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Drink and Draw (in lockdown)

Drink and Draw (in lockdown)

It seemed, that because we’re all home on Saturday nights during COVID, it was a great opportunity to have a global Drink and Draw – social drawing session.

So I did.

For 8 weeks in a row.

And it’s been AMAZINGLY GREAT.

All the live videos are still there in the Private Facebook Group and you’re more than welcome to join in. 

Huge thanks to everyone who’s joined the group – I’ve got some ideas for beyond COVID, so we’ll see what happens!

Artist goes global with virtual class - article

My #5minutemay Sketch Challenge!

My #5minutemay Sketch Challenge!

Just because there wasn’t enough going on, I got it in my head that I REALLY needed to do a #5minutemay sketch challenge. And of course, June wasn’t going to cut it – alliteration rules my life.

So I have begun! Each day in May I’m doing a LIVE video on my facebook page, of this 5 minute watercolour and coloured pencil sketch, in my A5 size Etchr Labs Sketchbook.

And because I LOVE local and small business, I’ve enlisted a bunch of local businesses to be the subjects.

But THE BEST thing that’s happened is that a bunch of people have joined in too. The ‘5 minutes a day’ thing does make it achievable (I hope) – and by the end of the month, that’s ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE MINUTES. I know. Basic multiplication, but pretty impressive.

This is where we’re up to:

 

Whites & Blue Skies in Watercolour

Whites & Blue Skies in Watercolour

Watercolour paints last really well and can be an heirloom item to be passed down from generation to generation.  Don’t hesitate in buying the best set you can afford and use them often.

Painting ‘white objects’ can be struggle for those just starting out with watercolour. The trick is to leave the paper behind as the light.  But also remember that white objects are often not white – look for the colours.

My “White Caps on Waves” 2019 (watercolour) – inspired by Brett Whiteley’s painting, “Thebe’s Revenge” 1973-82

Other techniques include using a darker background which can definitely help a white object POP.  By making the tones around the white darker, the white ends up looking lighter.  You can also use masking fluid which you apply to the page, paint over and, when the paint is dry you then peel off to leave the bare paper.  This is definitely worth experimenting with.

The magnolia drawing below was created during a live Zoom session with members of my Paint Along of the Month Club. While the first drawing is nice, see how much brighter the flower with the coloured background appears?

Painting the sky is another skill to practice. The sky is not always blue – it can be made up of many colours.  My advice is using a big brush (in relation to your painting) so you are less likely to see brush strokes.  Use plenty of water – don’t be scared – and practice. Practice, practice.  Observe that the lightest part of the sky is usually at the horizon – it is the furthest away, so it is paler.  Above you is the brightest or darkest colour.

And the ducks below aren’t actually ‘painted white’… they’re paper-coloured. It’s the blue sky that makes them white. Practice painting and drawing negative spaces to get better at leaving the white of the subject behind in watercolour.

White Water Colour Ducks

Anna

 

 

Which Brush is Best?

Which Brush is Best?

Choosing the right brush size and shape can be a big decision when you are just starting out as a painter.

In my opinion, size does matter – especially if you are painting a big canvas, I recommend you start with a big brush.

Different Brushes Sampler

The shape of the brush matters too – to understand what each brush can do and the marks they can make painting a sampler can really help you get familiar with what each brush can do.

Try them out and see what kinds of marks they can do.

Pulling the brush in different directions, or twisting the brush makes such a difference.

Different Directions Brush Sampler

The more miles on the brush you do, the more you will understand what size and what shape will work best for what you are trying to achieve in your painting.

One Brush – Many Different Marks

I suggest you try different brands if you can, and look for a brush that holds its shape after a few uses.

Really, anything goes! 

My only “don’t” is don’t use watercolour brushes for acrylic.  In my experience they just won’t hold their shape. And I often use brushes marked as ‘acrylic’ for watercolour – it’s my personal preference.

Get some miles on some brushes and you’re bound to find your personal preference too.

Anna

Fill your book

Fill your book

Are you onboard yet? Are you painting and drawing regularly?

My mission is to share the joy of drawing and painting because … I have found that it simply makes life better.

I invite to you look for every opportunity to include painting and drawing in your life. Whether you are at home, or out and about, there is always something to capture in your sketchbook. When you start looking, you start seeing, and then you’ll never be the same again!

Watercolour is one of the handiest mediums to have at the ready.Draw coffee cupHere’s an idea.

Take 5 minutes when you sit down to a cuppa and paint your cup.

Look at it from a few different angles and choose what viewpoint to paint it from.

See all the components of the image – the rounded corners, the shadows, the reflections.

Paint it quickly so your hot drink doesn’t get too cold.

Take a photo for a reference in case you get interrupted.

You may not like your paintings to start with but fill page after page and you will look back when you have filled your book and see how you have changed as an artist AND you’ll be reminded of stacks of wonderful memories at the same time.

Don’t forget to date each page.

Then, it will be time to start a new book!

Click here to save $20 on Shiny Happy Drawing – a fabulous online course I’ve put together, that includes over 20 projects to inspire you to create!

Where’s your favourite place?

Where’s your favourite place?

Or even your second favourite place?

One of my favourite places is Rainbow Beach. I have lovely memories from my childhood, and have a fun bunch of terrific rellies to visit there… I just feel really connected to the place.

I visited last weekend and finally made the time to sketch the Rainbow Beach Stairs. These are a pretty recent phenomenon –  they were just normal, concrete stairs until 2018 – and they’re one of those things that make you think… why didn’t someone think of this sooner? They really are just wonderful.

One of the most important reasons I draw and paint, is because I tend to rush around a bit. And drawing slows me down, to really appreciate what’s around me. So, last Saturday, I drew (with a Prismacolor pencil) then coloured (with watercolour) a sketch of these cool stairs. (You can find links to my art supplies here.)

I noticed the progression of colours, and that there were two steps per colour (I already knew there are 72 steps in total as I’ve climbed them many times lately). 

I noticed how the trees each side shaded the stairs and almost met 3/4 of the way up.

I noticed that people are around 12 steps tall.

I noticed the deep shadows under the trees and the pale sand each side of the road, and the perspective of the crossing lines on the road.

(As an aside, for those people who hesitate to draw in public, no-one approached me at all. I drew in peace.)

Then, that afternoon I had a few goes at painting the same subject with acrylics – with a goal to loosen up and work on my ‘impression’ of the stairs. So Version 1 was quite tight… it took some time and I was still discovering new shapes and relationships.

Then I may have had a drink… and tried Version 2 – sketching with a Posca paint pen and only adding colour to the stairs and people (colouring the people was actually my 10 year old daughter’s suggestion).

And then I had another drink… and drew the person in Version 3, then masked her off with tape before swiping the colours across, giving the impression of the stairs. It’s not quite what I had pictured in my head, so I’ll try it again one day soon.

My next step is to take all this experience and knowledge and try a bigger painting (these three were A4 sized) on canvas. And I’m looking forward to it, and know that there’s still so much to discover about the subject and the ways it could be painted.

SO! The upshot of this is – if you have a place you love, draw it.

And draw it again and draw it again. And keep drawing and painting it as long as you enjoy it. Monet did HUNDREDS of waterlily paintings. They were his ‘thing’. Discovering ‘your thing’ is a wonderful process and makes your life richer.

So why not pick up a pencil, and have a go!