Monday, 19 March 2018

Movie Titles in Aquarelle

Amazing Watercolour results with the subject 'Movie Titles'! It was very inspiring for all - because movie titles are often visually strong, meant to have impact and make you think twice. And if you can't think of something yourself then there are always the affiches, or the actors, or specific scenes to use as image.
Elia took the title 'City Lights' and used it in her own special way, so expressive and with a beautiful mood. It is based on Chateauneuf (where the Hangar resides) by night by the way!

Michelle F. took her favourite movie 'Priscilla Queen of the desert' as starting point and loosely based her watercolour on the poster. It is already stunning, and with a stream of stars, sparkles, glitters and serpentines added next week it will be incredible!!

Glenn created her version of  'The Beach', concentrating on the reflection - and it worked!! Very delicate!

Agnès created a poster for 'Beauty and the Beast'. It is as always very original, very well done and I love the beast so much... For his expression, his fluffiness and his belly button...

Marie-Claire painted these bright red tulips, bent by a strong wind, inspired by 'Gone with the Wind'

And she was not alone in choosing that movie, Sheila also used it as inspiration. She painted Vivien Leigh in her role as Scarlett with a red boa and a great pout!!
Michele C. gave her own twist to the movie 'Modern Times'. Charlie Chaplin is not running from the gears, but from all kinds of computerized equipment!

Anna Karin experimented with last week's subject 'inspiration from Marie Françoise Ingels (see last week's blog). At the same time this could be a perfect poster for the 2013 movie 'White Cross'

Celina finished last week's exercise with a vengeance!! I love it, and it could also work really well for the Terry Pratchett movie 'the Colour of Magic'

Last week's inspiration (also see last week's blog) was so meant for Liz - who couldn't be there. So she used it this time, and combined her own style with M-F Ingels's, which included using some  tape cut in geometric shepes, and also adhesive gauze tape (DIY stuff that in french s called 'Calicot pour fissures')

 Michele C. also tweaked her painting of last week and in such a way that I want to show it once more!! Super, that sky!

Isabelle, who does not have a whole lot of experience with  watercolours, but an amazing good 'feel' for it, decided to work on one of the essential starters exercises. Doodling, then coloring (wait until a part is dry, avoid cauliflowers etc), then washing the whole lot off, dry it, and then add volume, by using shades and patterns. And look at this!!! Awesome!
 And last but not least, Liz' other M-F Ingels-inspired painting!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Inspired by Marie-Françoise Ingels

From time to time we let ourselves be inspired by another painting, or by the style of a certain artist - and last week we used an exercise from L'Art de l'Aquarelle nr 35, by Marie-Françoise Ingels. The exercise was based on sticking tape, cut in geometric shapes, on white paper, then a light wash, then more sticking, then another wash and then add some accents, all the time with only the composition in mind. 
 This was an example with the 4 stages and still without the 'accents' because everybody understood & wanted to get to work...

The double page, with 'Rêve Bleu' and 'Ville' in the top picture of this post was favourite, and that's what almost everyone used. As example, or as colour scheme. It was a super afternoon, all were throwing paint on paper, working very wet, free and completely unafraid to experiment! Here are the results of a great session:
Celina loved the exercise that she will continue next time. She worked on her birds at the same time, a good idea: while you work on one, the other painting can dry, no waiting and always something to think about.

What a happy surprise when Sylvie walked in suddenly! It was fantastic to see her again and she spent a lot of time updating all her friends but still got around to doing a small watercolour! We hope to see more of her the coming weeks...
  Linda was mainly concentrating on the new portrait she's working on, but despite not spending a lot of time on this exercise, it looks great

I was very enthusiastic about the watercolours of both 'Micheles'!  This is Michelle F's version, isn't it amazing!! The colours are so strong... Love it!

 And here's Michele C's painting, not finished (quite a large size) but absolutely convincing already!

 Glenda participated for the first time and created this watercolour. Never done it before, and then such a good use of the transparency, I hope to see more!

 Sheila gave an extra dimension to this painting with her reflections in the sky. The downward part is not yet painted, that will happen next time - but I love it already!

Isabelle worked hard and experimented with masking fluid and that's why this amazing interpretation looks like a snow landscape!

Elia combined one of her own pictures with  Marie-Françoise's colour scheme and look at that result! Really lovely and mysterious!

 Agnès took the whole idea a step further and used the tape & geometric/graphic contrast to create a kind of 'window' effect. And that worked out!! Awesome!

 And how about Sandra, who, next to watercolours and pen, used sand and newspaper to create this abstract landscape...

And Carol, who used Marie-Françoise's aquarelle as a starting point to paint her own English house. And ended up with a very personal touch, completely out of comfort zone!

There was some other work done, that I will keep for next time, but this little horse by Agnès, painted in the 5 leftover minutes, was so fabulous -and similar in style, that it deserves a place right hear: Last, but by no means Least!!! Well Done...

Marie-Françoise is going to read this blogpost and I hope she is as proud of your work as I am and also I hope that one day she can visit and demonstrate her style of painting to us! More about that later! 
 If you are curious about her other work, you can visit her website:

Friday, 9 March 2018

EXHIBITION Agnès McLaughlin in Antibes

Aquarellista Agnès McLaughlin is exhibiting strong, often funny and always 'spot on' watercolours in Antibes Old Town during the 'URBAN SKETCHING' Exhibition!

Here is a map Agnès kindly created (the exhibition is very close to the ramparts and just behind restaurant 'Le Figuier') Click to enlarge!

This is the entrance of the lovely Atelier Galerie of Annette Von Borstel *) in the old centre.

The artist herself having a cup of tea with her visitors

The visitors having a cup of tea while leafing through the sketch books and carnets de voyage...

It is so much fun to see these watercolours, they are of places you recognise and they all have that colourful and spontaneous 'twist' that is typical for Agnès's style. Of course they are all either created outside or started outside, often in difficult circumstances (ask Agnès for fun anecdotes). I know the work of Agnès, still there was a lot that I hadn't seen yet.  She has created a booklet, I bought one and I find it very inspiring. And it proves that even in this day and age, old fashioned urban sketching is very fulfilling and worthwhile, both in practicing as in just enjoying the results.

If you want to read more about it, visit Agnès's excellent blog

Do you need more recommendation? 
One of the other artists who has some work in the gallery is Antibes-based Lui Ho, who creates portraits. All the time and with every material that he can get his hands on, clay, pencil, ball point, scissors and paper!

The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday, 3pm-  5pm until the 16th of March.

*) About Annette van Borstel's atelier: she exhibits her own work and from time to time invites other artists. She was painting while I visited, and by the look of it is combines two worlds, technology and oil paint on canvas... She used a laptop with a picture and some other device to paint  hyperrealistic portraits. There were also a couple of paintings that looked 'woven' with beautiful thin brush strokes.QUite interesting!

Monday, 5 March 2018

10 strong portraits of old men - in Watercolours

This fantastic portrait was painted in a couple of brush strokes on very rough 'Hollands Torchon' paper, by new Aquarellista Beatrice (I hope I am not mixing up the new names - please correct me asap if I've got it wrong!) I am in awe - and happy she has joined us!

Amazing what happened last time the Aquarellistas got together! Everyone picked an example they felt connected to, and experienced and newcomers alike painted awesome, strong portraits! Most are not finished and because I had to run to catch my flight I did not take the best pics of my career LOL.
But still! Look and admire!

 Christine's portrait, what a strength, both of his character and her style! Looking forward to seeing her next season.

Well done Michele C! Fantastic eyes and eyebrows...

This picture doesn't do justice to Carol's wonderful portrait in her typical soft and delicate expressive style. I hope to present the finished version in a better photo next time...

 Isabelle is another new talent, she doesn't have much experience with watercolours but definitely has a feel for it! Very very promising!

And yet another new Aquarellista, Marie-Claire! She wasn't too happy with her very first try, but I am! I hope she can hang on to this bold style because it is definitely interesting...

Sheila started a portrait of an older gentleman-actor, you may recognise him! Lovely and look forward to seeing the finished version...

Very strong, simple portrait. I love the style. Look at that nose, well done, Linda!

Sandra worked on other subjects and just before we finished she started a portrait. I am only posting it so you can later see the development which will no doubt be interesting!

And the last picture is painted by Liz - huge in size, intelligent in approach. And o so strong. Love it!

Monday, 26 February 2018

Varnish watercolours part III- conclusion

After a year I come back to the subject of watercolours and varnish! There's much more experience and the 'test paper' has been in the sun  for a year. Would there be colour difference between the part that has been in the sun for a year and the part that was covered?

So -where does my need to varnish watercolours come from...
Well, first of all, I want to keep developing and discovering! And after an intense try-out with acrylics, I came back to watercolours because I still love them the most, with their poetry and transparency and beautiful accidents! But I also want to work on a broader range of supports. Apart from paper, I used canvas, linen, carton and wood!

Secondly, if you go for varnish you protect your watercolours!  You don't need glass anymore - which means your work is much lighter, you don't have to think about the reflection of glass and your choice of frames becomes much bigger...

And thirdly, even if you want to hang on to the glass, the varnish makes the paint look as if it is wet, and the colours are definitely brighter.

Varnished watercolour on canvas, in classic frame, no glass

What I did not know a year ago, is how varnished watercolours will hold  - will they go yellow, will the colours stay fresh. To find out I covered half of one test-watercolour with tape and put that in front of the South facing window of my atelier. A strong sun (we're in the South of France) shines on it most of the time.

Today I removed it, and the only thing damaged by the sun, was the tape - so, yay! there is no visible difference between the covered and  the uncovered part:

Watercolour isn't waterproof, and if you would apply your varnish with a brush on the fresh watercolour, the paint would come off with the solution, as if you go over it with a wet brush. Not a good idea. SO:
Use a spray! First apply 2 layers of watercolour fixatif/varnish (I use Schmincke Aquarell-Fixatif) . Leave ample time between layers! Wait one day, then at least 2 layers of Acrylic varnish, and then it is safe to add one or two layers of varnish with a brush.
After this treatment you can exhibit your watercolour without glass.

Watercolour fixatif spray, varnish (brilliant and satin), acrylic varnish spray

For an expo I covered four 2 meter long canvas strips with watercolour primer (Schmincke Aqua grund) and painted them with watercolours. Then varnished them, only on the front, 2 layers with varnish for acrylic paint.  They were hanging in a beautiful but very humid space. The colours stayed perfect, the canvas buckled a bit. Great advantage: you can roll them up!

For the 500-year Valbonne festivites I painted with watercolours on woorden blocks (treated with watercolour gesso) and varnished them with thick layers - the test will be the sun and the rain as they will be outside for a while...
All in all, I am happy that I have the possibility to varnish my watercolours. It extended my means of expression!!

links to two previous posts about this subject:
Can you varnish Watercolours: Experiment II
Watercolour Canvas Varnish: Experiment I