Leaves and Pears

Just 4 experiments from last weeks course. They are about colour, about handling wet paint and about light. None are entirely successful but were very useful exercises. The pears were our first exercise and pears are very much Sue’s fruit. She has painted them everywhich way to demonstrate many different colour combinations textures and approaches. My images are on different papers and I just wish I could have got two good pears on one piece. To the russet coloured leaves I added some pastel as I had really overworked the watercolour but I quite liked the colours working together.
This coming week I am going to devote myself to colour experiments and I guess I will have to continue a bit with the coloured pencil…

Leaf of the day: Endive and Less Endive..eat your model.

Endive is such a pleasing smooth sleek shape. It is amazingly from the daisy family. However, this Belgian endive is forced in a complicated way and is a shoot from the root and a long way from its relative, the pretty wild chicory which does have a blue daisy-like flower. Excellent with soft cheese, thyme and olives and nuts.

These little paintings, I think the first watercolours on this blog, were done after a couple of days with Sue Archer. I have always found dark coloured backgrounds in watercolour very tricky and although these are small paintings, 8 x 4″ and 6 x 2.5″, they represents a modest breakthrough for me.

In the room at La Quinta hotel in Sarasota you have a fridge and a microwave so in the evening I would go back and assemble some food and also try to digest some of what Sue had told us. The endive, with additions was Tuesday and Wednesday’s dinner.. ..eating your models is to be recommended as it avoids critical comparisons.

Belgian Endive

Learning from the Experts:Two Watercolour Tutors

You can read all the books and spend years at college but sometimes a few days with the right person and a door will be unlocked …hopefully. There have been just two tutors who have really helped my watercolour practice.

Sue Archer
I have nothing but good things to say about Sue Archer’s course this week in Sarasota. She is such a good tutor. My head is now completely full of ideas and information. Her course is so well structured and no matter how good an artist you are, you would learn something, revise something, look at your own work in a different way and, as in my case, return to the much needed discipline of planning a piece of work.
Her large scale, deceptively simple images are full of luminous colour, elegant design and careful composition and on the course she explains every aspect of how this is achieved. ..trying to do it is another matter.
Visit her website http://www.archerville.com/ which she shares with her photographer husband and see this beautiful painting amongst many others.

Life is Just A…
29 x 41″

Sue Rubira
I had seen Sue Archer’s work on the internet and so had some idea of what her work was like but my first door opener was a completely lucky chance.
Sue was the tutor on a last minute decision holiday to Portugal some years ago now. With this Sue I discovered how to work with ‘wet’ transparent watercolour, having been very much a controlled dry brush painter. After a day of making mud, I gradually understood how to leave white paper for whites and how, ideally, to keep colours clean!..I still have my first tentative watercolours from that holiday.
Her work is very different from Sue Archer’s, her portraits are breathtaking in their handling, viewpoint and scale. She was the second prize winner in the prestigious Singer Friedlander watercolour competition in 2006 with this large 72cm wide x 91cm painting of her brother Geoff. This is from the Sunday Times September 3, 2006:
“I need to paint people who interest me in some way, otherwise it’s difficult to begin to understand them. This one’s of my brother, Geoff. I obviously know him very well and to that helps with the painting no end.” “I prefer to paint on a large scale, larger than life, and I like using very large brushes.” Find her work and step by step for some paintings here http://www.suerubira.co.uk/

Geoff 2006
21 x 30″

I continue with my leaves….