Camellia japonica, I think.
The new imaging facilities available to me at the moment create clear virtual images but none that will print distinctly. This is what there is for me to work with now, so I have chosen an image I like, although it has no depth of field to speak of.
02.04: no idea of what the colours will be or the image either: the image is like a tapestry, so I find both the shapes and the colours difficult to identify.
03.04: in order to understand this image I have to do a measured drawing. I will deal with colour once that is done.
04.04: I can see Ferngully characters in this, Magi and Zak in particular, but to be honest I doubt they will remain prevalent. Even with the drawing done and colours chosen I don’t have any idea where this is going.
05.04: the image is still a blank for me (in the sense that it has not taken its own shape in my head, furthermore each line and dot seem perfectly placed to me as they are; I don’t want to change anything) so I have to do an outline drawing as invisibly as possible so it will not interfere with the watercolour.
06.04: … but remain as true as possible to the original picture which I like – still working on that. 09.04: and on…
10.01: I was sent a masking fluid that is not colourless and find this much easier to apply with a chisel colour shaper. As there is not much depth to the image I have to try and bring out the lights and darks, which are often found side by side, the masking fluid will help retain the structure and placing of the lights. By doing this only in some areas I hope to instil a sense of movement. I will go lights:  yellow, blue, red and then darks, same order. That’s the plan.
11.04: actually started with darker yellow, and then added the highlight with Aureolin mixed with Raw Umber. Turquoise is always tricky for me, I’ve added Manganese and Winsor Green (B) to try to obtain a vibrant turquoise.
12.04: Winsor Green (B) makes good turquoises I find, with Aureolin, Prussian Blue or Manganese Blue.
13.04: On to the darker colours – still not sure where this is going. 16.04: and on… 17.04: it is taking shape, perhaps this will just be a Camellia.

outline sketch_09.04.18_(50x35cm)
outline sketch_06.04.18_(50x35cm)
outline sketch_05.04.18_(50x35cm)



Nota bene

The previous paintings representing ‘La Courte Paille’ do not show what the songs mean to me so I shall not continue at present. They may show what O wants them to, or it may be that I am expected to try my new photo managing software, but I think the plan is to go back to painting from photos. La Courte Paille remains a project I would like to undertake and I may try again, from the beginning, at another time.

La Reine de Coeur

The Third of La Courte Paille.

watercolour_30.03.18_(50x35cm) La Reine de Coeur

Quelle Aventure

I find it a challenge to paint without an image and am taking refuge in the visual clues in the words, which is not necessarily what I intended. I didn’t make a plan before starting, but just added the images as they appear in the song. Then I looked at the painting from different directions and tried to follow the image that appeared: a blue tit, I think. Not very sure of what I’m doing, I told myself ‘love it as it is’ which helped a bit. Then decided to try painting without glasses. There is no image to follow and my new glasses don’t feel correct at the moment, which is interference I can do without. But actually looking without glasses used to help me sometimes to see tone better, so I may continue with that for a while.

Perhaps most importantly, I tried to think what the song means for O, what he was trying to say by it when it was written/composed. I don’t know, but to me it seems that it is, rather obviously, about when things feel a certain way but it is too difficult to say it, for some reason or another. Hence it seemed a good fit that the image looks a bit like a bird, like when we tell one another ‘a little bird told me’ when it is too difficult to say it otherwise.

watercolour_29.03.18_(50x35cm) Quelle Aventure

Le Sommeil

I would like to replace the image I have on my YouTube channel for ‘La Courte Paille’ (the short straw). This is a collection of seven poems in French by Maurice Carême set to music by Francis Poulenc . I have a link in the blogroll to that recording sung by my mother. But I am not painting the music or the singing here. I am merely trying to find an image to represent the poems as I remember them. Not, I think, figurative, (yes, says O).
There is the text, with a translation which I have updated a little, in a separate page on this Blog. It helps me clarify the meaning of the words when I try to look at it in a different way, such as translating it into a different language.
The painting turned out a little more figurative than I thought, though perhaps more symbolist, with each colour and area representing a ‘character’ in the song.


Rhododendron Pup

Rhododendron Christmas Cheer before the big chill.
It looked to me like the face of a puppy dog, but as I draw it the face keeps changing, so I don’t know what it will be. The ‘nose’ is supposed to be the central flower which is very pale, so it is tricky to make stand out.
There is a certain element of cubism making itself felt in the outlining, probably because of my reading about it in “The Story of Art” by E.H.Gombrich.
14.03 – I still don’t really know where I’m going with this picture.  15.03 – not following light to dark as I cannot hold the picture together that way, instead following strong diagonals, which in this picture are darks going more or less from one edge to another edge of the paper. 19.03 – in oder to keep the image uncluttered I will not add detail outside the diagonal lines, too much. 21.03 – the colours would look truer with Ultramarine Blue but I prefer the ‘quieter’ Prussian Blue.

watercolour_26.03.18_(35x50cm) Rhododendron Pup
sketch notes_12.03.18


These are the branches of Enkianthus and Hazel (the body) and Azalea (harmonising assistant) I pruned earlier and placed in some bottles with pebbles, somewhat inspired by my reading about the art of ikebana. At the time of pruning the Enkianthus was only branch, with a little pink and green turret on top. The Hazel branch looks still like gathered racehorses.
For the background I wanted something plain, so I tried a white tablecloth. It had been folded into squares which did not look very attractive so I ironed it and then was reminded of the picture by Egon Shiele ‘Autumn Sun’ with the delicate autumn rays depicted by something looking like folded paper. So I folded the tablecloth in three and then further to make that central pattern in one third of the cloth. Hopefully looking a little crepuscular [more creepy than muscular].
I find that with Permanent Rose, Aureolin and Perylene Green I can do a lot of colours, but not blue, so I have added Prussian and Ultramarine Blues.
To mark the centre of the cloth pattern I placed a piece of white blue tack. I don’t need to use masking fluid as the foreground will be darker than the background.
Plant note: the small Enkianthus branch I placed together with the Azalea started well but has not survived, so perhaps they do not like to share the same water (?) p.s: but more likely the alkaline London water as they are acid loving plants. p.p.s: plant food which made the water cloudy – I changed the water and added a few drops of lemon juice; no idea if it’ll work but the water and pebbles look bright.
Tried out some other colour combinations – actually red, blue and yellow do make black – but I prefer my usual lot. Trying to make the bottles look more ‘grounded’. Still a few bits to finish.

watercolour_28.02.18_(35x50cm) Experiment
sketch notes_21.02.18