Wednesday, 2 February 2011

My first watercolour in years

Years and years ago, I was a bit of a dab hand at watercolours. I took some lessons and really liked the effects that you could achieve with the paints. I didn't really go for your typical pale washed out landscape scenes though. I was more into painting castle ruins and old graveyards (yes, I was one of *those* teenagers.... and now I'm one of *those* adults). I particularly liked painting entire scenes in different shades of the same colour, just using water to intensify or lighten the hue.

But then I went to university and lost interest in painting and drawing, which was a shame. Since I've started sketching again, I've been itching to pick up the watercolours again. Unfortunately, I got duped into buying a cheapo set a few months ago and when I finally got around to using them I found that the quality of the paint was terrible. One colour had actually separated from the water in the tube and just made a horrible mess when I tried to use it. So that put me off for a while.

Then I went to Bristol Fine Art at the top of Park Street and bought a fantastic little set by Windsor & Newton. It was expensive, but it really does make a difference, in my opinion. The colours look really good and the paint goes much further than the cheaper brands.

Anyway, I'm slowly starting to try to build up my competence at using these paints again. I'm nowhere near at the level I was all those years ago, but I'm enjoying messing around with the paints and relearning those little accidental techniques where, at first, you think you've completely messed up the painting but then as it dries you realise that it actually looks pretty cool... That's one of the things I love about watercolours - they more often than not look way better than you were expecting them to, once they've dried :)

A couple of weeks ago, The Bristol Sketch Initiative took part in our second Sketchcrawl, which took us up to Brandon Hill on a freezing January morning. I did a quick sketch of some steps which I didn't like at all at the time. But when I got home afterwards I threw some paint at it, and I think it turned out fairly ok.

Yeah, it's not going to win any prizes, but I like it :)

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