Sunday, September 25, 2011

Working on portraits

I am practicing figures and portraits.  I am attending a weekly art class, the final aim being to be able to paint water colour figures and portraits. My teacher feels I should first work with pencil before using paints. I enjoyed using pencil and the control it gave me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

practice using reference pictures

Ona has been encouraging me to practice using reference pictures, before I go onto the next exercise of understanding light source!
I chose this picture of the Takshang Goemba or the Tiger Nest Monastery in Bhutan which was built in the
15th Century. It is such a dramatic view! The view for me reiterates the strength of the human spirit, that very spirit that makes the impossible, possible!!! I kept thinking how resilient and devoted the monks, who built it, must have been to build something so amazing. The space has been carved out of the sheer cliff primarily made up of rock!

In my picture I wanted to capture the  drama of the scene, the immense rocky face of the mountains, the wonderful colours, and the monastery nestling in it, totally protected from the elements! I thought about this for a bit and decided I would leave out the trees and focus on the rocks and the monastery. I decided to do a small picture 10"X7". I did my first sketch concentrating on detailing the monastery and just marking the most prominent lines in the rocks.

I next chose my palette which had ultramarine blue, burnt umber, raw sienna, paynes grey, sap green,  hookers green, lime yellow and red. I started by finishing the mountains, working quickly and in washes! Something Ona has encouraged and ensures my picture remains transparent. Some negative painting also helped. I wanted to give an impression of the green shrubs midst the rocks and not have too many details.
Finally I finished the picture giving detail to the monastery. I have deliberately left a white edging to the picture, as I feel it adds  to the general effect and drama!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

TMC Bananas!

Finally time for a TMC! The bananas on the table this morning made a lovely picture. I loved the yellows! The more I paint the more I'm aware and am able to see the subtleties of colours in things.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The learning continues!!!

I had sent Ona some photographs and we chose the one of the church in Portugal as the first one to start working with. This is the reference picture;

I painted the first one as I saw it on the reference and it was a total mess! I thought I would brighten the colour of the red and make the picture darker, more twiligkt hour sort of thing but the result was awful. I also made the mistake of using paper which was obviously not meant for watercolours. I mixed too many pigments on the palette which resulted in big spaces of muddy colours!!!! Since I am recording my learning process, I need to post the here is is
The next version of the picture was a little better as I spent a little time thinking about it and also remembering what Ona had wanted, to use the picture as a reference only and not try and paint everything literally.I changed the paper and also did a larger picture. I have realised that I really don't like painting small pictures! The second picture is better than the first....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2nd Course!

I have signed up for Fiona Kingdon's second individual online tutoring course  and am loving ever bit of it! . The objectives of this course built on what I had learnt in the first one and were (i.) to consolidate techniques to help define a COI in a painting learnt during the first set of three paintings, (ii) to learn how to develop or change a light source in a painting and experiment with creating colourful shadows, (iii) to develop a greater understanding of how colour can enhance mood/ atmosphere and experiment with using complimentary and analogous colours.
I first carried out a series of exercises to get a clearer idea of how colours work, what their properties are, how they interact with each other, what are complementary and analogue colours, how they work in a picture and so on. The exercises were very useful and I was able to understand complmentary and analogueu colours by creating my own colour wheel with the colours from my collection
I made greys
I made a chart of my own colours and listed them under cool and warm colours

The exercises to determine use of colour for the COI :

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sketches from Bhutan

Naeeda gave me a sketchbook which I decided to christen on our recent weekend trip to Bhutan. What a wonderful country! The magic starts on the flight itself,  as we start approaching Bhutan nestled among clouds and mist in the heart of the Himalayas!  The views were dramatic and both Thimpu and Paro had their own unique charm. I did a few pictures pleine aire, sitting on my hotel balcony, and have taken many pictures to use as reference for future sketches and paintings.
This was a view of Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan sketched from my hotel. It was mid afternoon and the sun was bright glistening on the river which flows through the town. Nafisa says the colour of the water is like liquid jade!

Straight ahead of us was this monument which was built in memory of the 4th king of Bhutan when he died. It was surrounded by trees and I have tried to capture the contrasts of the greens, white and the golden dome!

This next sketch is of a huge statue of the Buddha built of brass on a spur overlooking Thimpu. It is so huge that one can see it for miles around! It was very early morning and the brass glinted in the early morning sun. There was a rising mist and the clouds were a pale pink....I rushed in to get my paints to capture the moment!

Friday, September 2, 2011


Another figure...this picture creates its own story... a young woman taking a breather in between her daily this case possibly filling water from the well! I loved the colours, and enjoyed doing my version in watercolour!