I’ve got eight days off, and by the time I go back to work it will be 2014. The monsoon moved in about a week ago, and it has been grey, damp, and rainy most of that time. To while away the dark and gloomy days, I’ve embarked on something new. Two weeks ago I was given a really special present by my favorite mermaid: a 12 half-pan tin of Schmincke Horadam watercolours. Such beautiful paints (or so I’ve heard…I’ve never actually used real watercolours, as people were always telling me that watercolour is the hardest medium, and I never worked up the courage to try them)!
My mission, now, is to learn how to use these paints. I’ve bound a little painting book of 100% cotton rag paper especially for this adventure, and I have one reference book (by Claudia Nice…it’s from Jacksons Drawing Supplies) to help with achieving the look of different textures and materials (good tips on creating the effects of glass, metal, rust, wood, stone, fur, feathers, heaps more…) using aquarelles and pen & ink. That’s all I wanted, really: someone to show me how to make a calm sea look smooth and glassy, or a bear look deeply furry, and not the other way around.
(I tease Kris about this in his acrylic paintings…everything, from human limbs to stone walls, looks like it is made out of plasticine. )
The planning ahead and keeping things light and translucent was a struggle for me but—headphones in and set up at the table outside, with plenty of natural light—I really lost myself in it.
I started with the blue bottle from Nice’s book (but my wonky drawing has produced a square-sided bottle with a round base) and then tried the techniques out using a real perfume bottle. Then I got ambitious and spread some acrylic plastic beads on the table, and tried to paint them.
There’s something so wonderfully simple about this medium…the idea that a small paint tin, a demitasse of water, a soft brush and a pocketbook of rag paper are all you need to go into the world and start painting what you see. It all fits into a small shoulder bag! It really is the ideal traveler’s medium, and I can’t wait to take it with me on all my big trips next year.
Before that happens, though, I really must work on my drawing skills…look at these wonky half-pans of paint! Talk about distorted view…