Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Tutorial: Monet's Waterlilies 1916-1926

Famous Paintings in Miniature Number 6: Monet's Waterlilies

In this, the sixth in my famous paintings in miniature series, I will be showing you how to recreate Monet's Waterlilies, 1916-1926



Click on the links below to see other tutorials in this series:








video


Monet

Claude Monet (1840-1926) was born in Paris and grew up in Le Havre, where his artistic career began during his teens. Monet was gifted with a pencil and paper and he quickly learned that he could earn good money drawing and selling charcoal caricatures of the townsfolk. He was quickly talent-spotted by the artist Eugene Boudin who encouraged him to turn his hand to painting landscapes in the great outdoors - a direction that was only possible through the relatively new invention of oil paint in tubes in 1841. 

In 1859, aged 19, Monet travelled to Paris to develop his artistic career, where he studied at the Académie Suisse. During his time in Paris he met many artists including Renoir, Sisley and Bazille, and the four of them would often go on en plain-air painting trips together, bouncing ideas of each other. They would later go on to form the impressionist movement, which was predominantly grounded in painting outdoors. 

In 1874 Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Manet and others were struggling to get their work accepted into the conventional Salon, so they banded together to form the “Société Anonyme des Artistes, Peintres, Sculpteurs, Graveurs etc” as an alternative. At their first exhibition the title of one of Monet’s works, “An Impression, Sunrise” gave the whole impressionist movement its name. 

In 1883, aged 43, Monet moved away from the city and settled in Giverny, where he diverted the local river and built a waterlily pond in his garden. As with many of his subjects, he obsessively paint this same scene over and over again in different light and weather conditions. There are over 250 paintings of this pond, and he probably destroyed many more through self-doubt and depression. 

Towards the end of his life Monet suffered from cataracts and was almost blind when he died in 1926. In the last 10 years of his life he painted a series of very large canvases, 12 of which were promised to the French nation as a monument to peace and are now on display at the museum of the Orangerie in Paris. 

Waterlilies

The canvas that we are going to reproduce, “Water-Lilies”, is one of the set painted between 1916-1926 that was not promised to the French nation and is currently on display in room 43 at the National Gallery in London. It is a VERY big painting so please consider where you will display it before you work out which scale to work in. It may more practical to choose a scale that is not accurate for your house but will at least fit inside it!

Monet worked his paintings on canvas. To recreate Water-lilies in miniature we need a support that will give the impression of a miniature canvas but without the weave of the canvas dominating the finished painting. I recommend using off-cuts of smooth mount board, easily obtained from a framing shop - if you ask nicely the proprietor will probably give you his off-cuts for free. 

You will need:

  • Off-cuts of smooth mount board or other thick card
  • Sharp craft knife, cutting mat and steel rule
  • Acetate and marker pen
  • Pencil
  • Gesso
  • Size 16 flat brush 
  • Size 4 round acrylic brush with a good point
  • Size 00 round acrylic brush with a good point
  • Small bristle fan brush
  • Atelier interactive acrylics in: 
    • French Ultramarine 
    • Tinting White
    • Yellow Ochre 
    • Arylamide Yellow Light 
    • Crimson 
  • A stay-wet palette (I make my own using a plastic takeaway box with a layer of damp kitchen towel at the bottom followed by a layer of baking paper on top)

Step 1

Monet’s painting measures a huge 200.7 x 426.7 cm. That’s over 4 metres long so think carefully about where you will display your miniature version of this piece before you start! To find how big yours needs to be simply divide these measurements by the scale you're working in. On a 1:12th scale, dividing by 12 will give us = 16.7 x 35.5cm; for 1:16th we need to divide by 16 to get 12.5 x 26.7cm, for 1:24th divide by 24 giving 8.36 x 17.8cm. This would be a good piece for those of you who like to work in 1:48th scale as your measurements will be 4.2 x 8.9cm.

I'm working at a 1:12th scale.

Using your steel rule and craft knife, cut out the mount board to the correct size and apply 2 coats of gesso with a flat brush to prepare your canvas. This will stop your paints from soaking straight into the board. You'll need to leave it for at least a day to thoroughly dry.


Step 2

The drawing for this piece is very straight forward, we just need groups of lily pads in the right places. I recommend using a simple grid, keeping your grid lines and pencil marks as faint as you can.

Divide your canvas into 4 x 4 equally spaced sections. They will not be squares since your canvas is rectangular, but I will call them squares for simplicity’s sake. For this article I have drawn my gridlines heavily so that you can see them, but please draw your grid lines very faintly so that you don’t need to worry about paint coverage later on.

Starting in one of the corners, copy the black lines into your chosen square. Methodically moving from one square to its adjoining square, continue to copy the drawing until yours is complete. Try not to be tempted to jump around the grid – it is all too easy to make a mistake when counting squares and very frustrating to find that the drawing doesn’t meet in the middle!




Step 3

Cut a piece of acetate or cellophane and trace your drawing using the marker pen. If your acetate is larger than your canvas then remember to mark the corners so that you can match it up with the canvas later on. 




Step 4

Squeeze out 5cm of Tinting White and a small blob of French Ultramarine. Add the blue to the white to loosely mix a pastel blue.




Step 5

Using the size 16 flat brush entirely cover your canvas in pale blue. Make the blue varied in colour and texture across the whole piece, using different directional brush strokes. You will cover your pencil marks completely – this is why we have made the acetate so that we can position our lilies correctly later. 




Step 6

Squeeze out some Yellow Ochre and mix with the white. Then add this mix to the edge of your pastel blue until you have a very pale green-gold. 




Step 7

Once the blue paint in your canvas is touch dry, place your acetate over it to locate the position of the main lily pads. You can gently mark them in pencil over the blue paint if it will help you. Then, using the green-gold and a size 4 round brush, very loosely mark them out.




Step 8

Quickly blend the lilies using the small fan brush




Step 9

Squeeze out a very small amount of Burnt Sienna. Spread the edge out thinly in your palette and pick up a tiny amount on a clean size 4 round brush. Twirl this around against a clean section of your palette so that you have the tiniest amount of paint along the outside edge of your brush.




Step 10

Using the side edge of your brush, apply the Burnt Sienna to the top right hand corner of the painting. This is known as a dry brush technique. 




Step 11

Work your way around the whole of the top right hand quarter adding Burnt Sienna using the dry brush technique. Notice that except at the very top of the painting, the majority of the brush strokes are directional, with your brush moving from bottom to top. 




Step 12

Continue in the same way for the bottom right. 



Step 13

Now complete the bottom left





Step 14

And the top left.



Step 15

The whole piece should look something like this.




Step 16

Squeeze out a tiny amount of Crimson and using the dry brush technique with the tiniest amount of paint on your brush, scrub over the top right hand quarter of the painting using horizontal strokes. Take care to leave some areas without any red as per the photos.




Step 17

Repeat for the bottom right hand quarter. 




Step 18

More of the same for the bottom left hand quarter.



Step 19

And the top left hand quarter. 




Step 20

Mix Yellow Ochre, French Ultramarine and plenty of Tinting White until you have a green-gold similar to the one in SG 05. Then add a touch more blue to one side of your mix. Use the darker of these colours to add in the green in the top right with your number 4 round brush and the dry brush technique. Occasionally add in some of the lighter green-gold for variety. 



Step 21

Continue in the same way in the bottom right hand quarter. You can use your acetate overlay to help you identify where the vertical strokes need to be.




Step 22

The bottom left hand quarter also uses vertical strokes




Step 23

The top left hand quarter uses horizontal strokes.




Step 24

The whole should look something like this.




Step 25

Add a very subtle layer of Burnt Sienna over the green gold, again using the dry brush technique.




Step 26

Now we’re going to swap to the size 00 round brush and look at the lilies in detail, beginning with the top right section. Using the darker of the green-gold mixes, add in some lowlights.




Step 27

Mix a small amount of Arylamide Yellow Light and Tinting White with the palest of your green gold and use this to add highlights, keeping the lines as vague as possible.




Step 28

Using pure Tinting White on the tip of your size 00 brush, sweep in the white highlights on the lily pads. Next, dab in 3 marks each for the lily flowers on the right hand side.




Step 29

Smudge in a little crimson at the base of the flowers and inside the white sweep on the left hand lily.



Step 30

Moving on to the middle right hand batch of lilies, add Arylamide Yellow Light in a circulare sweeping motion to the lilies that you already have, plus a couple more above.




Step 31

Add pure Tinting White, again in broken circle motions both on and around the lily pads.




Step 32

Pick up a touch of Burnt Sienna and brush most of it off in your palette or on a scrap of paper. Then add in the faintest hint of colour on the top of the middle two lilies.




Step 33

Now we’ll move on to the bottom right lilies. Using the green-gold mix, add lowlights to the lily pads and strengthen the vertical pond weed marks. Add in a touch of pure Yellow Ochre to the centre of the dominant pond weed, again using a vertical brush stroke.




Step 34

Add Tinting White highlights on the lily pads and around to create ripples in the water. Using a mix of French Ultramarine and Tinting White that is slightly darker than your background, paint in lowlights to accentuate the ripples.




Step 35

Let’s move on to the lily pads in the bottom left hand corner. Add a touch of Arylamide Yellow Light to a section of your green-gold to warm it up a bit. Using the tip of your 00 brush add warm lights to the top of the lily pads and then use the side of your dry number 4 brush to scrub in some warmth all around this bottom quarter. Leave some areas without the warmth for contrast and interest.



Step 36

To create a sense of movement around these lily pads use Tinting White to add in ripples and highlights. Next pick up some of your original green-gold and paint this in next to some of your ripples to create depth. Add a touch of French Ultramarine to the green-gold and use this to add depth to some of your other ripples. The most central ripples are given depth by using French Ultramarine mixed with Tinting White that is a shade darker than the background blue.




Step 37

Finally for this section we need to add in the flowers. Pick up a tiny amount of Crimson on your size 00 brush and wipe most of it off against the side of your palette. Then paint in the 5 flowers beginning with the one on the right and working left. The two at the top left are barely there at all. Next add pure Tinting White to create the highlights.



Step 38

Now for the final set of lily pads in the top left hand quarter. Using pure Arylamide Yellow Light and a horizontal stroke with your size 00 brush, add highlights to your lily pads. I found my acetate drawing very useful at this point to confirm where they should be.




Step 39

In the same way as the bottom left lily pads, we need to create movement. Using Tinting White, green-gold and the French Ultramarine/green-gold mix, add ripples and shadows. Most of the brush strokes are horizontal with the occasional wiggle.




Step 40

As before, use tiny amounts of Crimson to dot in the flowers, and then go over parts of the Crimson with pure Tinting White to add highlights and blend in the red. 




Step 41

Moving on to the final set of lily pads at the very top left, use your three shades of green-gold and Tinting White to create the hints of the lily pads. There are no distinct pads here, just greenery and ripples in the water.




Step 42

As before, dot in the Crimson red flowers and then highlight with Tinting White.




Step 43

Take an objective look at your painting. Step back and squint at it, hold it up to the mirror, take a photo of it on your phone or digital camera – any of these techniques help to create some distance between yourself and your work, and usually any errors will jump out at you. Study it carefully and make improvements where necessary. Any areas that are too blue can be toned down with green-gold using vertical strokes and the dry brush technique.




Step 44

Finally, we need to sign the painting. Practice Monet’s signature on a scrap of paper before signing in the bottom right hand corner. Monet used paint but on this scale that would be incredibly difficult so I recommend using pencil. 




And we're done!



If you have a go at any of my painting tutorials I’d love to see your artwork, you can share it in the comments below, on my facebook page or email it to me. 

You can also comment below if you need help with any of these instructions.

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TOP TIPS FOR WORKING WITH ACRYLICS
To make my own stay-wet palette I use a small plastic takeaway box lined with wet kitchen roll on the bottom and greaseproof paper on top. When I leave my paints for any length of time I simply put the lid on and the paints stay workable. 
Always store your brushes flat, never resting on their points as this will damage them (either in or out of your water).
Wash your brush in a series of three water pots, beginning in the dirtiest water pot and working towards the cleanest. You should find that this means that your clean water will stay clean for longer, you will need to change water less often and your colours will not get muddy. Dab your brush on an old rag or piece of kitchen towel before picking up fresh paint. 
Always wash your brushes before leaving them for any length of time. Dried acrylic is difficult to get out of brushes and will ruin the flexibility and point of your brush. 
If you make a mistake, don’t panic! Either wipe it off with a damp tissue or wait until it is touch dry and paint over it.
If paints in your palette begin to form a film, spray with water.
If your paints feel too thick, you can dilute with a small amount of water or a medium such as Atelier Interactive’s Clear Painting Medium. 
If the paint on the brush becomes blobby, clean it and pick up more paint with the tip of the brush.
Remember we’re painting miniatures, you don’t need to squirt out a lot of paint from your tubes, just a pea sized blob at a time will suffice.

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You can see Monet’s water-lilies at The National Gallery, London, and online here http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-monet-water-lilies







Monday, 12 December 2016

Tilly the Guide Dog Puppy

On the 15th of November I became a Guide Dog Puppy Walker - which means that I get the pleasure of caring for a small black labrador puppy until she becomes a large black labrador adolescent of around 12 to 14 months. I have to teach Tilly the ways of the world, make her as bomb proof as I can, and cover off her basic training before she goes on to Guide Dog School. I tell you, it's a steep learning curve for the both of us!

Along the way I shall be recording our journey in a little sketchbook. Here are the first few pages...












Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tutorial: Kandinsky's Swinging Schaukeln 1925 in Miniature

Famous Paintings in Miniature Number 5: Kandinsky's Swinging Schaukeln 1925  

In this, the fifth in my famous paintings in miniature series, I will be showing you how to recreate  Kandinsky's "Swinging" or "Schaukeln" 1925. 



Click on the links below to see other tutorials in this series:






Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was one of the first abstract artists and as such played an important part in the development of modern art. Born on the 16th of December 1866 in Moscow, he attended a classical grammar school and, alongside drawing, learnt to play the piano and cello. He was very moved by both music and art finding both hugely uplifting and he used music a great deal when painting later in life. His parents pushed him towards a career teaching law and economics; it was only when he was aged 30, after seeing a painting of a haystack by Claude Monet in which he could see nothing but shapes and colour, that he chose to give up his successful career to become an artist.

During Kandinsky’s early years as an artist he created landscapes and figures that were fairly impressionistic. It’s only in 1910 that his work takes an abstract turn, using line and form and colour to create many paintings that are only recognisable if you study them. Around 1913 his work becomes completely abstract with explosions of colour and shapes.

The painting that we are going to reproduce in miniature is titled Swinging (Schaukeln), 1925, and is typical of Kandinsky’s style.

Abstract art can be defined as art that does not attempt to represent reality, instead it aims to connect emotionally with the viewer through use of shape, form, colour and texture. In “Swinging” we can see many interlocking shapes and colours; there is order in the chaos. By reproducing this painting we can learn to understand and interpret it for ourselves.

Kandinsky worked this painting on board using oil paints, and the effects that he achieved lend themselves very well to a gouache interpretation. Gouache is an opaque, often chalky, form of watercolour also known historically as body colour. Paper for watercolours comes in 3 different finishes: Not surfaced, Smooth (Hot Pressed) and Rough. To recreate Swinging in miniature we need to use a smooth one.




You will need

- Smooth 300gsm watercolour paper
- Sharp craft knife, cutting mat and steel ruler or a guillotine
- Sharp Pencil and clear ruler
- Size 00 round watercolour brush with a good point
- Size 2 flat brush
- 2 or 3 water pots
- 0.05 nib black drawing pen
- Magnifying glass
- Winsor and Newton Designer Gouache: 
  • Burnt Umber
  • Ultramarine 
  • Primary Blue 
  • Zinc White 
  • Primary Yellow 
  • Yellow Ochre 
  • Permanent Yellow Deep 
  • Primary Red 

Step 1



The actual painting measures 705 x 502mm. To find how big yours needs to be simply divide these measurements by the scale you're working in. On a 1:12th scale, dividing by 12 will give us 59 x 42mm; for 1:16th we need to divide by 16 to get 44 x 31mm; for 1:24th divide by 24 giving 29 x 21mm, and so on.

I'm working at a 1:12th scale.

Using either a guillotine or your steel rule, craft knife and cutting mat, cut out the watercolour paper to the correct size.

Step 2

The drawing for this piece is complex. You can either use a grid, trace, or draw freehand. I have drawn out the main features in black on a red grid for you to copy.

If you choose to use a grid, divide your canvas into 4 x 8 equally spaced sections. They will not be squares since your canvas is rectangular, but I will call them squares for simplicity’s sake. Please draw your grid lines very faintly – the drawing is so complicated that you won’t be able to rub out all of your gridlines later.

Take your time with this step. Starting with the main triangle, place dots on your watercolour paper in the correct squares on your paper. Join the dots with a ruler – I use a clear ruler so that I can see what I’m doing. Methodically moving from one square to its adjoining square, continue to copy the drawing until yours is complete. Try not to be tempted to jump around the grid – it is all too easy to make a mistake when counting squares and very frustrating to find that the drawing doesn’t meet in the middle!

Erase as much of your grid as you can with a very soft eraser. The sizing on the paper is easily damaged so you need to be as gentle as you can – if the sizing is removed the gouache will soak in to the paper and your finished piece will be patchy.









Step 3



For extra precision throughout, especially on the tiny squares, use a magnifying glass. 

Mix Ultramarine with a touch of Burnt Umber in your palette and paint the background on the top left hand corner rectangle using the 00 round brush. Make it bluer and lighter towards the top right hand side of the rectangle. 

I wasn’t quite careful enough with my blue and have lost the white wiggly lines, but I’m not going to worry because unlike watercolour, gouache is an opaque medium and the yellow will cover the blue if it is applied thickly enough – I just need to let the blue dry thoroughly first.




Step 4

Using the darkest mix of Ultramarine and Burnt Umber, paint the top circle. I find that the easiest way to paint a circle is paint the top quarter then turn the paper so that you can paint a new top quarter. Continue turning and painting until you are back at the beginning and have a complete circle. 





Step 5

Working your way around the painting, add in all of the very darkest blues (almost black) using the Ultramarine and Burnt Umber mix. To get a darker mix, add more Ultramarine and Burnt Umber paint – the more pigment, the stronger the colour.




Step 6

Mix some Primary Blue with Zinc White, and separately Mix Zinc White with Ultramarine and a tiny touch of Burnt Umber. Use these two mixes and your size 00 round brush to gently dab and stipple the background, varying the lights and darks as shown. Be very gentle with your brush, the bristles are easily damaged. 




Step 7

Continue with the same two mixes of blue, working around the entire background. Use Titanium White to blend any hard edges.



Step 8

Clean your brush thoroughly and squeeze out a small amount of Yellow Ochre, Permanent Yellow Deep and Primary Yellow into your palette. Add some white on the side by your yellows – it’s always a good idea to keep the white you use for yellow separate to the white you are using for the blues so that you don’t inadvertently make green! Using a combination of the yellows and the white, gently dab and stipple the colour onto the large triangle. Turn the paper as you work so that the point of the brush is against an edge, that way your edges will stay clean and sharp.



Step 9

Using the Permanent Yellow Deep with a touch of Yellow Ochre and Titanium White, paint in the stripes on the right hand side and the small backwards L shape in the centre. With pure Yellow Ochre, add the tiny squares above the L.



Step 10

Using Primary Yellow paint the yellow parts of the bottom half of the painting as per the photo.




Step 11

Pick up some Primary Yellow mixed with a little Titanium White and using your brush sideways add in the line underneath the top right hand triangle. It needs to be slightly wider at the bottom than the top blending into the blue background. 




Step 12

Roughly mix all three yellows together with a touch of Titanium White (this has probably already happened somewhere in your palette) and use this mix to paint in the three wiggly lines in the blue rectangle at the top left. You’ll need to use the paint quite thickly if, like me, your original blue painting wasn’t very precise. Note that each of the three lines has three wiggles in it.




Step 13

Mix Primary Red with Permanent Yellow Deep and paint the orange ball in the top right hand quarter. Add a little more Primary Red to make a deeper orange and dab it gently on to the right hand side of the ball.




Step 14

Using the same mix of orange, paint the soft edged sections attached to the horn shape on the left hand side, giving your brush a little wiggle to make the edges irregular. Next paint the similar soft edged section in the bottom right hand corner, followed by two of the tiny squares in the mid left hand section. Do your best to get sharp edges on the squares but don’t worry if they’re not straight as we will be outlining these in pen later.




Step 15

Add some white to the mix from step 14 and paint the peach circle at the bottom left, the peach background middle left and the peach part of the stepped box in the centre.





Step 16

Using Primary Red paint the circle on the middle left hand side, the four red stripes on the right hand side, and then the central background, keeping the sharp straight edges on the left and soft jagged edges on the right.



Step 17

Add Titanium White to the Primary Red and paint the pink the horn shape on the left and the 2 semi circles on the middle right. Using a variety of the pink and a paler version with more Titanium White added, paint part of the large semi circle at the bottom.



Step 18

Mix a small amount of the pink from step 17 with an equal amount of Primary Blue. Then add more pink to one half and more blue to the other half until you have two different purples. Use the blue shade of purple on the right hand side of the bottom rectangle, and use the pinker shade of purple on the left hand side of the same rectangle. Add some of the pink-purple firstly to the centre sections of the semi circles on the middle right hand side, and secondly to the central top square in the rectangle below the dark blue triangle in the centre.




Step 19

Pick up some Primary Blue and paint the blue section underneath the yellow circle in the bottom left hand corner, then add some dots to the semi circle above it. Work your way around the painting adding in blue to the top of the large semi circle on the centre right, the two horns on the right hand side, the middle sections to the left and right of the dark centre triangle, the tiny square inside the small yellow rectangle in the centre, and 4 of the remaining tiny squares in the bottom centre left shape below the large dark triangle. 




Step 20

Using the Ultramarine, dab in the background to the right of the column with the circles. Mix with a touch of Burnt Umber and gently stipple the large section to the right of the purple rectangle. Make it almost neat Ultramarine blue on the left and very dark blue/almost black on the right hand side. Leave a gap inbetween the two.


Step 21

Using the same dark blue, paint the centre of section to the right of the large pink semi-circle at the bottom. Add some Titanium White and outline the dark centre. Both of these have wiggly imperfect edges.

Using the darkest blue (Ultramarine and Burnt Umber) paint the tops of the horns.



Step 22

Use the same mix with a little extra Titanium White to paint the top of the column on the left hand side, making it paler as you move down the column.



Step 23

Add Titanium White to the darkest blue mix and paint the large grey triangle within the yellow triangle at the top of the piece.



Step 24

Mix Ultramarine and Primary Yellow to make a mid green. Paint the middle of the centre of the large centre-right circle. Wait for it to dry, then paint Primary Yellow over the edge of the green that you have just painted, leaving the outer circle blank. When this is dry, add Titanium White to the green and paint the outer section of the circle. You should end up with a graduated green circle with clearly defined sections.

Move around the background gently stippling in the green areas in varied strengths to the left of the column, with more Titanium White at the bottom of the column. Next paint the centre of the section from step 20 followed by the very centre of the painting.



Step 25

Mix Permanent Yellow Deep, Primary Red and Titanium White until you have a peach colour. Then add a little Burnt Umber to make a light brown. Use this to paint the 2 sides of the lower of the two horizontal bars in the centre-right. Next paint the small section of background above the large pink/blue semi circle and the patch in the centre of the stepped box. Finally, paint the brown section of the horizontal bar at the very bottom of the piece.



Step 26

Pick up some Ultramarine and starting at the left hand side of the large top right hand triangle, paint the first quarter. Continue by outlining the rest of the triangle, and then add some Titanium White to vary the blue.



Step 27

Using pure Titanium White straight out of the tube re-establish any whites that you have lost. For me this is the left hand side of the upper of the two horizontal bars in the centre-right and the tip of the two sharp points that start in the red background. I’ve also noticed that I have missed the right hand side of the same bar which should be Ultramarine, so I’ll do that now too.

Using the grey that we made in step 23 and your size 2 flat brush, paint a thin line along the top , the left hand side and the bottom. There is no line on the right hand side.



Step 28

Take your 0.05mm black drawing pen and add outlines. Use a very smooth ruler for the straight lines. There are no outlines on the large yellow triangle, the thin blue triangle top right, the column on the left, the purple rectangle at the bottom, You’ll be amazed at the difference this step makes!



Practice the signature on a scrap of paper then draw it in the bottom left hand corner.



Finally, take an objective look at your painting. Step back and squint at it, hold it up to the mirror, take a photo of it on your phone or digital camera – any of these techniques help to create some distance between yourself and your work, and usually any errors will jump out at you. Study it carefully and make improvements where necessary.





TOP TIPS FOR PAINTING IN GOUACHE

  • Always store your brushes flat, never resting on their points as this will damage them (either in or out of your water).
  • Gouache is very chalky and opaque. Before changing colours wash your brush in a series of two or three water pots, beginning in the dirtiest water pot and working towards the cleanest. You should find that this means that your clean water will stay clean for longer, you will need to change water less often and your colours will not get muddy.  
  • Watercolours and gouache can very easily form ‘cauliflower’ patterns if you add more water or more paint before the pervious layer has dried. Cauliflowers can be very beautiful in art, but they’re not what we’re looking for here. If you get cauliflowers with gouache don’t panic, just wait for it to thoroughly dry and then paint over it.
  • When you leave your paints you do not need to cover them as it doesn’t matter if your paints dry out. You can reconstitute them very easily by adding a drop or two of water, and it’s a good idea to add a drop to each dried out paint puddle in your palette at the start of each painting session, then it’s ready for you when you need it. 


You can read more about Kandinsky here www.wassilykandinsky.net and see Kandinsky’s “Swinging”, 1925, at The Tate Modern, London, and online here www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/kandinsky-swinging-t02344

If you have a go at following this tutorial, do share your painting with me either here on my blog, on my facebook page Stephanie Guy Fine Art on facebook or by email to StephanieGuyFineArt@gmail.com. And shout up if you need any help, I'm happy to offer advice if I can.