold but my card went for £35! Congratulations (or commiserations) to whoever bought mine!
A commission (from my son!) of this remote 17th century building in the south of France which he visited this year. Done from his photographs on Arches 140Ib paper 340 x 460 mm
I did a series of visuals for Dan Lobb, garden designer extraordinaire a few months ago and here are the results. Dan is a Gold Medal winner at Hampton Court Show and was short listed for this design competition to 3 finalists. Dan's brief was to create an innovative design for the soon to be restored walled garden at Mottisfont. Unfortunately as I write this has been put on hold and is awaiting further funding. Good luck Dan!
I started this a while ago as a result of a conversation I had with someone in the Oceans shop in Southampton. Oceans opened earlier this year as a souvenir shop and restaurant and houses an exhibition space celebrating the maritime history of the docks and cruise ships visiting the City. They sell my postcards of Westgate Hall and Tudor House and it was suggested I did one of the memorial as well. So here it is! Done on Arches 140Ib NOT surface at approx 280 x 400mm
Watercolour of Netley Abbey. I did this from a photo I took a few years ago on a cold early spring morning. Image size 280 x 410 mm done on Arches 140Ib NOT. One of several for sale at the portfolio weekend at First Gallery Bitterne 15/16 June.
I'm running watercolour classes over four Monday mornings in July at Red Hot Press: sign up and learn my secrets! Here's a link: Red Hot Press
Walking past the Cenotaph I snapped a photo on my iphone and did this in my studio. For a change I have included passers by to give a sense of scale. The Cenotaph is the only structure in the city designed by Lutyens and was influencial on the design of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Unveiled in 1920 it was originally dedicated to the fallen of the First World War. Done on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT paper in around 6 hours.
I found a large sheet of Two Rivers heavy watercolour paper and did this. I'm not sure I like this paper but it's always a challenge and is good for leaving and coming back to as it's easy to scrub the surface and wash off colour. I probably overworked this but here it is anyway.
soon to be revealed!
...and another experiment in light and shade. Again done from a photo taken on my ipad but I limited my time to under 3 hours. It started off as a blend of Cerulean Blue, Alizaren Crimson, Antwerp Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Paynes Grey. All applied wet on wet and allowed to dry after about an hour and then worked over with washes and dry brush. It's not architecture, which I love but allowed me a sense of freedom and experiment (I even sprinkled salt while it was wet!). Nevertheless a nice break after a week of commercial illustration. Hope you like it!
Just did this one after arriving at the chapel. Not from life (too cold!) but from a few photos I took on my ipad on the way in. It started off quite bright and then became quite misty and murky which seemed an attractive proposition for a quick watercolour: just wanted to splash paint on paper really - hope you like it! Done in around 3 to 4 hours on Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT at approx 280 x 380 mm.
I hadn't looked at this work since posting it on Saturday but after showing the original to an illustrator colleague today I just felt it needed a few tweaks. I don't normally work on a piece after its "completion" but I've played around with it a little - you probably won't notice (or even care) - anyway here it is again!
I love the way the tower of Netley Hospital chapel pokes up above the trees and can be seen from all aspects. I took the photo for this watercolour sketch last year and I have a feeling it was from the IOW ferry (?). The sailing boat to the left balances the composition quite well. Done in around 4 hours in the studio on 200lb Two Rivers paper.
Tim Craven shows his extraordinary skills in this joint show with Celia de Serra at the Art Stable gallery near Blandford Dorset. Tim's "day-job" is curator at the Southampton City Art Gallery but he intends to spend more time making his art in future and well worth it. Tim's love is the countryside and in particular trees and he portrays these with a most unique method of using watercolour. The initial painting is carried our using meticulous fine brush application in black and white and any colour and/or tone is added later using an airbrush. Beatiful work when viewed close-up and standing back. Worth the lovely drive to the little village of Child Okeford. On until 28 March.
This view of Fawley Refinery was taken from Weston Shore early springtime last year. It's on a heavy hand-made watercolour paper by Two Rivers. I am getting used to this surface now and plan to aquire some larger sheets - this one is 260mm x 360mm and took around 5 hours.
This is really just an experiment using a hand-made paper that I've not used before. It's a very white paper made by Two Rivers and is a NOT surface of around 140lb. The surface is less absorbent than I'm used to and the paint tended to sit on the surface and even when dry could be easily disturbed. This was both useful and difficult but once I got used to it enabled me to wipe-out and lift-off colour with ease. The view was taken from a photograph I took from within the port a few months ago. It's quite a small picture at 240 x 280mm.
The photograph I used for this view was taken early one morning last springtime and shows the power station at Fawley from Hamble. I used a 300mm lense which tends to flatten the perspective giving a more interesting composition. The image reminded me of Whistler's nocturne paintings in particular his Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Battersea Bridge (c. 1872/75) and this was a major influence for this watercolour. I limited my palette to alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, yellow ochre and neutral tint with opaque white highlights.
This view is looking up river from Mayflower Park towards the Mayflower Cruise Terminal. The river is really calm with just a few ripples to break up the surface. The large crane is the Canute floating crane built in the 1960s and has the capacity of 200 ton! Just under A3 size done from my photographs on Saunders Waterford 140Ib in around 5 hours.
Here's something different - a view of the Southampton incinerator from across the river. The metal dome shape can be easily spotted from all points of the city. Due to its reflective material it changes colour throughout the day and time of year. The photograph I worked from was taken on a hazy morning in early spring last year and I tried to give the structure an air of mystery by enhancing the lighting effects on the roof.
I'm due to give two talks on my work at the following times and venues:
Friday 9 November at Cobbett Road Library Southampton who are also hosting an exhibition of selected watercolours which runs from November 5 to December 1.
Wednesday 12 December at Southampton Solent University for FoSMAG (Friends of Southampton Museums, Archives and Galleries)
As a result I managed to make the front cover of the FoSMAG Newsletter this month with a dps inside.
The Daily Echo have published a feature on my work in today's TV & Leisure magazine - here's a scan:
Here's the last watercolour view showing Southampton Docks. This one portrays the four ferries: the ro ro car transporter, the IOW car ferry, the Red Jet and the Hythe ferry. The view is from Hythe pier and put together from several photos to assemble all the ferries together at one time. It took several visits to achieve this but worth it in the end.
This one probably took the longest at around 20 hours due to the detail but I think the subject matter is worth the time taken. I feel that I know these structures intimately now and worthy of further studies.
I limited my palette to just 5 colours for this piece and concentrated on the tonal values in order to create the atmosphere.
Here are details of my finished watercolours which give an indication of my brush stroke technique. I tend to work wet-into-wet using warm and cool colour until there's no more benefit in moving the pigment around and I'll leave to dry. I'll then add detail and finish with some dry-brush. I use a large squirrel hair brush for sky and sea washes and sable brushes nos 4, 6 and 8 for the rest. I buy my brushes from Rosemary & Co.
For the second year running I have sold a watercolour at the Mall Galleries and the same subject: a Norfolk round tower church. Could this be a clue to latest trend in popular subject matter? ...or just a coincidence? Here it is: All Saints, Freethorpe. A lovely church with a large Norman tower.
Don't miss this show at the Mall Galleries and spot my two pictures - until 25 March. More to follow.
I've just completed this watercolour for a dear friend and colleague of some 14 years to remind him of his journey from Southampton station to Solent University passing this lovely sculpture each day. Designed by Paul de Monchaux and erected in 2000 this work frames four views across West Park. Good luck Phil
It's been a while since my last post but before leaving Rowland Hilder I want to show this watercolour. I came across it on the web blog http://one1more2time3.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/rowland-hilder-1.jpg and is a barn interior. I've not found many examples of interior views by Hilder and this is outstanding. The lightness of touch together with strong cast shadows and intense shade give a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The strong light at the entrance where Hilder has left the white of the paper, contrasts with the dark washes of the interior to the left. This, together with fleeting dry brush strokes on the wooden beams and on the floor allows the paper texture to describe an impression of various surfaces within. All in all a masterful rendition.
I am thrilled to announce the opening of my exhibition at Southampton Solent University with a reception on Thursday 27 October at 6.00 pm. A Point of View is an exhibition of my recent watercolour studies including local views of Southampton's heritage buildings. The show continues until 7 January 2012.
Roland Hilder was a household name throughout my childhood during the 50s and 60s and admired as both artist and illustrator. His name was synonymous with the Kent countryside much as Constable was with Suffolk. His traditional style and method of watercolour painting was highly regarded from both within and outside of the art communities and he transcended the divide between art and illustration. His work exemplified the art of watercolour as a medium for publication and his work can be seen in books and on posters. His work touched a strain of nostalgia in the English for an unchanged and unchanging landscape. I have always felt a closeness to Hilder's work especially as I grew up close to the parts of Kent that he most loved and painted particularly around Maidstone and Shoreham on the northern downland.
Alfred Waterhouse RA (1830–1905), Entrance, Natural History Museum: Plan and elevation, c.1878.
Alfred Waterhouse RA (1830–1905), Manchester Town Hall: perspective, 1887. Pencil, pen with black ink and coloured washes, 762 × 1092 mm
Before I leave the Victorians I must give a mention to Alfred Waterhouse. Although, strictly, not an artist but an architect, Waterhouse produced the most sensitive perspectives. He is very much remembered for his design of the Natural History Museum in which he incorporated intricate detail in the style of the Romanesque. Many architects received training not only in architecture but also in painting and in particular in the medium of watercolour. Waterhouse was indeed a talented watercolourist demonstrated here in this fine example of a perspective of his design for Manchester Town Hall. It's hard to imagine an architect of today producing such a work but during this time many architects were also accomplished in the art of perspective drawing and rendering. The practice of rendering plans and elevations had been standard practice since the Industrial Revolution and was established in the engineering profession. Specific colours were defined to represent different materials and draughtsmen became highly skilled in laying immaculate washes to design drawings. Waterhouse produced a plethora of rendered design drawings and perspectives and was highly regarded both within and outside the profession. The next image by Waterhouse, the entrance to the Natural History Museum, had a great impact on me after seeing the original on display.
John Ruskin (1819-1900). Part of St Mark's, Venice, Sketch after rain, 1846
Above all it is the writings and philosophy surrounding the Romantic period and in particular that of the aesthetic ideal of the picturesque which has had a significant affect on my attitude to art and design. In 1768 William Gilpin (1724-1804) wrote of the picturesque as, "that kind of beauty which is agreeable in a picture" and alongside ideals of the beautiful and sublime was seen as a basic human instinct towards art. A leading proponent of Gilpin's philosophy during the Victorian period was the art critic, artist and writer John Ruskin. It is the draughtsmanship which I most admire in Ruskin's watercolour studies and the piece I have chosen ably demonstrates this. This sketch of St Mark's was one of many Ruskin produced for his treatise on the art and architecture of Venice, The Stones of Venice first published in 1851. Here Ruskin shows his ability to combine the use of the pencil sketch with loose washes and still retain accuracy of architectural shape and form: a master draughtsman.
It's been a while so here is another offering looking into the many artists who have inspired my work. I have known this piece by John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) for as long as I can remember. It has the perfect proportions for the subject matter, an aqueduct, and in its simplicity has become an iconic work. It is a small watercolour 31 by 23 cms which surprised me on first viewing the original at the V&A (a similar reaction when I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre). This watercolour has a charm like no other: It's an image that I return to time and time again. Executed on laid paper it has a lightness of touch and even the telling signs of aging does little to detract from this. Cotman can be forgiven for his less than accurate depiction of reflections in the foreground water (under examination the supporting pillars are much shorter in the reflections if measured from the ground surface) given that this was most clearly done on location. Economy of brushwork and colour washes makes this work a classic example of the Romantic and Picturesque era.
J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851): Pulteney Bridge Bath, lecture diagram 59, c1810
Here's the finished watercolour. The view is the same as the sketch but worked up from photographs taken on the day. I have tried to capture the drama of the castle against the lightening sky with the sun casting much of the building in its own shadow. Stokesay Castle stands proud in the valley of the river Onny just north of Ludlow. It was clearly designed to charm both its owners and onlookers when it was built in the late 13 century and is a visual treat of vernacular building today. This took nearly three days to paint but was worth the time and effort.
If you wish to see more of my work I am having a one man show at Southampton Solent University during November and December - details to come. Also visit the Tudor House and garden in Bugle Street which has just reopened and will soon be selling postcards of my watercolours of the House and Westgate Hall in a couple of weeks.
Much of the inspiration for my work comes from the golden age of British watercolours during the late 18th and 19th centuries. John Ruskin's writing and drawings on the picturesque in art have always fascinated me as does the work of Turner, Girtin and Varley et al. I am constantly referring to the work of such artists whilst working on a watercolour and this is no exception. As the painting progresses I have a continuous struggle with the medium trying to move the paint across the surface until I am satisfied with the result: although often disappointed once the paint has dried. This is what makes me want to continue and improve.
I am very excited that my new website is live! I hope that you enjoy looking round at my work and thoroughly explore the gallery area. I will be adding new work regularly so please come back and visit. I will also be blogging regularly about my interests, current work and also what is going on in the arts community of the city of Southampton where I live. Please get in touch with me via the Contact page!