Out from the mud of a different kind

Often after prolonged rain I can be found squelching about in muddy gardens.

While the rain hammers down outside,  I am to be found inside trying my best to avoid creating mud of a different kind with my watercolours

In January 2019 after a long break from watercolours and a forthcoming New Zealand road trip later that year I made the decision to practice as much as possible this tricky and often unpredictable medium. My goal was to be able to simplify the landscape and become comfortable and proficient enough to create spontaneous plein air sketch book memories of our road trip.

0382CF06-D8E6-42EF-866F-F93BD2BFEB30 My first effort resulted in a muddy overworked painting that resembled oils and not lovely transparent watercolour!

Back in January 2018 I had ventured into the medium of oils. After an enjoyable six week beginners course – I will one day return – for me the kit needed was not conducive to packing light to climb a mountain.

It was obvious I was still painting in oils style and needed a fresh approach.  Three of my 
oils below show how little my watercolour left differed.

A few Watercolour paintings in it was clear I needed help, my efforts although slightly less heavy were dull and uninspiring.

Luckily for me an easy distance away I found a tutor in Wimborne Dorset at Affordable Studio Art. Suzanne and Peter offer a wide range of art courses and workshops for all abilities. After initial inquires It was suggested I book on the improvers course with Suzanne.

Sue did not disappoint and with only two of us booked on the course it was like having a private tutor! The first session we practised lots of wet in wet using just one or two colours. For someone like me more used to a controlled style of painting this was exciting and scary in equal measure. Over the three weeks amongst other things we covered washes, negative painting, perspective and shadows.

The great thing about the studio aside from the steady supply of tea and biscuits was the relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Sue was always encouraging and happy to adapt the lesson to areas we were each keen to develop. My interest in capturing landscapes was broken down and we worked on the separate aspects – skies, trees, foliage and distant horizons always in a loose simple style. 

Aside from all the technical elements Sue covered one main thing that has really helped me going forward is ‘to just paint, anything, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, mistakes are learning’. Thank you Sue @affordablestudioart

One year on I had the confidence to get my watercolours out Plein air wherever we found ourselves on our recent road trip in stunning New Zealand, even up a mountain!
Up in The Clouds     






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