Art Questions, News 2018, Painting, YouTube Channel

Masking Fluid video on You Tube: the full version is up

Hi everyone,

I have an article on masking fluid coming up in the summer issue of Artists & Illustrators magazine. The article is about tips for using fluid in the best ways and I made a video to go with it. I tested 10 different brands of masking fluid live, warts and all, with surprises good and bad.

This is the full version (just over 1/2 hour) but I am also preparing an abridged version. I will let you know when it’s up.

Here is the link to the video:

Happy painting!

Art Tutorials, Gardens, Painting, YouTube Channel

New YouTube video – Watercolour sketches in the garden, 2 blue flowers

I have a new video on my YouTube channel.

Last Bank Holiday week-end, while we were having a mini heatwave, I spent some time in the garden and mixed some colours for forget-me-nots and Violas. It was a sunny, warm and beautiful day. I sat under the birch tree in the dappled shade. It turns out I was also sitting under a pigeon, which I realised half way through the painting. It didn’t feel particularly safe after that discovery…

Here is a link to the video (including the pigeon):

Happy painting!

 

Art Questions, Art Tutorials, Painting

Neutral colours vs. muddy mixes

Some watercolourists seem to find it hard to make the difference between neutral colours (especially browns) and muddy mixes. There is a huge variety of browns that are clean, transparent and without a hint of mud in them, not even the detoxifying cleansing spa kind.

Unlike primary and secondary colours that are found on the rim of the colour wheel, neutral colours sit in the centre. They are obtained when a primary colour is mixed with its opposite secondary colour, also called complementary colour.

Depending on the proportions used, most of these mixes are brown, while some tend towards grey. The main complementary neutral mixes are as follows:

  • Yellow + purple
  • Red + green
  • Blue + orange

All of these mixes are clean neutral colours with a potential to turn to mud…

So what makes the difference between a clean neutral brown and a muddy one?

Here are a few things to avoid if you have to put your wellies on every time you try to mix a neutral colour:

  • Poor quality paints. This first one seems obvious but low quality paints are full of fillers, which are made of various substances (mainly chalk) that affect the saturation levels, transparency and brilliance of the paint. Fillers are used to bulk out the paint, filling the tubes or pans with anything but pigments, which are the most expensive component of the paint. This way the manufacturer saves money and the paints are cheaper. Don’t be tempted by cheap paints, even if the manufacturer calls them “artist range’. If the paint is cheap, the ingredients are cheap.
  • Too many pigments. Try to stick to single pigment paints. Every pigment reflects different sections of the light spectrum and too many pigments will fight each other to death and leave behind a muddy battlefield. Imagine mixing a green made of 4 pigments with an orange made of 3 pigments. This gives you a mix of 7 different pigments and it is bound to turn nasty.
  • Opaque paints. These tend to overwhelm the transparent paints and the washes will lose their transparency and delicate finish.
  • Dense pigments. Some pigments (Cadmiums are a good example) are extremely dense as well as opaque. The other pigments simply cannot compete with them and as a result the mixes become heavy and have too much covering power. The transparency and freshness of the washes is lost.
  • Overworking the paint. It is possible to have a clean neutral mix in the palette but ruining it on the paper by overworking the paint. Browns are especially susceptible to this. If the paint is moved around too much, the layering of the pigment becomes uneven and creates unwanted texture that looks dirty and “tired”.
  • Mixing too much paint. Thick washes are definitely not helping when it comes to keeping colours clean. Make sure to use a small amount of paint with plenty of water. It is safer to layer several washes of thin paint than to apply the colour in one thick wash. Remember this only works with transparent paints.
  • Proportion is the key. Any two colours mixed together can produce an infinity of colours. Try to identify the bias of your neutral colour before you start mixing: is it a blue-biased grey, a red-biased brown, a yellow-biased grey green? This will give you an indication of the proportions. This is important because if the proportions are wrong and the colour not what you were aiming for, it is tempting to add more and more paint until the mix becomes thick and muddy and a mountain of frustration.

If you are having trouble with muddy browns, I would bet that you have been doing one or several of the things above.

Hopefully this will help clean your neutral colours!

Thank you for reading my art blog,

Please like and subscribe…

Happy painting!

Art Questions, Drawing

How to transfer a drawing

If like me you do a lot of erasing before you can be happy with a drawing, then drawing straight on watercolour paper is not really an option. Because botanical painting is cut to white, any trace of erasing, smudging, or marking on the paper will stand out and completely ruin the feeling of freshness that is so desirable when you paint flowers.

An easy way to solve this is to draw first in a sketchbook, trace the drawing and then transfer it to watercolour paper. This gives you some gorgeous sketchbooks to peruse through for years to come, a beautiful record of your work, the comfort to know that there is no pressure and you can erase to your heart’s content, and a clean, smudge-free drawing on your precious watercolour paper. It also gives you a master copy of the drawing, should you mess up the painting and have to start again (it happens…)

What you need:

  • Cartridge paper or sketchbook
  • Tracing paper
  • Tracedown transfer paper (it looks like the old fashioned carbon paper, minus the grease and the wax)
  • Watercolour paper
  • A normal pencil and a coloured one
  • Soft putty rubber (I like the Maped grey putty rubber)

How it works:

  • First you draw your subject, either on cartridge paper or in a sketchbook.
  • Trace the drawing with a normal graphite pencil on tracing paper (the lower quality the better: if it is too thick, the line won’t go through at the next stage)
  • Position your tracing on the watercolour paper and use little bits of soft putty rubber to hold it in place
  • Slide the Tracedown transfer paper between the tracing paper and the watercolour paper, dark side down
  • Using a coloured pencil, go over the drawing
  • Remove the tracing and transfer paper: Tadaaa! You have a clean drawing on the watercolour paper

 

Here is a video I posted on my YouTube channel Flora’s Patch, which shows the whole process:

News, News 2017

Article in Artists & Illustrators Magazine – Parrot Tulip Masterclass

Hello everyone,

The April issue of A&I Magazine is out, with my Apricot Tulip Masterclass on a 4 page spread. I always find it exciting to see my paintings published…

There are 2 other botanical artists’ tutorials in the issue, by Fiona Swapp and Mariella Baldwin. So if you like botanical art, this is an issue worth investing in!

I’m off to West Dean College on Sunday, to run a 4 days residential course, painting spring flowers. Tulips, Hyacinths, daffodils, anemones, primroses, snowdrops and hellebores are on the programme…

Have a lovely week-end everyone,

Happy painting!

Save

Art courses, Art Tutorials, News, News 2016, Painting

Botanical Bites – my new painting series

holly-cropOn this brisk and sunny Sunday afternoon I should be outside enjoying the fresh air and doing some gardening… But I went clubbing on Friday night and went to an ice-hockey match last night. Two late nights in a row, I’m too old for this. So today, I am sprawled out on the sofa in front of the fireplace, making some crochet snowflakes instead of enjoying the plein air.

I also started a new series on Instagram called Botanical Bites.

I will regularly upload short videos showing painting in action.

I have just uploaded the first one, the painting of a wet-in-wet holly berry. All videos are less than one minute long, just a little bite, easy to swallow! Here is a link: https:www.instagram.com/sandrinemaugy

Every so often I will gather a few bites together and make a video for my YouTube channel.

Let me know what you think. Do you like the idea?

Happy painting!

 

Save