Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Pebeo Masking Fluid

A little while back I criticised Pebeo as the fluid got on my trousers you can't get it off. My fault actually and Pebeo is well liked and used by several of my painting friends. Be wary though it's dreadful stuff to remove as are other makes of masking fluid,  but then acrylic paint is nearly as bad and some of the more recent synthetic watercolours are heavily staining and also hard to remove.




Above are the Pebeo tubes, still in their packets. The concept is similar to Molotow except the Pebeo sizes are 04 and 07. I haven't tried them yet but those who have amongst my painting group who have tried the Molotow system are not impressed. The complaint is that the fluid is hard to remove and damages the paper, especially if the paper is on the soft side. I have not had such an adverse effect so far but I can see why there is a problem if you leave the fluid on too long before trying to remove it.  Also in the photo above is the 'Maskaway', according to the blurb a sort of hard rubber that makes it easier to remove masking fluid. Again not tried it yet. I got the above from the SAA (Society of All Artists) where we as an art group have an associate membership. The SAA claims to be a Society but is more like a large scale web selling operation with a comprehensive website and catalogues.

My friend John Softly prefers the Daniel Smith system of interchangeable plastic tubes, that vary in size. I've tried them and also the Masquepen system but found problems with all. Some of my friends prefer the Masquepen system.My problem is the cleaning of the fluid from the tubes. Maybe it's just me. I think I'll go back to using Pebeo with a ruling pen.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Verification of comments.

I know Google, and others, are getting very security conscious but really this is now ridiculous. When I wish to reply to a comment you get a block of images and are asked to click on the ones that contain certain objects. I've just tried to clear this hurdle and after the 7th or 8th page gave up as it just kept saying 'click on these images' and giving me a new one. This started recently and I've got through up to now, though usually not at the first attempt. I hope somebody is reading this because it may be one reason why I get so few comments these days if the posters have to go through this rigmarole. Frustrated ? You bet.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Ishi The Last of His Kind

Ishi was a Yahi indian, one of the Californian tribes of which there were many,  generally small. The history of these people and the whites, who swarmed into California mainly after gold, is one of the blackest episodes of the history of this period. You can read about it in 'The Destruction of California Indians' by Robert F Heizer (Bison Edition1993 University of Nebraska Press). The book describes itself as a collection of documents detailing what happened.  These indians were not warlike as were  the Sioux, Apache and others, and were  derided as 'digger indians' living on what they could find, including small animals. They weren't horse indians and lived at subsistence level. They did resist the incursions of the miners but were not able to provide real resistance.



This is Ishi, obviously by his dress, when he had been 'rescued' by civilisation. But you can see the sort of primitive living accommodation the Yahis had. In 1865 the Yahi were surprised when asleep and massacred, men, women and children, by a group of white men. The few that survived fled only to be hunted and further decimated. Yahi and his small family went into hiding for 44 years and it was only after he was alone three years later,  his three relatives having died, after a group of surveyors discovered them in 1908, that he emerged from the wilds, obviously in a  pretty desperate state. Professors at the University of California, Berkeley heard about him and took him under their wing using him as a research assistant, into the history of the California Indians, most of whom were then extinct. I suppose you could say he was considered a kind of lab rat but they looked after him until his death on August 29 1911. He was another victim of the white mens diseases that decimated many Indian tribes.

His title as 'The Last Indian' has been questioned by further research linking the Yahi to related Californian tribes but that's another story. My interest in him was founded on my general interest in the history of white settlement and conflict between the settlers and  the Army, principally in the 19th century but also earlier. There are quite a lot of black and white photos to be found and the following painting is based on one.



Ishi - 16" x 12" Waterford 140lb (300gsm) not.


An interesting if tragic story. 



Friday, 9 February 2018

Watercolour Paint Dot Cards

A fairly recent trend has been the introduction of dot cards.  These are small blobs of paint on sheets of stiff card to enable the artist to see the exact shade of the particular paint. Previously the choices were either printed sheets of the paint ranges or hand-painted colour charts. I have a large collection of all three types. The problems with the printed charts are the approximate representation of the actual colour, while the hand painted charts can be so pristine, and the colours so smooth and consistent, that you wonder how they achieved them. Maybe it's just me.











The sheets above are the full Daniel Smith range, at least it was when I bought them but there have been some additions since then. Rather than try and paint them out on separate sheets of watercolour paper I think it best to do what I've done as some of the dots are very small.  I noticed an example of the Schminke dots where the colours had been painted vertically rather than round as here.  Anyway it's up to you how you approach this. This full range dot cards is quite expensive and they do smaller charts of dots, some of which are free or lower priced. I noticed on a recent visit to my local art shop that they had a 'free' Daniel Smith dot card with the well-known British artist Shirley Trevenas 'palette'. Anything to separate you from your hard-earned cash. The unpainted dots above are the 'iridescent' range and some of the 'specials' they do.









The above are the latest Schmincke dot cards which cost just over £14 from Jacksons. There also are some other sheets with smaller number,  the lowest number being free and slightly more comprehensive  ones - but not the full range - at a lower price.

They were introduced with the recent revamp increasing the number of paints to 140. Schmincke also do a splendid brochure of their watercolours with printed colours, but a most detailed description of each colour, including pigment numbers, characteristics and other information. I have a hard copy of the original range, but this time it appears is only available on the website and I haven't yet found a way to download it. All I can say is that the dots plus study of the brochure will give you the most comprehensive details you could ever want. Better than anyone else I would say. Schmincke are now highly competitive (in my opinion) and well worth considering. The only snag is they have 4 price series, not as many as some nor the lowest number, and there are not that many is Series 1, which is the cheapest. I've pointed out previously that the makers are not consistent and if not careful you can pay more than necessary due to how they price  their paints (pigments). Some that are in Series 1  in one make may be Series 2 - and consequently dearer - in others.

I read somewhere recently about QoR having dot cards but have no other information. I wouldn't even consider QoR though due to the eye watering prices.  I have an aversion to well-known artists recommending particularly expensive paints - applying to Daniel Smith and others - when they are receiving them free or at very large discounts to promote them. I'm not suggesting the paints aren't good because they are, but for amateur hobbyists, who are the large majority, there are perfectly adequate alternatives at lower prices. The late Ron Ranson told me privately that he considered a lot of the so-called recommendations of what to buy were a rip-off.  He used mostly Cotman paints in a limited number, Bockingford paper and a few synthetic brushes.

I seem to recall Winsor & Newton did a small number of three paint dot cards a while back but they have not moved on from this - at least not so far. One improvement on the dot cards would be pigment numbers but they are absent.




Thursday, 1 February 2018

Watercolour Paintings (39)

Here are Februarys batch - a bumper lot with a mixture of styles, old and new (to me) artists and much to ponder and study.


Frank Ebers



Angele Villat




Xi Guo



Ryan Fox






Souvik Sil



Ray Maclachlan
This is a sketch by Ray, a friend and an amateur like me, who goes out at the crack of dawn to paint plein air in Australia! I thought I'd give him a thrill!



Tim Oliver




Igor Sava




Janet Rogers

Lovely portrait painter in a loose style. A female Charles
 Reid?


Kourosh Asiani (?)




Catherine Rey

I love her work.




Gerard Hendriks



Charles Reid

A typical Charles Reid study almost certainly painted as a workshop demo.




Jonathan Kwegyir Aggrey

This young African artist is now a big name on the international circuit. He used to call me (in my and his early days ) Sir Peter!



Janine Gallizia

The surreal nature of her painting always appeals to me.



Jung Hum-Sung

Amazing portraits even though I admire super-realism I 'v never wanted to paint like that.


Sarah Yeoman




Robert Zangarelli

This is great - my kind of painting.



Gerard Hendriks



Graham Flatt
I'd never heard of this artist but love this one.


Cesc Farre



Jun Hun-Sung




Gerard Hendriks

Wow! Look at the colours.



Charles Reid

An excellent example of Charles figure work.


Amongst these artists are several I haven't previously featured or indeed know anything about. If you 'google' them or search on Facebook at least some will be found for further study. I also feature some of my favourites.





Tuesday, 23 January 2018

More Paintings (Mine).

I stress these are mine as I have a bumper lot coming for the next 'Watercolour Paintings' piece from an array of fantastic artists many new to me.





A Study in Gold. 11" x 15,"Khadi hand-made paper approx. 200gsm

I was trying something slightly different and not doing a complete head. I have been looking at the portrait by Charles Reid in Judi Whittons book 'Loosen Up Your Watercolours' (Collins 2005 Page 72). This particular portrait was a demo painted by Charles Reid  at a 1999 workshop at Stow on The Wold, England. Judi bought it when the demos were sold off at the end of the course. It's just amazing. Other partial  portraits by various amazing artists I've picked up on Facebook or Pinterest and studied those also.



Charles Reid Portrait from a live model. Stow on the Wold 1999.

This may well not appeal to the realistic school of portrait painters. You will see some amazing examples of realism in the next batch of watercolour paintings. I love it though and don't let anyone tell you it's easier doing looser  portraits because I can assure you it isn't!



The Sunglasses Have it! 16" x 12" Waterford 

This was painted a few days prior to the one above. I loved the colours and was especially taken by the sunglasses and colourful reflections. It was difficult and I'm not entirely happy with it, especially the hair. Perhaps another example of sticking too closely to the original (or rather trying to). I mainly paint from photographs through necessity, and the biggest problem is you are invariably pulled towards copying them. I resist that much better these days but Charles Reid doesn't do this and concentrates on his impression of the subject. Sometimes the resemblance is good but not always 100%, but the final result is what matters not how accurate it is. If he can capture the essence of the subject that's good enough.The finished paintings are always interesting. 

Despite having been painting in watercolour for approximately 19 years I'm still not at a level where I  am happy with my paintings. At 80 it's probably too late to make much further progress but I'll keep trying. That's the result of not starting to paint until I was 61 so get started as soon as you can and for the first two years concentrate on drawing.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Recent Paintings

Here are my latest efforts, mostly painted at Avon Valley Artists except where stated.




Final version of Red Squirrel. I let the colour run and mix.



Three Squirrels. Not sure what species as they don't look like the native red nor like the  grey intruders that infest our woodlands. I'm not happy with the bottom animal.






This was an AVA subject 'Fruit'. Initial drawing above.




A Tonto Apache , either a captive or possibly a scout. Not keen on the face colours. Got it wrong I think.




An Indian Chief. I have become fascinated by facial drawings that use masses of thin squiggly lines. This is my take on them using Staedler Fineliners , 01, 05 and 08. Drawn first - or should I say 'squiggled' first. Then small washes of Ultramarine Blue applied.



This is the second one I did using several odd fineliners. Again Ulramarine Blue applied with more strength. I enjoyed doing both these.




Latest AVA subject 'Glass'.

As I've said many times before these are just my paintings which I don't present as 'good'. Just my recent efforts. Most are 16" x 12" Waterford either standard or High White. The reason is the bottom ones are painted on the back of previous discarded paintings. I've a huge pile of these and with the price of paper escalating.........