Watercolor Journal


                I did this one to use as for an introduction slide in the videos. I had been wanting to do this type of illustration work from some time. The kind reminiscent of the greeting cards of yesteryears and which were usually associated with watercolors. These kind of paintings, are called high-key paintings, and they are done completely in low or mid values with no dark tones at all. They bring back some sweet memories for me, they are so charming, with pale colors and wishy washy effects which leave much room for the imagination to soar. Though in this painting of mine, I couldn`t help the brighter colors creeping in unawares. Well, maybe for some other projects in the future. Low-key paintings are built completely from high and mid values. So, high-key is low values and low-key is high values. Don`t ask me why they are named in the reverse way! I usually use the full spectrum of values in my paintings.

               Lila snapdragons



                     I had shot these snapdragons growing on the wayside and in our balcony in the summer. They look so interesting because of their bright colors and also because of the way they are arranged on the spike, with fully opened and partially opened ones at the bottom and buds at the top. To use as a reference for the girl, I got my son to take my snap in a sundress. I wet the flower area and marked the outlines of some of the violet flowers in watercolor pencils Faber Castell magenta, pink madder lake, middle purple pink. The colors will flare and merge a bit with the water on the paper. You can nudge the colors a bit more with a damp brush and add light violet for the inner petal areas and buds. Add the leaves in the same way with light green, emarald green, helio turqouise. Permanent green olive is actually a perfect not-too-bright-and-artificial-looking green but I donot have this color in watercolor pencils, have it only in colored pencils, so I put down some hard marks with it. Also put some green in the buds. The yellow snapdragons have dark cadmium yellow, pink madder lake and magenta. The dress is in DS hansa yellow medium. Add some folds with dark cadmium yellow and shadows under the folds with green on the grass.

girl gardening

girl gardening

                 I added some skin tones, hair, crinkles on the dress with mixes from my previous painting. Put in a green-gray wash behind the foliage and for the grass.The watering can has cool grey 4. Finished with some butterflies and bird.                          

Watercolor Journal

Watercolor Pencils


Eden Rose `85

Eden Rose is a climbing rose and the mother of the family of Romantica Roses


                    I just did this rose as a quick study to test my new watercolor pencils. Its based on a photo from a book about roses by Andreas Barlage. I love the by-line of  his book, the sentiment for this love of roses is so simply put: Ohne Rosen geht es nicht!  There is no literal translation to it in English but its meaning lies somewhere between Can`t do without roses and Doesn`t work without roses. This is what I love most in Germans, their love and care for plants and flowers and the pride they take in their gardens. One can see even very elderly persons pruning or weeding or generally busying about in their gardens on a warm Sommer Nachmittag. The next best thing I like about them is their sense of order. Who doesn`t marvel at their public transport system running like clockwork to the exact minute, one can probably even say second. When I was new here, I used to find it slightly amusing that they would start wearing perplexed frowns  and generally fidget about if the clocked ticked to the next minute and the tram hadn`t arrived by then. Now ofcourse, after many years of living here, I too fidget about as I wait for the message announcing why and how long the Verspätung is. I think I`ve taken to this place like a duck to water.

                  The Faber Castell Albrecht Dürer line is made in Germany and they come with their own individual lightfastness ratings, something which is difficult to get hold of in colored pencils, so you can choose the colors which have the highest ratings. The watercolor pencils are soft and have intense chroma and you can work with them either dry or wet. I thought it would be fun to try them because you get more control with pencils. Also to an extent you can layer light on dark, so you don`t need that kind of discipline that regular watercolors require in that you have to get it right the first time. Just lay down strokes and blend different colors. Also, you can take a white or light colored pencil and go over the entire area softly smudging it. This will give an evenly blended area with a smooth finish, a dry technique called burnishing. Layer on darker colors if needed and repeat the burnishing. For the wet techniques, lay down strokes that follow the shape of the form you are trying to create, and gently go over it with damp brush to even out the layer (but you can still keep distinguishing marks). You can also dampen the paper first and then lay down the strokes which gives a different effect. Or dip the tip of the pencil (don`t dip the wooden casing!) in water and then lay down strokes. They can be combined with their polychromos colored pencils for mixed media work. Their range is color coded in different media so that you can combine them and not worry about colors standing out awkardly.  Lots of exciting possiblities!

                    I painted this rose on WN CP paper, with Albrecht Dürer Ivory, Cream, Warm Grey 1, Cool Grey 4, Light violet, Light Cadmium Red, Deep Red, Madder, Pink Madder Lake, Middle Purple Pink, Magenta, Light Green, Emerald Green and Black (Isnt`t it great when you can get new art supplies, you feel like a child in an ice cream shop who can`t decide on the flavour because they`re all so verführerisch..erdbeeren, kiwi, bananen, pistazie….!). I also used the polychromos Light Cadmium Yellow for the veins. These are a bit hard and they leave an indentation mark, so if you draw in the veins with the colored pencil and layer on top dry on dry they will show even through a darker layer on top. (But if you wet it, the color will seep into the indented line)