Friday, 24 June 2011

Smudge, the reluctant model.

Pen, watercolour HP paper

Pen, cartridge paper

2B/4B pencil, cartridge paper

watercolour, gouache, cartridge paper

I've finally managed to form a working relationship with Smudge the Cat. He no longer moves away whenever I get close with the sketching kit. So here are more studies - not paintings yet - though I hope to develop some into oil or gouache works.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Never work with Animals?

Smudge the kitten, 2010
Watercolour, sketchbook

Smudge the cat, 2011
2B pencil

I'd brought paints to Wales in the hope of working. But its rained - practically the whole time. So I've been trying to sketch the house cat here. But he's not co-operating and languidly changes position each time I try to capture his image. How did Gwen John ever do her wonderful cat studies? Here are my attempts so far.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Maybe next time!

The unfinished watercolour

View of Ailsa Craig at Culzean

watercolour/pencil sketch

My attempt at practising a gouache painting turned out to be a bit of a non-event. I've gone painting before without water, without thinners, without coffee but never before without paints - well, the gouache paint anyway. 
So it became a watercolour practice instead. I've absolutely no confidence in using watercolour apart from in a sketchbook. I'm still too impatient to wait the time for washes to dry and past attempts have ended in dull, overworked disasters.
However this watercolour, though unfinished, is my best attempt to date. Maybe using gouache that watery way is a good place to start. 

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Why use gouache?


I recently bought a painting by Archie Sutter-Watt. I've loved his work for such a long time and its a great privilege to have it hanging on the wall, to be able to look at it whenever I want, to see his brushwork and his added pencil lines to show form.

                                                     You can view more of his works at

I've long had the notion to paint with gouache for several reasons. Its easier to take it outside to use than oils - less messy to clean up - no thinners etc just water - no awkward canvas or painting boards to carry
 about - and cheaper framing !!
I also like the effect that you can produce with gouache and that it can be painted over to rectify mistakes - or so I thought.

But its not that simple. The problem I'm finding is that when you put paint on top of paint it seems to rewet the underlying layer and the whole thing gets muddy and dull as the colours then mix together. 
So its a time to practice and read "How tos" especially blogs such as Martin's, a fellow Sketcherciser.

But no matter what I read or am told the only way to learn is to get out the paper and paints and do it! So put the gouache kit into the car, and as the sun is shining, off to Culzean Castle grounds to follow my own advice and "keep practising" 

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