Watercolour

My favourite medium over the past 35yrs has been watercolours. I began to paint with them in my late teens and haven't stopped since. I think the medium just lends itself to Orkney and with a bit of practice you can really make the paint work for you! Watercolour skies are wonderful as in the pictures of sunsets especially. I use a wet on wet technique which intails lightly wetting your stretched watercolour paper with a sponge and then dropping on wet paint with a brush, as the paint dries you can build up the colour to make the subject quite vibrant. In the early days customers would often say that they always thought the medium of watercolours was rather insipid and only used for sketching  the 'proper' oil painting which was to follow. I think probably that book Illustration, which was the subject I trained in at art school, changed that idea, especially childrens book illustration. I like to use the paint strongly with lots of depth of colour. This doesn't mean thickly but mixing the colours in such a way as to enhance them. Some colours such as Indigo blue and Ultramarine will 'granulate' when mixed which also adds texture into a picture.

I never use white or black watercolour paint as I save the white paper for the whites by masking out with masking fluid and painting around the subject to leave the white paper. I think black should always be mixed as there are hundreds of shades of black. Indigo blue and vermillion make good blacks and I love the greys you get with Cerulean blue and a touch of vermillion. When it comes to green I am very fond of Sap green, I call it my Orkney green, the colour of the fields. I always think that Hookers green is the colour of trees and we don't have many of them here! Indian yellow is also a favourite colour of mine, you can mix it  in with other colours and it won't go green, if you are carefull when mixing with blue. I never really pay much attention to if a colour is opaque or transluscent, I just use them all together to create the colour I want at the time of painting.

Watercolours are also great for painting with outdoors on location as they are fairly simple to set up, you just need your'e box of colours, I am partial to Winsor and Newton Artists colour, a couple of sable brushes, stretched paper on a board or pad and a bottle of water. I also have a sketching stool which I treasure as my dad bought me it 30yrs ago. The weather of course in Orkney does not always lend itself to painting outdoors but you can always sit in the car! I must admit though that I do work in my studio a lot these days. I just find it less stressfull as you have everything around you to hand, especially when doing the mixed media work that I do now.

The watercolour collection on this website is by far the biggest collection as I have probably spent over 20yrs just concentrating on that medium. I hope you enjoy seeing them all.