NEW WEBSITE

After a lot of work my new Watercolor Workshop website has been launched. ( www.johnlovettwatercolorworkshop.com )

There is all sorts of information to help you with your painting – Mixing Color, Drawing, Using Brushes, Presenting Your Work, Articles on all aspects of painting.

There are also a number of new Instant Video Projects available.

For just $9.95 you get unlimited access to a 10 minute HD video, complete step by step instructions and a detailed PDF Printout to guide you through the whole project. Check out the overview below

Have a look at the Instant Video Projects

WEEKEND STUDIO WORKSHOPS

Over the past two weekends I held a couple of 2 day workshops here in my studio. A lot of people, due to work commitments, find it hard to attend the 5 day workshops. We had an enthusiastic group both weekends and managed to do a lot of painting in between chatting, drinking coffee and eating cakes. The demonstration paintings below show a couple from each workshop.

Studio Workshop

junk

This was the first painting we did in one of the workshops. A simple subject, but lots of interesting colors and textures. We used a mixture of watercolor, gouache, ink, charcoal and inktense pencil.

pellestrina

Here I chose a more complicated subject, but broke it down into simple shapes, then went to town with the different colors and textures. The first washes were watercolor over charcoal lines, then gouache, ink and pastel were added. the intense blue of the boat hulls is Ultramarine Gouache.

pellestrina2

Another complicated subject treated in a simple way – playing around with washes while holding on to a clean, high contrast focal area.

window

This was the first demo in the second workshop. Again a simple subject with plenty of color and texture to play around with.

These workshops were a lot of fun and booked out very quickly, so we will run a couple more towards the end of the year. Mean time, there are still a few places left in the 5 day march workshops

VENICE WORKSHOP

Venice has to be one of  the most spectacular painting destinations in Italy. Standing on Rialto bridge and looking down the Grand Canal feels more like watching a bizarre movie than experiencing a thriving city.

We arrived in the afternoon and were rapidly transported to our hotel by water taxi.

Leaving Marco Polo Airport by water taxi is a chaotic experience. 110 Euro from the airport to the city means the drivers are pretty serious about getting the job done quickly.

Churning through the back alleys en route to Accademia Bridge

Painting on the grand canal.

Early morning along the canals

The last gondola workshop in Venice was just around the corner from our hotel … and right opposite a great little bar.

Everything is delivered by barges along the canals

A late afternoon storm blackened the sky behind Santa Maria della Salute making for some great photos.

Evening drinks along the waterfront

Interpreti Veneziana were performing at the San Vidal Church, 5 minutes from our hotel. Italian Baroque played with passion and enthusiasm – a fantastic night.

Burano Houses

Burano is famous for its lace making, but I think this guy is mending a fishing net.

AUGUST STUDIO WORKSHOP

We have just finished two full on weeks of workshops in the studio. Some familiar faces and some new faces. This is the first time we have had a completely new group for the second week, so I thought it would be interesting to repeat some of the demonstrations with some variation.

These two landscapes based on recent photos from Western Queensland were started with transparent washes (Quinacridone Gold, Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose) Then the trees and other details were added with more opaque mixtures of Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Quinacridone Gold. Graded washes were used on either side to create a band of light through the focal point, then various layers of gesso and White gouache glazes were worked through the sky and distance.

I have painted this Old house on Sydney Harbour from various angles and thought it would be a good workshop subject, having problems of symmetry and conflicting focal points to be sorted out.

I was surprised when we started drawing, to find that one of the students had lived in the flat behind the house back in the 70’s – when Brett Whitely lived and painted a little further around the bay.

These paintings were done with the same simple palette of Quinacridone Gold, Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue and Permanent Rose. I also used Charcoal pencil, White Gouache, Gesso and Burnt Sienna Ink. The vibrant blue window in the top painting was painted with Ultramarine Gouache.

Not far from Venice is the small fishing port of Chioggia. These weather beaten trawlers make an interesting subject with their confusion of masts and rigging and the complicated backdrop of ancient buildings. The idea here was to suggest all the complicated detail without trying to carefully render it. We started with under washes of Permanent Rose and Aureolin and gradually built up detail over the tinted paper.

A different subject using the same transparent under wash technique. This time graded washes of Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose formed the under wash.

Painting these Lorrikets was a lot of fun – balancing sharp detail with loose suggestion. The wings and much of the body were roughly washed in with an old 1/2″ bristle brush. Detail was built up around the head and body with a 1/4″ flat brush and a #1 rigger. Finally the wings were attacked with gesso and a white charcoal pencil to get a feeling of movement.

Everyone enjoyed painting these rocks and sapplings. The purpose was to shuffle around the source material to create an interesting composition, then to build up textures and depth with watercolor, gouache, ink, charcoal pencil and Gesso. We used a number of techniques – splashing, splattering and spraying to build up the textures and gesso glazes to soften and push back the distance.

Another exercise in rearranging  the subject. This time a soft abstract foreground to lead the eye into the focal point of trees and buildings.

So thanks to everyone that attended the workshops and thanks to Dianne for the mighty cakes – back to dry biscuits now!

THIS LITTLE PIG

Down the road from Chateau de la Fleunie, where we spent the last week of our workshop in France, were two pigs penned up and being fattened by the local farmer. They were like a pair of friendly dogs – running around and getting into as much trouble as possible in their small wire enclosure.

I’ve been looking forward to painting them since we arrived home. They look so pink and meaty – just like bacon running around. They have no idea of hygiene, make amazing grunting sounds and seem really happy locked up in a tiny wire pen. I’m sure they’d make better pets than breakfast.

Alizarin Crimson, Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Gold, Ultramarine Blue and, in the background, Phthalo Blue. Opaque washes of tinted White Gouache were used to loose the back end and some scratchy white charcoal pencil marks break up the surface.

NEW CHRISTMAS TOYS

Santa Claus was good to me and left a box of shiny new paint from Japan. These trays of  watercolor are handmade  by the Ueba company in Kyoto. They were established in 1751 and still operate out of the same premises, so they must be doing something right. The main ingredient of the paint is finely ground scallop shells. The process they use to create these paints can be seen on their website (click on Factory Tour)

To experiment with these new paints I painted this Barramundi.

Starting with a loose charcoal line drawing, I then washed in some shadows with a mixture of the rich purple color and the yellow ochre. The pigments are very intense and more transparent than I expected, considering the high ground shell content.

After the first washes dried, more detail was built up with Indigo and the pale Turquoise. Scale shapes were painted on and some fine detail marks were applied with a rigger brush. A patchy wash of the orange/red was worked through the upper half of the fish before some spots of the white pigment were applied. I expected the white to be similar to white gouache, but it is more transparent  and dries to a beautiful, pearl like sheen. When the white is used to tint other colors the resulting mixture also dries with this unusual sheen.

Finally, because the Barramundi is an elusive, almost mythical fish, I decided he shouldn’t be presented so blatantly. A big rough brush full of gesso and some scribbly white charcoal marks pushed him back into murky water. A green/grey wash around the head suggests the milky green of a tropical waterhole.

I love these new paints and look forward to playing with them some more. My only fear is that I’ll become hooked on them and then they will run out!

LAYERED LEAVES

During the last workshop we experimented with a technique that produces interesting results if it doesn’t drive you mad first. The idea is to start with a background wash, draw the shapes of stones, leaves and twigs onto it, then, with a slightly darker tone fill in all the negative spaces. More leaves, twigs etc are then drawn into the darker negative areas and the negative spaces around the new shapes is made slightly darker. This incremental darkening is done 3-4 times then the shapes are modeled, ink and pastel lines are added, colors splashed on and gesso washes are used to simplify areas.

The process is a lot of fun and often triggers interesting ideas. The example below was done as a demo on aluminium composite panel primed with watercolor gesso. The heavy vertical marks were masked up and painted over the top with more watercolor gesso then the tones were adjusted.

These next images give an idea of the build up using negative shapes.

Once you get the hang of it this can be great fun. The subject can be any reasonably defined object – tools, utensils, paint brushes, pencils – anything that can layer one over the other.