I’m not a great fan of charts and competitions. Even ‘the fastest runner’ or ‘the team that scored most goals’ seem fairly nonsensical and, when it comes to spheres like art or music, it makes no sense at all to me to try and pick out the best of the best. However, I can’t deny that a certain level of judgement is valid and, to that end, I’ve been looking back over the thirty paintings I produced during June for the 30x30directwatercolor project.
I’d still struggle to pick out a ‘winner’ but there are ones that I’m very pleased with and others that I’d be more inclined to categorise as ‘meh’. I do think that switching up to better paper made a difference to the quality of the end result and also how much I enjoyed painting them. That said, one of my favourites (a shortlist of nine) was from my last day with the lightweight paper of the sketchbook (the Bible, with its simple colour palette and textured surface effect).
More of my favourites are found in the second half of the month than the first half, like the Garden Meadow (where masking tape helped me capture the brilliant yellow of the flowers in an unmown section of lawn) and the vibrancy of the second attempt at the Loughborough Terrace scene. Then again, sometimes earlier pieces were stronger (compare self portrait #1 and #2). Sometimes, that is down to the time I had available and sometimes a particular piece just flowed or struggled.
It was a worthwhile exercise though and I’ve got, if nothing else, ten or more new paintings I will be happy to give wall space to. Meanwhile, before next June, I’ll see if I can produce more both direct and with whatever level of underdrawing and overpainting I care to use.
We were up in the local wolds this afternoon, near Wymeswold. I’ve discovered a Leicestershire-focused site called Choose How You Move, where I found the Wymeswold Parish Walks file under the walking section.
As is often the case, following the route took a little guesswork but it does include a map down to the level of field boundaries so, as long as you can remember how many fields you’ve gone through, it isn’t too hard to figure out where you probably are.
It was relatively level although with a few rough patches and probably hard going after wet weather. I think the best spot was probably in the middle of this map, when you can look roughly south west and see the land rolling all the way down to Loughborough and beyond to Beacon Hill and its neighbours.
A lot of the places we might normally take a trip to visit, like gardens and country houses, are beginning to open up but often still require booking in advance for a limited time slot. That is understandable but it makes them less appealing for now. However, one of our nearest RHS partner gardens, Bluebell Arboretum and Nursery, has been freely open since early June. We went there last month and decided to take another trip back this morning.
As I did last time, I fired up Procreate on my iPad and got on with image making. Here, the scene was a bridge over a long pond. I started with a dark background and then a layer where I applied large blocks of colour using a textured brush. Then it was a case of working on particular areas, each on its own layer.
Layering is a particular feature of digital art compared to most traditional media. Each layer interacts visually with the others but the marks don’t directly change those on other layers. This allows more freedom in what order to work on things – for example, I added the mid-ground bridge after I’d finished the bushes and grasses in the foreground. However, it can also be more sterile, reducing the potential for happy accidents as different sets of marks combine with each other to create new forms.
I tried to maintain a middle way, working on several layers but using a range of brushes and colours on each – for example the light and dark across the bottom of the bridge created by hatching with an ‘ink’ tool and then smudged together.
All put together, it isn’t a photographic result but I am pleased with its overall expressiveness.
Having mainly been writing about the watercolour paintings I did during June means there are loads of other things I’ve not mentioned – such as the ongoing videos I have continued to produce for church. Although I finished doing a worship video for each weekday after the first week of June, I’m still putting out three of those a week as well as cutting together the Sunday morning main service and Wednesday morning toddlers’ church sessions and that means I’m getting a lot of practise and continuing to learn.
Looking back over June, I think this was one of my favourites:
This was produced with the toddlers in mind. I had a bluegrass / uptempo country feel in mind although it came out on a path heading towards rockabilly. The singing could have been better but I’m producing these on quite a limited time budget. The instrumental side (“acoustic guitar” and “banjo” both from my Variax, six string bass and a Logic drummer) was fun though and what I was particularly pleased with was the video.
Firstly, I created and animated couple of simple shapes within HitFilm Express, which feels like a useful building block for the future. Secondly, I was delighted with how the background came out. Trade secret: it isn’t a real galaxy but a picture I took of an unwashed cereal bowl a while ago. However, I figured out how to centre the rotation on the main splodge and the result is pleasingly cosmic.
So, what do I post about now that I’m not doing a daily watercolour painting? Hmmnn…
I’ll see if I can figure that out by tomorrow but I’ll try not to take such an extended break from watercolour painting as I did after the previous 30x30directwatercolor challenge! You might get a run of a day or two without fresh paintings though.
It is recognisably human (although with hints of Neanderthal and the Simpsons’ Springfield – d’oh!) but I think less recognisably me than my either my yellow and violet attempt earlier this month or the one I did with the same pair of colours in my similar project a couple of years ago. This time I used Sennelier Chinese Orange and Ultramarine Blue; I’m not sure if I used exactly the same on the first one but it would have been an ultramarine and something orange.
I should have left more white on the page. Nevermind – although not my best this month, I’ve had some decent paintings. I won’t be painting with such frequency in the coming year but hopefully more than I did when I finished the 2018 project.
I volunteered to do the craft activity on this week’s Toddler Church video. I’ve still got to cut this segment and the whole service together but I decided to do part of it with watercolour and count it towards the 30x30directwatercolor project (final day tomorrow!).
I’m not suggesting the toddlers break out the watercolours but drawing round feet on a sheet of paper is approachable for everyone and the results can be coloured with whatever they have to hand. They don’t need to colour between the lines either – I’m giving them freedom to have fun with it, just like I did in my piece.