Monday, May 14, 2012

A New Angle on the Stacks

The Coastline at Duncansby Head
Watercolour
25 x 36cm



In the usual tourist view of the rock stacks at Duncansby Head (*) they look pyramid-shaped. However from further along the cliffs they can be seen to be quite thin ridges of rock, almost two-dimensional in appearance.

The colours were from the same primary palette that I used for the last painting.

* link

From the collection of HRH The Prince of Wales.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Experiments with Colour

Sunshine in the Lairig Ghru
Watercolour
25 x 36 cm



One thing I've been experimenting with recently is choice of colours. I've always used a palette built around a selection of earth colours, but I was wondering whether I was getting a bit lazy with colour-mixing. It's all too easy to find yourself using a few favourite mixes and not exploring the full range of your palette.

I decided to try using a primary colour palette of just six colours, which would force me to mix them together for the secondaries and tertiaries. I already had most of the colours I needed except for a red-orange. As I have also been trying out Rembrandt watercolours, I chose Permanent Orange from that range. Unfortunately that wasn't quite red enough and made greenish mixes with Ultramarine, whereas Burnt Sienna makes warm greys. I think Vermilion might have been a better choice. My palette of six colours was as follows:-

Winsor Yellow - Winsor and Newton
Permanent Orange - Rembrandt
Quinacridone Rose - Rembrandt
Ultramarine Deep - Rembrandt
Pthalo Blue (Green) - Rembrandt
Winsor Green (Yellow Shade) - Winsor and Newton

Looking at the painting I don't think the different palette made much difference. I found that I was just mixing the primaries to make the same earth colours, which also made the process slower. I think it shows that it's not the palette that's important, but the way that you use it. I suppose I'm more of a tonal painter than a colourist and maybe it's too late to change now.

I found that the Rembrandt watercolours were good quality and nice to use. They are significantly cheaper than Winsor and Newton, so I will continue to try them for a while.