More Sketches – Boats, Castles, Boston


There’s something quite liberating about these small sketches. They’re quick to do and because of the small size brushwork and edges don’t need to be sweated over. And if one doesn’t work out – just do another one and it’s forgotten.

Corfe Castle sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 5×8”

Boston Common sketch. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 5”x8”

Only 3 sketches today. The people in this one were the trickiest bit. A lot of watercolor artists tend towards what I call ‘stock’ figures’ in their paintings. I feel that spoils things so I wanted to get more of a sense of real people walking towards me. I think it succeeded.

Sketchbook Time

Still trying to get out of my painting funk. New strategy is to get away from the pressure of producing SERIOUS PAINTINGS and do a series of small things in sketchbooks. These are all in a 5”x8” moleskine which isn’t the most forgiving of papers but suits quick paintings. These were quickly done and much more fun.

Also while tidying I found this sketch which I wasn’t pleased with at the time but has quite a lot of charm now I have some distance from it.


The Moleskine Journey – A step forward and some shameless pandering.


I’ve been wanting to do a lobster for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.    We don’t often get the chance to use a lot of red so I made the most of this one.

This was an absolute joy to paint.   All Moleskine lessons learned were applied.   Plenty of water and plenty of paint.  Let the stuff puddle on the surface, keep painting quickly and don’t expect much blending.  In fact this one was more like drawing with paint than anything else.

So the shameless pandering?   Well this was painted to be part of World Watercolor Month on facebook.    I’ve noticed that the paintings that get the most attention are :

  – brightly colored

 –  have a lot of contrast

 –  are not too detailed (phone screens are small).

 –  have an immediate impact (no fussiness).

Think I’ve covered all bases there.

The Moleskine Journey – lightbulb moment


Something clicked here (even though there are proportion problems with the drawing).  This is almost entirely done with quinacridone gold and a mixture of ultramarine and burnt sienna for the darks.

The secret –  plenty of water and plenty of paint.   Let the stuff puddle on the surface of the paper and it will move around (or let you move it around) for a fair while.  

For the first time this felt closer to painting than fighting.

The Moleskine Journey – Vegetables


I started off painting the
scissorwing

in my A4 (roughly 8×11″) Moleskine watercolor sketchbook.    This turned out well and so I came back to it for my next assignment – vegetables.

I’ve often complained about the paper in the Moleskine sketchbooks because, although the paper is thicker than standard, it isn’t really watercolor paper at all.     Proper watercolor paper has some absorbency to it and once the paint is down it will carry on blending with whatever is around it.  This is a large part of the charm and challenge of watercolor – the damn stuff has a mind of its own.   This paper though – you put the paint down it basically stays there unless you go in immediately and coax it around.   And you have to do this quick as the paint dried almost instantaneously.

So it’s frustrating.   But I’ve decided to go with the flow and work with it rather than against it.    And this sketch came out quite well considering I was trying many different things in various parts.   The garlic and the onions were the most satisfactory – simple glazes of color with a few darks drawn in with paint at the end.   The left hand tomato is as close as I get to overworked but I was pretty happy with it.  The stalks in the top right were great fun.   Put in very quickly and almost drawing with the paint here.