Monday, 26 September 2016

Wine tasting and watercolours

 One word - fabulous. These grapes by Anna-Karin
Anna-Karin is back from Sweden! We're all delighted to have her with us again - she's of course a nice person and we get lots of inspiration from her 'Nordic' painting style.
Also she knows about wine and that is a good thing, esp. in France. Lucky coincidence that, having been in the Gironde the past two weeks (o, I did mention that before didn't I...) I brought some of the local drink, Pineau, with me for a small tasting. It is made of fresh grapejuice with cognac. Sweet and gorgeous and with 12% alcohol... We took tiny sips - and were still able to finish our work:

 Also Tana was inspired by the subject. Well done for the grapes - and the leaf will be more defined in the next session to create a perfect picture!

These juicy bad boys are painted by Carol. She is good at the round shapes - here with a soft glow, and below, her fnished marbles, with sharp lightfall. Excellent work!

I brought inspirational pictures from the vignoble that I visited, of the age-old containers and other attributes for producing wine -- 

Edith started with one of them... Looking age-old like it should, only the salt kept absorbing the colour, so more next week
For the aquarellistas who like to paint from three-dimensional examples, I will from now on bring real stuff. Last time: a basket with white cutlery

Two versions here, above the experienced, comic book style of Agnès
And one in the slightly more classic version painted by Vanessa

Of course everyone is free to choose their own subject, and both Sylvie and Brenda were looking for something to make them feel 'Zen'...
Brenda started a portrait of her lovely grandson...

 ...and Sylvie worked on a levitating buddha surrounded by bamboo.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Once upon a rainy afternoon in the Hangar...

With a theme 'barks' Celina used the afternoon to go way out of her comfort zone (very good!): she tried out using big brushes, painted in other colours than she usually does and sprinkled different types of salt. As you can see the effects vary quite a bit. Of course she documented what she did and used and soon we'll have a blogpost dedicated to the use of salt - pros and cons...
Liz worked on an invisible owl - in camouflage colours... I am posting this so you can still see the owl - when the picture is finished you may not be able to see him anymore...
Liz also finished her 'ad' for a super dress with orange shoes and bag. Still lerve the shoes Liz!!

Michele is still in Bretagne, but it is getting colder there and we expect her back in October. She works from home and look at this! a heavenly blue dress... Super!

Tana ended up working on these gorgeous, matte grapes. I can't wait to see them finished...

Monday, 12 September 2016

Aquarellistas "dress up" for first session after holidays

Liz' great stripey dress with white top +accessories...
We started the summer with an all-girl aquarellista-group and had great fun with this subject: "paint a dress". Style up to you, you can use an existing image, or a real dress as example. But also you can use a picture for the outlines, but come up with patterns and accessories, or just design a dress from your imagination... Someone in it, or just the dres... there are so many possibilities! Here are a couple of pictures of last week's session where everyone created their own interpretation!...
 Bev let herself be inspired by the lady who wears the dress - and then made it into an intriguing artwork with a story behind it by adding the skull!

  Patience went for lilywhite beauty in a tight satin dress

 A lovely, innocent and colourful dress with well defined patterns and folds. A typical Celina!

 Super romantic vintage by Brenda...
Edith worked on a nighty - a dress to go to sleep in, with a oon and a heart and stors and a little girl having a dream... Lovely as always!
And last but not least, can't get over it, what a fabulous dress, and so well painted by Tana!
she used a picture for inspiration but gave it a new look -and worked very precise to try that out. And it worked so well! Well done!

Then there were 2 participants going for other projects:
Tricia was trying out something new and combined her own use of salt-pigment-spattering-and-letting-the-paint-do-the-work-style with dark defining lines. I'm impressed!! Hopefully to be continued...

 And Agnès worked on a future post on her HobbySketcher blog!
Super picture, can't decide which one I love more, the 2CV or the bicycle!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Aquarelle Atelier Libre

 Cathies white chair- fab & finally finished

The past month Cathie and Tara have kept the waterclour class going while I was enjoying a long and very zen holiday... (I have also seriously painted and will post something about that later). They did a super cool job for all of the Aquarellistas who didn't want a summer stop!! Thanks a lot girls!!

Cathie has shared photo's of what the group has done and I am very very proud and enthusiastic about what has been achieved... Have a look for yourself:

Grapes - an absolutely stunning painting by Carole. I'm so impressed!

A lovely aquarelle of her sisters' house in the Loire valley by Agnès

 Great Watercolour by Celina!! She spatterded paint to create the impression of leaves. Love it!!
 Tana created several still lives.
She works hard and her style is loosening up and showing more and more confidence
Tana's lunch - in a watercolour

And how about these zebras by Sylvie - amazing!!

 I also particularly loved this portrait by Edith...

Or this sunny South-French Citroën by Liz?! Wowee!

Another strong woman's (in every possible way) portrait by Sandra

Cathies Pelicans - lov'em!! Looking forward to the finished version...

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Wiliam Turner II

For those of you who are in doubt if they should join the trip to the Turner exhibition in Aix: GO! It will inspire you... Here's a 2012 Aquarellista blogpost about his work.. The trip is on 16 September, by comfortable bus and the cost is only 45€ for Hangar members! 
Contact Marijke Obbink to subscribe

Turner is known as "the painter of the light" which I think is a very well-deserved title. To me his work was a true inspiration, I remember going to an exhibition of his watercolours in London when I was still in art school. I realized what is possible with aquarelle and it actually made me decide to concentrate more on that medium.

sketch Turner made of the cathedral in Rouen - look at the combination of ink and watercolours

His work is impressionist (although in his time that didn't exist!). In oil as well as watercolours Turner was the first who didn't try to achieve complete realism, but gave that away for atmosphere and emotion.
I read somewhere on the internet  that Constable once said about his work "he seems to paint with tinted steam, so evanescent and airy"... In this day and age we would consider that a compliment! But it was meant as a sneer (compare "Fauvism", now a much loved painting style- but the terminology was first used to degrade the painters as wild animals...) England (the world) wasn't ready for full-blown aquarelle and impressionism yet!

In this aquarelle (Ewenny Priory, in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff) Turner used perspective and light to achieve a sense of vast space

Sunrise, 1845 - Made during the Industrial Revolution: it has been suggested that the pollution might be reflected in Turner's paintings

Turner died 76 years old (a respectable age in those days). From what I found about him he was slightly crazy, but a good person, and we should be thankful that he left us so much fantastic and inspiring work! Like all great modern artists he researched, in his case for possibilities to express atmosphere, emotion, scale, vastness in a painting. He didn't just use watercolours, his oils are also very very impressive, but hey, we're aquarellistas! Below two more extremely beautiful - and clever - watercolours...

William Turner I

For those of you who are in doubt if they should join the trip to the Turner exhibition in Aix: GO! It will inspire you... Here's a 2012 Aquarellista blogpost about his life... The trip is on 16 September, by comfortable bus and the cost is only 45€ for Hangar members! 
Contact Marijke Obbink to subscribe

William Turner (Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775 - 1851) was an English watercolourist, a predecessor Aquarellista! In the next post I'll write a bit about his style, in this one more about his life.

Turner was born into a middle-class family in London. His father was a wig-maker and barber. His mother died while he was quite young. William Turner was sent to live in the countryside with relatives who soon discovered that he was very talented: he painted this castle when he was 10 years old:
Unbelievable... he could definitely observe...

He joined the Royal Academy of Art at the age of 14 - and, surprise surprise, he excelled. He left London in 1798 "with little more than a borrowed pony and pencils" and started painting a series of landscapes around Wales...
This work he made as a 23-year-old in his Hereford Court sketchbook. It fetched up £500,000 at a Christie’s auction...

Turner had success and made a fortune when he was quite young. That gave himl the opportunity to innovate freely.
Young William Turner - selfportrait as a bit of a dandy

Turner travelled widely in Europe, starting with France and Switzerland in 1802 and studying in the Louvre in Paris in the same year.
He also made many visits to Venice

As he grew older, Turner became more eccentric. His paintings changed in style and his audience struggled to understand his vision. He had few close friends except for his father, who lived with him for thirty years, eventually working as his studio assistant.
Old William Turner - in his atelier

And the atelier once more - look again - and you'll see how impressive  it is... especially if you realize that this was painted in the 19th century!

William Turner died on 19 December 1851 and lies buried in St Paul's Cathedral. He left his money to support what he called "decayed artists". He designed an almshouse for them at Twickenham, with a gallery for some of his works. But some relatives contested the will and part of his fortune was awarded to the family. The rest went to the Royal Academy of Arts who still from time to time award students the Turner Medal...

NB: I have used pictures from the Turner special in the Figaro - to have a look inside, borrow it from me or order via

Friday, 29 July 2016

Truly Zen Watercolour afternoon in the Hangar

 Sandra's fabulous Buddha head

On Tuesday 26 July the aquarellistas got together for the last time before the summer holidays. We had a fabulous time, despite the heat, painting watercolours inspired by the buddha. Main objecticve: express the peacefulness. It was an afternoon well-spent and here are the excellent results!
 This amazing picture is painted by Tana - she really understands how to use contrast & Payne's Grey!

 Elia B. created a very personal version of a classic Buddha. I love it. 

Excellent work by  Liz - not yet finished but already very decorative

Agnès's painting also halfway - It is completely convincing - go on like this!

And Brenda's Buddha. It looked great, the first wash was super and then she used salt and that didn't work out as planned. But now I see the picture and I think it is actually not bad at all! Sometimes all you need is a bit of distance...

There was also an exercise B, I had stuck cut-offs of an old abstract painting  on freshly stretched paper and asked the participants to finish the page... Here are some of the solutions:

Giraffes by Liz

Thistles by Tricia
Delicate flowers by Elia B.

The big friendly snake by Marina

And then there was 'miscellaneous' work outside the above...

Tana had 10 minutes left and experimented with green and salt, with this superb group of cypresses

Linda finished her amaryllis design. It's super!

A very promising start of a watery landscape by Carol. That sky is so good!

The last one is for Celina - her chair design! I absolutely love it - note the abstract on the wall by the way...

And that was it for now, it will be calm on the aquarellista blog for a while... In the mean time I wish you all happy holidays and a fantastic summer!!