Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pear under 3 lights

I bought a new water-colour: aureolin yellow. The lady who works in the art shop is a watercolour painter, and told me it adds a lovely golden glaze. So I had to try it, but what to paint? When in doubt, paint pears, and I have 2 of these wonderful russet coloured Beurre Bosc lying about. I always buy these, and always seem to end up composting them, as they are too beautiful to use up. Cheaper than flowers, anyway!
What started to fascinate me were the shadows cast on the white surface by the pear under the main influence of 2 light bulbs in the kitchen ceiling. One of the bulbs, on the right, throws a cooler bluer light than that on the left, which is very warm and yellowish. Where the pear blocks the warm light, its shadow throws up only the cooler light shining from that side, and vice versa. So you have a distinct blue shadow one side, and yellowish one on the other. A third light bulb a little further away at the back is also cool, and adds another faint shadow, warmish as the yellow bulb's light reaches it.
There is also a slight effect on the surface of the pear... a little greener and cooler on one side than the other.
I really over emphasised the blue shadow, and was a bit disappointed, until I saw the pear with just the yellow light on, and daylight (blue sky today) illuminating the right side. My colours were exactly right!!
And I just remembered to wash the aureolin yellow over at the end.
Fun to tackle such a simple subject, as it gives a chance to analyse some of the thing going on.
What do you think ... too much science??

Thursday, April 24, 2008

last red roses

These were falling apart as I tried to catch them. I'm trying to learn from my sister and other bloggers out there... well behind the 8 ball, but trying!! To get the colours to glow in watercolour is the mission ... the light in the computer screen helps a bit . Fallen petal is a bit like a map of Australia, and should have some shadows added.
Next job blue iris, then sweet sisters... whew!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From the kitchen window sill

The sun shines in this window and it is a joy to line up the broken-off tulip, a few other flowers and see them against the light.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Daffy down dilly days

I have been practising my watercolour technique on the daffodils that are growing in profusion along the driveway, in the fields, in the woods, in the garden. In the last week they have seen sunshine, thick snow, cold winds, frost, more warm sunshine, and now rain and hail.

Some are a little bent and battered, but they carry on smiling and shining! So lucky to be here to enjoy them.

First attempt, of some pelargoniums in a pot in the warm kitchen, and some rather careful 'academic' studies of the daffodils. All the blooms here are sunny yellow or white, with variations on the theme, including a few pretty double blooms. The stronger orange shades occur only in some of the trumpets, so it has been hard to avoid insipid looking paintings. They look somewhat brighter here than in my book, so that is pleasing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Spring days in England

Just to show that I have not been a total slacker, here is another post ... two in one day!

I should have drawings of my son who was 33 yesterday, and his little second son, who will be 1 tomorrow. But inanimate objects are a little more manageable.

One of my ambitions has been to grow hellebores (and peonies), and I have greatly enjoyed watching these beauties in this lovely country garden.

Here is another of my laborious watercolours! Oh dear, when will I learn that less is more, fast beats slow, white reigns supreme, composition is the key, and quite a few other things besides?

Anyway, it is quite pretty in an overworked sort of way, just because the garden is so pretty.

I tried to capture this very old brick and flint walled garden in the most wonderful sunshine.

I have been trying over a few days, but the wind made it too cold to sit outside for long, then it was too SNOWY, then a bit cold ... this morning just glorious.

For some reason I got the old wishing-type-well lined up in front of two wrought iron gates, an urn on a plinth, steps and a glorious prunus in spring leaf-bud, and all on a very small page! AND you have a field of daffodils, with the woods behind.

And here is a little interior study.
The old mullioned windows in this very old house have lovely little bits of ancient (?) stained glass somewhat randomly positioned in them, and it is wonderful how much brightness and interest they add to a room.

Away from Home

I have been away from home for about 4 weeks, travelling with my husband who has to make a lot of these journeys.

It is nice for us to be together, and we have been able to see one of our daughters, and our son and his wife and two little boys. They live and work in geology and mining in Zambia, a beautiful country, with the nicest, most gentle people. They all seem to love children and my grandsons receive much care and affection.

I have been thinking of the many wonderful drawings I might do, and have made a few less wonderful attempts.

This is a sketch of one of the verandahs of the mine's own guest-house in Ndola. (The blow-up is TOO big if you double click on the image. My drawing was quite small and it does not magnify well. I still cannot quite sort this out!) My drawing makes it seem rather old and dilapidated, but it is newly built, and very smart! The climate is warm, with rainy summers, and plants grow wonderfully quickly and well in the beautiful gardens . Meals are served on the wide verandahs.A roller blind is down on the section to the left . I guess they are used when it is chilly.

The guest house is run by Cynnie, a genius with people and food.She has trained local people in the arts of hospitality. My second page of sketches is of Bridget, very tall and slim in her smart black and grey work outfit, with voluminous, snow white apron, and very large, workmanlike shoes.

This drawing is of a little indigenous tree in a patch of garden in the main lawn.
Zambia has stunning trees. One of the tragedies of the last couple of decades has been the loss of indigenous forest through the widespread activities of charcoal burners, who eke out a very small living. Power issues are among the greatest of Africa's current challenges (pun unintended)