Sketchbook fun

Towards the end of last year I began a sketchbook to document  the garden and anything else that took my fancy.  I love the concept of journaling but have always been a bit hit and miss with my sketchbook work.

I bought a Strathmore watercolour journal and I was off.  My first sketch was done…

copy red helleb
My first journal sketch

 

And here are some sketches I’ve done recently, ending up with the Plum blossom sketch of which more in the next blog.

copy clem cirr
Winter Clematis
copy journal hellebs
Hellebores

 

copy winter jasmine sketch
Winter Jasmine

 

copy plum blossom sketch
Spring Plum Blossom

 

 

Iris step by step

I painted this iris ages ago and took photos of the stages.  Thought you might like to see the progress of the painting.  It’s quite small…about A4 size.

I love depicting these flowers with their delicious folds and frills!

The challenge was to bring out the iris against a dark background.  The white edges at the top were important in making the flower stand out and not be lost in the background.  I like putting in a background as I don’t want to produce a botanical study but to try and catch the spirit of the flower growing in its natural environment.  I like the stroked in leaves at the bottom giving a bit of depth and context.

blue-and-white-iris-st-1
My drawing from my own photo. I’ve masked out the sparkly white areas with masking fluid.
blue-and-white-iris-st-2
First wash.  I wet the whole paper and then dropped in colours to reflect the flower and a natural background. Yellows dropped into the centre of the flower wet in wet. (See colours used below)
blue-and-white-iris-st-3
Here I’ve started to lay in colours round the edge of the petals, wetting the whole petal first and then dropping in colour right on the edge and letting it spread.  some shadow work within the white areas
blue-and-white-iris-st-4
More background laid in.  Darker tones around the top and some dark greens stroked in wet in wet at the bottom to give the impression of more leaves. Then the masking was removed.
blue-and-white-iris-st-5
Hard edged shadows worked in round the edges of the top petals.  This brings out the white sparkles making it look sunlit.  I’ve painted negatively behind the main leaves with darker tones to bring them out against the background.

copy-blue-and-white-iris

The Final Painting

 

Colours used:

Cobalt blue, Ultramarine blue, cobalt violet, Winsor violet, quinacridone gold, aureolin, permanent rose, Indian yellow

Winsor blue, quinacridone gold, aureolin to make the GREENS

Cobalt blue,cobalt violet, touch of permanent rose for the FLOWER SHADOWS

Indian yellow for the CENTRE

Drawings,tracings and tranferring

I’m still working on the new book.  It’s going to be a practical manual of techniques for painting flowers in watercolour.  There will be tracings!

The other day I was asked to produce some tracings.  I had learned about a simple method of transferring sketches early on in my study of watercolour.  It helped me greatly in my teaching, as I was able to produce a finished drawing from a rough sketch and then reproduce and share this drawing with students using the computer and photoshop.

90a2f-copymontanadrawing

I also used it in my own painting.  It’s great when you get those first ideas that you have when you produce your initial sketch.  But how do you then transfer them on to the piece of watercolour paper as a finished, tidy drawing?  I’ve developed a way of doing this.

Above is an example of the first stage of producing a sketch from some inspirational material.  I’ve sketched a design from my  photos with the help of some real leaves from the garden for reference.  I then tidy it up and produce a pen drawing.  Here’s an example.

d1f3e-copyrclematisandwalldrawing

Then this is how I transfer it.  I make my own carbon paper.  Using a graphite stick I put some dense scribble on to some good quality tracing paper.  Then I “set” this by scumbling over some methylated spirit on a piece of cotton wool and let it dry which only takes a minute or two.  This makes the carbon less likely to shed the graphite and dirty your work.

img_1801

img_1802

I can then place this carbon underneath my sketch/finished drawing and copy it on to my watercolour paper.  I use a biro to do this as it gives a clearer copy.

This is also how I produced the tracings for the book.

Here’s the finished painting of the sketch at the top of this post.  Clematis Montana on a trellis.

montana-on-a-trellis

New Year…new start.

It has been a very long time since I wrote on this blog.  But new year and new start…here we go.

First of all Happy New Year everyone!  May good health and happiness follow you all year!

We did an update to the website over the Christmas holidays and now there is much more to see and to entertain you !  By scrolling down on the right hand side column, you can see what I’m putting on my facebook page, have a look at my youtube videos, see any news and read about my books with their links to Amazon and more.

In the garden as we speak there are things happening…bulbs poking up out of the chilly earth and we will soon have snowdrops nodding in the Winter breeze.

 

18242-copyrbacklitsnowdrops
Backlit garden Snowdrops

I cannot wait for the garden to wake up!

 

New Website…New Blog!

Welcome to my new website/blog.  From now on everything is in one place.  Go to Ann Mortimer Art and you will go to this blog and website combined…so much tidier.  And I’m told that this new format reads much better on ipads, phones etc.

The menu is top right with all the usual information but you will initially land on this blog page to get the latest news.

I do have some news.  I’m going to be working with Search press on another book!  More details soon, but for now I am delighted to have a new project to think about.

It’s raining as I write…not what we wish for in June, but the warm weather of a week ago was perfect for my new irises from Cayeux Irises

http://www.iris-cayeux.com/

They have been so looked forward to and are so beautiful!  This one is called Melted Butter.

melted butter

I feel a painting coming on!

I hope you will visit often now that I can write about what’s going on more immediately.

See you soon!

 

 

 

Painting again…

So much to tell you!
I have been posting on facebook a lot.  I sometimes wonder how many of you lovely followers also look at facebook and my page.

https://www.facebook.com/Ann-Mortimer-Art-267868499166/timeline

Whether it’s the Spring, the lighter days, I don’t know but I feel like painting again.  I expect many people who paint feel the same way.  I have been creating new work and enjoying the process.

White Hellebores
Hellebores always seem to start the painting year off, if it hasn’t already been snowdrops!  I bought some new hellebore plants for our new garden and this is one of them with the sun on it.
With fresh enthusiasm I went through my drawings and preparatory sketches that I had abandoned and was able to create this Sweet Peas painting from a photo taken a few years ago.  What inspired me was the backlighting…that seems always to do it for me!
Impression Sweet Peas
I enjoyed painting the indistinct shape of these complicated flowers…trying to render them as a mass of shapes and colours and tones.  Also liked doing the glass vase.  Watercolour is so good for painting glass.  After all it’s see through, like water!
Also enjoyed putting all the new videos on my YouTube channel.  
Have you seen this?  It’s a new project that we have uploaded on to YouTube.  It’s in five separate parts and you can watch a preview of each one…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDN32J_dhh8

This is the painting I demonstrate, start to finish.

Sunny Dog Roses
I hope you’ll take a look!
More news soon.  Enjoy the lighter days and let’s hope for some warmer days soon!

Learning with me on YouTube

Change is afoot at Ann Mortimer Art HQ, so I thought I’d post a quick update here on the blog.

As many of your know, my DVD ‘Watercolour Techniques by Ann Mortimer’ has been available over on the website since 2014, and there are also lots of tutorial videos on my YouTube channel, including the Clematis demo I filmed a few weeks back, which you can view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQkJGUikdZ4

Recently, YouTube added the possibility of offering rental and purchase options for videos. This came just at the right time for me, as I have nearly run out of DVDs to sell!

So, as from today, two of the three* videos on the DVD will be available to either purchase or rent directly from YouTube, and the physical DVD will not longer be for sale (there are still a few left if you’re quick). If you rent a video on YouTube you will be given access for 72 hours. Purchasing a video makes this access permanent: You will always be able to watch the video on YouTube, but you don’t actually download it. And don’t worry about moving your computer to your painting desk – you can view the videos on tablets and smartphones too, and they look great. Best of all: you have instant access! There’s no waiting around for your DVD to arrive, you can start watching and painting right away! (*We are still working on making “Negative Painting” available.)

Finally, one more thing: As well as releasing the DVD videos on YouTube, I have also filmed a completely new demonstration which will available exclusively to rent or buy on YouTube. The subject is Sunny Dog Roses and you will be able to view extracts of the videos for free.

So lots of news! I am very excited about expanding the YouTube channel to offer instant purchase and rental videos, and I really hope lots of you will enjoy them and channel the inspiration into your own watercolour painting.