Michele Clamp Art

John Lovett Exercise - Landscape 3

landscapeMichele ClampComment

Rather a lacklustre performance today.    A very tricky photo and I got bogged down with too many greens.

The photo :

And Mr Lovett's version.

I rushed at this one somewhat and could definitely have benefitted from an initial value study.

John Lovett Exercise - Rocks

landscapeMichele ClampComment

Next John Lovett exercise.   A little lethargic with this one for some reason but my lack of interest managed to result in something pretty loose.

The original photo:

And Mr Lovett's version from the end of the book:

Very nice.   Simultaneously simpler and yet more detailed than mine.

 

 

John Lovett Exercise - Landscape 2

landscapeMichele ClampComment

I'm moving on through John Lovett's second watercolor book and now we're onto exercises for the reader!   He gives a set of photos at the end of each chapter and we have to go away and paint them using the techniques we've learned.    Here's the first photo :

Not very inspiring but let's see what we can do.   First a sketch:

Seems like a good plan to me.   Keep all the interest across the middle band,   plain sky and distant mountains, and nice and loose in the foreground.   Pretty much like we did yesterday but this time we're on our own for the details.  

Ok off we go :

Amazingly I managed to screw up the sky again the first time round so I went back with a different brush and evened out the wash somewhat.   Distant mountains in with a little more color variation than yesterday.   So far so good.    

Now the foreground.

I think we're still all right here.   Making good use of my trusty 1/2" bristle brush and keeping some variation in the washes but not making it too dark.

Now the scary bit - trees!   

The middle distance trees are pretty simple and the darks and contrast kept for the middle center of interest trees.   Still happy.

Now for gussying up the center of interest and adding in some detail to finish it off.

Phew!   Not too bad at all.   Didn't overdo the detail which turned out to be a good thing and added in a few splashes of red in the middle panel.    The final part was to put clear water on the river piece and drop in some color for reflections.   It all came together well in the end.

Now at the end of the book Mr Lovett shows us his take on the pictures (I didn't peek honest).  Here's his version :

Ooooh!   Now his version bears even less resemblance to the photo than mine and he's obviously got a lot more contrast and simplified the shapes more.   Maybe tomorrow I'll risk some glazing on each side on my version to see what happens.

John Lovett Exercise - Landscape

landscapeMichele ClampComment

I was rooting around on the bookshelf this morning and came across one of my favorite watercolor books:  John Lovett's Textures, Techniques and Special Effects for Watercolor.

Now I think the title is a bit misleading as it's a first rate instruction book for watercolor full stop.   Never mind the special effects.     As i was feeling a little jaded I thought I'd start at the beginning and go straight through the book doing all the exercises.    It'll keep me in practice but without troubling the brain cells too much.   And frankly it's too hot for the brain cells to do anything anyway.

First up - landscapes.     Start with a loose drawing :

No problem here.   Trying to keep the shapes interesting and uneven without sacrificing what the subject it.

Next the sky wash :

Yeah.    This was meant to be an even wash over the whole sky and I screwed this up royally.    I should have my watercolorist badge stripped from me for this.   But never mind.  Onwards.

Light washes over the foreground to indicate some foliage and a little detail around the road (or is it a river?).    Remembered to keep things pretty light and used my 1/2" bristle brush to keep the edges scruffy.    Pretty happy so far.

Distant hills in a slightly greyed purple.   Nothing fancy here and it'll be mostly covered by trees anyway.

Now the trees.   It's amazing how hard I have to try to keep the trees uneven.   It's almost as if the brush has a will of its own and physically resists me.    I'm also building up the foreground a little here - again with the 1/2" bristle brush.

We're actually almost there now.   Amazing how quickly things come together.   A little shadow detail on the houses followed by some dark doors and windows.    The foreground has yet another layer of detail.  This time some red for interest and some dark lines for fences/grass.   

The only remaining thing was to *very* delicately put in some white lines for branches in the trees.    So easy to ruin everything here with some clumsy marks so less is more.

I'm liking the foreground very much.    Feels good.

Cheeky Giraffe

animalsMichele ClampComment

Cheeky giraffe.   Michele Clamp watercolor.   11"x14"

Cheeky Giraffe
150.00

11”x14”/16”x20” matted

Add To Cart

I had a new batch of Fabriano Artistico paper delivered today which I've been waiting for as paper supplies have run low.    After unpacking the goodies, however, I was sitting around procrastinating and being indecisive about what to paint.    I couldn't face yet another Lake Bled fiasco (I have yet another one that I couldn't face posting) but then remembered it is the start of a new month and wetcanvas.com would have a new challenge.

And a rather fine challenge it was.   Enormous fun to paint this.    Lots of lovely purples in the shadows which you wouldn't expect at first sight.   Turns out giraffes have very strange faces but it came out extremely well.   Hooray for Fabriano Artistico and wetcanvas.com

Lake Bled, Autumn

landscapeMichele ClampComment
FullSizeRender.jpg
Lake Bled, Autumn
150.00

14”x11”/20”x16” matted.

Add To Cart

I haven’t posted for a while but I have been painting.   However,  everything I’ve tried up until today has been terrible. Not pleased with anything at all.    In fact last night,  after stopping painting at 8.30pm,  I was wondering whether I’d completely forgotten how to paint entirely.    Here is some evidence :

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

I’ve wanted to do another version of Lake Bled for a while.    This should have been a walk in the park but oh dear.   Not quite what I’d intended at all.   Very dreary and dull.    

Ok let’s regroup - go back to the sketchbook and see if a smaller format helps at all. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Hmm no it didn’t.    Although now I look back on this it’s not *too* bad.    How about another? 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

 

Nope.  Not this one either.  I thought a simpler scene would help but obviously not.   I quite like the sky though. 

Ok back to a larger format with the same scene. 

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Arrrrgh!   Look at all that green!   All that overworking!   What is wrong with me?   Sigh.   

 

So what to do.    I wondered whether the composition was hindering me.    A quick browse through Pixabay threw up a few much better pictures.     I also went back to the master Charles Reid,  watched a couple of his videos and took some notes.

Ok - so my plan was this : 

 -  More white paper.   You don’t have to cover everything.   You’re not painting a room

 -  Keep things lighter in value.   Except where it matters and then really have some juicy darks. 

 -  Vary the color.   Drop in pigment into wet paper.    

 -  Keep an eye on those negative shapes.    

 

And you know I think it worked.    A little different for me but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long while.    

 

FullSizeRender.jpg

Phew!   I live to fight another day. 

 

Marlborough City Hall

cityscapeMichele ClampComment

Every time I walk past the Marlborough City Hall building I think - I'd really like to paint that.   Today was the day and it was a bit of a struggle and not very satisfying.    I intentionally cropped quite tightly as cityscapes can get very busy.   This should simplify things and make for a better painting.   There's some good stuff here but, as so often,  not enough.    Will have to try again to do it justice.

Vermont Barn near Monkton

landscapeMichele ClampComment

Vermont Barn, near Monkton.   Watercolor by Michele Clamp.  11"x14".

150.00
Add To Cart

We recently spent a week in Vermont and so much of the landscape is paintable.   This was one of my favorite scenes which was very near where we were staying.   I especially liked the harsh light on the roofs which made them seem white in comparison to everything else.

I'm tempted to have another go at this.  This has something of the light I wanted but could maybe be pushed even further.

A quick value sketch before I started.   These are definitely getting easier to do (or maybe I'm getting better at picking good scenes).

Something new - Oil Paints!

birdsMichele ClampComment

It was my birthday this week and I treated myself to a set of oil paints.   I've been looking forward to this for a couple of months and after a trip to Post Road Art for some paints, medium and solvent it was off to the hardware store for cheaper things like gloves,  oil soap and  hand cleaner.     In total I spent around $150 which is more than I planned but I couldn't really strip it back any more.

For my first time out I thought it best to stick with something I know so of course it was an owl!  Very much a voyage into the unknown here and I just jumped straight in with a few bits of knowledge I've picked up from reading various blogs.

First a charcoal drawing and an underpainting in burnt sienna thinned with Gamsol solvent.

Looks ok so far.    Now in with some paint.

This is mostly burnt sienna, ultramarine and yellow ochre with a quick try out of the background with prussian blue.   Still fairly happy here.   It's very strange not dealing with water and I keep smudging things as I'm not used to the paint drying so slowly.     I do have to say it's nice to actually know what value you're putting down on the canvas rather some elaborate guesswork with watercolor.

Further on now - this was the second day.    Things seem to be coming together.  The dark feathers are going in well and the face is looking good.    

Almost at the end now.    The background has gone in simply - it's my first try so nothing fancy.  The eyes and face have had some more work.  I still need to soften up some edges here as he's a bit garish.   The body feathers and wings are probably not going to see much more work - I don't want to mess things up,   The rocks definitely need something doing to them but that can wait until tomorrow.

So all in all I'm pretty chuffed.  I can't say I like oils better than watercolor.  Watercolor does have a lot of charm that you just can't get with oil.   But I think this has some potential.   and it was a fun birthday present.