Trees have always been a passion of mine so it was good to be back on familiar territory for a moment. I decided to use this exercise to go deeper into the properties of paint and to see where that would lead me. Even though I had been using the watercolour in every exercise since the start of the course, I hadn’t really had the opportunity to learn more about the paint.
I went back to looking at the different properties of the pigments – the transparent, nonstaining pigments, the permanent staining pigments and the sedimentary and opaque paints. This was fascinating! I began to see how the different pigments operate and how artists use this. I explored the opaque paints in a quick drawing done with ink and a stick. I began with a wash of Aureolin Yellow and then added other colours, letting the paint mix itself on the surface.
The Setting Sun in Oxshott Woods.
I wanted to take my explorations into colour properties still further in this painting. One evening at the end of the day, I was struck by the incredible colours in the woods near where we live, with the oranges and yellows of the sun hitting the trees. In the painting I wanted to capture the contrast of the cool, shadowy, end-of-day feeling to the splashes of colour from the setting sun. To achieve the contrast I experimented with a complementary palette, keeping a limited selection of colours. I chose the yellow/orange with its complement, a middle blue and added the cool analogous colours of cobalt and violet.
This painting was a milestone for me. I felt to have totally understood washes and the beauty of the transparent colours. Taking time to study more about colour and how to use it was important and I could see the difference in the outcome when thought is given to this in the early stages of a painting.