Vase of Roses

Roses in vase. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

This will be next weeks class/demo. A lot looser than usual for a class and closer to how I would usually work. Fingers crossed!

A couple of intermediates.

Paul Foxton Workshop – Apple Value Studies


I’m really starting to enjoy these simple value studies. Although in practice they are quite complicated to do. They don’t turn out to be great watercolors. Paul works in oils so his methodology is somewhat different to what I’m used to. This does shake things up a bit and I have to solve things somewhat differently to my usual working methods. The first couple I did I was a bit dismayed that they came out a little overworked and splotchy and I was working in many more layers that I usually would. As time has gone on I like the effect of all that effort more and more. If the values are right the overall effect outweighs any surface blemishes and the subject matter shines through.

Still life Color Matching Study

Fruit Still Life with Jug. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Although everything came out ok in the end I made the classic mistake of being overconfident going into this. As it is a study I was concentrating hard on getting the colors and values as close as I could (apart from some of the grey shadows which were too drab) and I almost lost my way. Lesson learned – never let down your guard or watercolor will bite you.

Here is the original photo.


And finally I made a video of the painting process for those interested.

Garlic and Lemon Value Study

Garlic and lemon value study.

This month in
Paul Foxton’s Threads workshop

it was a value study. I didn’treally think this through and started on my normal 11”x14” paper. Far too big!!!! So much paint on that background and to be honest I just gave up at this point and called it done. Was interesting though – it really gets you looking at values and you soon sharpen up and can see really small changes. Maybe gouache next time?

Oil Ventures


I’m off to a rose painting workshop next weekend with
Kathleen Speranza

. This will be in oils and I’ve done precisely one oil painting in my life previously. So obviously I need to at least come prepared with some idea of what to do.

Armed with my new grey-backed glass palette I ventured in with the palette knife and first tried mixing up some neutral value strings. Harder than it looks and boy does this paint need a lot of mixing. Next up was trying out my trusty fruit arrangement and trying to hit all the colors of the fruits on the light and shadow side. This was a little easier than in watercolor as I can see the final color on the palette in oil.


I tried a quick white cube with the neutral values but then thought ‘to hell with it’ and went in with the full fruit picture. Having spent the time mixing the colors beforehand things went a lot better than I had predicted. It really helped already knowing how the colors mix from the watercolor painting and I was fairly happy at this stage.


After leaving things overnight I went back in with the darkest darks and did a bit of edge smoothing (still need to get to grips with this properly). I was pretty chuffed with the final image. Flowers, of course, are a whole different kettle of fish.


Fruit Demo 2

Fruit Still Life. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

As it was still early and I had a fistful of reference photos I thought I’d have another go at a fruit still life. I haven’t done one of these in a long time and I was interested to see if I could still remember how to do things.

First the photo. A little more complicated than the previous one and I’ve always dreaded doing grapes.


still-life-1518989.jpg

Drawing and first washes in. Not particularly confident at this point and I’d been a little tentative with the first washes so everything’s looking a bit washed out.


Next stage and things are looking a little better. Still not really very confident but at least the grapes aren’t giving me as much trouble as I’d thought.


Final version. To be honest I quit while I was ahead here. I could have gone back in and darkened up some of the grapes but felt the risk of ruining it was too great. Pretty happy with this to be honest.


And of course an easel shot.