Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010

Most of us will be saying 'farewell' to 2010 with some mixed emotions. The year has passed all too quickly but nevertheless has been enjoyable. Leaving out the world news and statistics - you can read those elsewhere - what's left? I guess that if we each tried to leave the year a better person and the world a better place than when it started we have done ok.
For me lots of exploration of lifestyle, some major decisions, some developing of new skills, met some wonderful people, got involved in some new activities, had some great times with family and friends, saw some new places ....  and more.
Watercolour Wanderings was established in an attempt to keep up with technology and now there is a Facebook page!

On the painting front I exhibited paintings in three art shows [reaching one of my goals for 2010], received a 'People's Choice' Award and sold three paintings [both beyond my expectations this time last year].

What about 2011? Continue to exhibit in art shows, continue to develop new skills, dare to try some new subjects, adjust to retirement [whatever that means!]

As you read this know that my prayer for you is that 2011 will be a wonderful year of discovery for you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Watercolour Painting

I have just about finished a new watercolour painting. I've called this one 'safe in his hands'. There's a bit of a theme happening here!  You may remember 'In Safe Hands' from an October post.
This latest painting seeks to tell the story of a grandfather and his grandchildren standing on a dock looking out for ducks or swans. He's anxious to make sure they don't fall in the water but wants them to explore and not be afraid. Letting go is as important as holding on - knowing when to do either is where real wisdom is needed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Watercolours ready for Show

I have prepared and framed two paintings for the Rotary Club of Sorrento Art Show next month. The show starts on Friday 7 January and concludes on 15 January. The two paintings I have entered are 'A Hard Days Night' and 'In Safe Hands'. There is a certain amount of trepidation in presenting paintings for shows - but the challenge is worthwhile and I'm keen to get some feedback on my progress. I will post better photos of these paintings at a later date.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Watercolour - Hard Days Night

At last! yesterday I completed 'A Hard Days Night'. Sometimes it felt as if the painting of it was a hard days night.
The painting came about after we spent one wet, cold April evening in the city. The illuminated Parliament buildings seemed to glow in the darkness and were reflected in the wet pavement and roadway. Most people had already gone home but a few stragglers were still leaving work. The empty chairs and empty tables exposed to the rain were not the least bit inviting and maybe indicated a hard days trading for the cafe owner.
A Hard Days Night Watercolour
Malcolm Lowe 2010
55cm x 35cm

The painting is now framed and ready for the art show in January [more of that later]

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Framing Watercolours

Today I collected some framing material for the two paintings I've entered into the Rotary Club of Sorrento Art Show in January [more of that later]. I always buy my framing material from Gary and the crew from FrameCo in Nunawading. Earlier this year I attended on of their framing courses and found it really helpful in understanding what is involved in Framing. Dianna is a very encouraging teacher and has been extremely helpful whenever I have a question or in putting together an order for me.

Whenever I now visit an exhibition I find myself spending as much time examining the framing as much as the painting. But I am learning a lot from watching how others solve some of the problems I also come across.
The FrameCo website is very helpful too with tips and suggestions for framing - Free 'how-to' notes, video segments and so on. The SmartFramer section is especially helpful in allowing "try-before-you-buy" matting and framing combinations. Gary and his team go out of their way to help make framing your own work as easy as possible.
You may want to have a look at their site for yourself so click here to have a look. I will also add a link to my list of sites to visit.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Books for Watercolour Artists

When I began this wonderful journey with watercolour I took a book from the library to see what it was all about and how to start. I'm not sure I remember the book title but it began a love of books relating to all things watercolor.
The range of books to do with watercolour is huge. Not only did I exhaust the local library but worked my way through the library branches in our area and then moved on to libraries in the region.
I soon ran out of 'new' books borrow and began to buy watercolour books for myself. I now have a library of my own!
In the beginning I found books really helpful as a guide to painting - tools, materials, techniques and so on. Later I looked for specific and more advanced techniques and different painting styles. I must admit this was a confusing time as I tried the different approaches each artist described.
I'd like to share some of my books with you on a regular basis so look out for the Watercolour Book Review pages.
If you have a favourite Watercolour book I'd love to hear about it.

Just to whet your appetite one of the books I'm reading at the moment is by American Watercolour artist, Nita Engle. She has a book with the title "How to make Watercolor Paint Itself"  If ever there was an enticing book title this is it! Sad to say the watercolour masterpiece doesn't magically appear without any input from the artist and Nita Engle is a master with years of experience. Anyhow watch out for the review or, if you can't wait you can get your own copy here

Monday, November 8, 2010

Watercolour - The Technical bits

I've really appreciated the technical side of watercolour. The way the pigment is distributed by the water, the density of the water/pigment mix, the dampness of the paper and the way in which it all interacts is both a mystery and a marvel. I'm told that experience and years of practice ['brush miles' says artist Malcolm Beattie] is what lessens the mystery.
One website that really helps and is a wonderful resource is Handprint This excellent site contains some of the most helpful information about pigments, setups and history.Bruce MacEvoy is the author of Handprint and his explanations are extensive and easy to follow.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Watercolour - In Safe Hands WIP 4

Have managed to make some progress since the last post. I have learned so much from this painting and realise that I like this human interest type of subject.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Watercolour - In Safe Hands WIP 3

Here's the next step. Continuing to work on the male figure.

New Watercolour - 'In Safe Hands' 2nd step

Here's the next step in the progress of 'In Safe Hands'. This is a watercolour on a half sheet of Arches 300 cold pressed watercolour paper. The paints are from a Holbein limited palette, the brushes are Escoda synthetic.
Have started to work on one of the figures in this step - flesh tones are so unique and difficult to apply. I think that the chin is not quite right and the dark of the jaw line is too hard - he does not have a beard. 
I have used a tripod for these photos but now need to work on better lighting as you can see a difference between this photo and the one for the previous step. Your comments and critique is welcomed - don't hold back.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Watercolour - 'In Safe Hands'

Some months ago Yvonne and I looked through some old 35mm slides and came across a set taken whilst on holidays with family. One photo stood out enough for me to want to paint it. Imagine a warm afternoon, children playing, running, noise, inevitable childish disputes - and then time for a nap.
Yvonne captured this special moment with her brother and his daughter resting on a sun lounger. The focus is definitely the child peeking over her father's arm.
Here's stage one [I missed taking a photo of the drawing].
I'll show the next steps tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Paintings shown with Jalbum

I have decided to display my paintings in an album here Please feel free to have a look and leave a comment.

Watercolour Wanderings Listed on Top Artists Directory

I have enjoyed looking at the work of other artists and getting to know them through their work. Not only that, but seeing just how many people are painting. Some say that paining and being an artist is a lonely business - but as I sit [or stand] and paint I reflect on just how many people around the world are doing exactly the same thing at that moment.
Just recently my blog was listed in the Top Artists Directory where there are many links to other artists. You may like to discover some new faces for yourself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Watercolour Forums

I took a dive in at the deep end and submitted "End of the Day at Duck Arm" to the Wetcanvas Watercolour Forum. The response was overwhelming. Many positive comments and encouraging remarks. There's no doubt that the vast majority of people I've come across since beginning painting are wonderfully suppportive people.

You might like to have a look and share my joy:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Back to it

No posts for the past couple of weeks as we've been travelling.
Yvonne and I have been to Canberra and have traveled over the mountains to Eagle Point and will finally arrive home at the weekend. It was good catching up with Jon and Laura whilst we were in Canberra.
It's amazing how we start with good intentions of painting along the way but ......
We have taken lots of photos that will end up as paintings at some stage.
I'm looking forward to posting a new painting on our return.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

First Sales ...

I am delighted and surprised that I have sold my first paintings. Over the past weekends I have entered five paintings in three local art shows - and sold two of them!
One was the "End of the Day at Duck Arm" posted on the 15th September. The other is this one "Racing for Home at Safety Beach"
Racing for Home at Safety Beach
36cm x 25cm
The inspiration for this painting came during a time my wife, Yvonne, and I paused at Safety Beach after a wonderful day of visiting some of the bay beaches. It was late in the afternoon and the sky had turned from bright sunshine to dark and cloudy, the winds had strengthened to stormy. We watched the last of the sail boats race to the shore as thunder and lightening began across the bay. The rain began to fall but the sun forced a patch of light on the water which seemed to become a pathway for the yachts racing for home at Safety Beach.
Our life experience has shown us that, despite seemingly peaceful days, storms sometimes suddenly appear and threaten to swamp us without warning. In times like those it is a wonderful thing to have a place of refuge and safety to race home to. A place where loved ones wait to welcome us home; a place where we can stop and rest, gather our thoughts and prepare to go out again.
Those who provide such a place are treasured and those who have such a place to go are blessed indeed. 
Everyone needs such a place.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Displaying Watercolour Paintings on the web

After looking at that last post 'Watercolour Painting "End of the day at Duck Arm"' I realise that the photographing and displaying of the images is very important in order to show them at their best. I used a Pentax K200D at the highest resolution. The painting was placed on the ground in indirect sunlight and I photographed it standing over the painting. Clearly, there must be a better way!
I'm keen to hear of any feedback and suggestions to improve what I'm doing. How do you take photos to display your work?
So, now to do a web search to see what I can find.......

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Watercolour Painting "End of the day at Duck Arm"

I guess that having a blog called Watercolour Wanderings means that I have to show you some of my paintings.
 There's no doubt that showing people what has become very personal, such as a painting, is not easy. Some deep reflective introspection will probably discover why this is so - but we don't have time for that.
 So here is one of my recent paintings of friends as they returned from a day's sailing. Duck Arm is part of the Gippsland Lakes system in Victoria, Australia.

Title "End of the Day at Duck Arm"


36.0cm x 25.5cm

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Post on the journey

Welcome to the first posting to the Watercolour Wanderings Blog.
Why write a Blog I hear you mumble!
Well, why not.
I've been painting watercolour since early 2009 when looking to develop a new hobby that would last me a few years.......
Having always being interested in watercolour paintings the most logical place to start a painting hobby
[so it seemed to me] was with watercolour. It's amazing how many people in the years since have said "Why did you pick the most difficult medium to start painting?"
True enough - watercolour is difficult - frustrating - challenging and yet most rewarding.
This Blog is an attempt to chart and record the journey since that start back in January 2009.
There's a bit of catching up to do to get to the start of this Blog in September 2010 - but I'll make a summary of the journey so far in another Blog post. After all there's only so much of "@^$%, that didn't work!" you can read in one sitting.
By the way - if you are also on this watercolour journey and happened to have stumbled across this Blog please let me know. It's always good to know we travel with friends.
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