Here to Ignite, Encourage and Inspire your Creative Flame
Please note: some items are repeated for the benefit of new subscribers. Thank you 😊
Hey there my friends I hope you’re all keeping well and warm. Sorry that I haven’t posted a more up to date newsletter, life sure gets in the way of living sometimes eh. This is my second draft of this newsletter due to having Gremlins residing in my website lol. Thankfully all seems well now thanks to Barry my website host – you’re a star and truly appreciated for all you do.
Okay grab a coffee, or beverage of your choice, and lets take some time together for a long overdue catch up. Now where to begin? Let me start by sharing what’s on my studio easel at the moment:
For those of you who know me well you’ve more than likely come to the conclusion that I really do enjoy working in a variety of mediums. My choice is sometimes made by the subject I want to paint or draw, and sometimes dictated by tuition and workshop dates I have booked in my diary. Next Saturday (25th November) I have my next Wildlife-inspired Pastel Workshop at WWT Martin Mere. I therefore had to choose a suitable subject for the day. I feel that this Lynx portrait encompasses everything that participants want to practise on a day’s pastel tuition. A simple and slightly out of focus background makes a great contrast to the finer detailed work of the Lynx’s eyes and fur. Also luminous colour in lifelike eyes is something that previous participants have been asking for in future workshops, so I’m hoping that this project will tick all of the boxes so to speak.
Now for those of you who love to draw and paint, or wish to start an artistic adventure, but are unable to join me in person, I’ve something for you too. I’m pleased to say that I’ve a whopping four new videos for you:
The first of these videos is all about the wonderful watercolour field easel by Meeden. To be honest I wasn’t expecting too much, not because Meeden doesn’t make quality art products, far from it, but because when I began unboxing the easel it was so very light weight. Wow was I surprised. This little field easel is absolutely perfect. Compact and light, and totally adjustable for different sitting and standing heights. A perfect design and made from durable materials. I’m in no way getting paid to say any of this, but hope that my testimony to it and the fact that it will be the easel of my choice to accompany me to the arctic next year, says it all.
This easel would also be wonderful if you create artwork at home but have a limited space to do so xXx
The second video is a must for all who have ever looked at a sheet of white paper and thought ‘where do I start?’ Yes we’ve all been there. It’s also for those who already have watercolour paints, or are looking to get some, but are unsure of ‘how to start’. When having these thoughts, several things can occur. For some people just those unsure feelings can be enough to dim a creative flame and that is such a shame. Some people feel that until they know what to do they’ll just be ‘wasting their materials’ – believe me when I say that the only ‘wasted art materials’ are the ones that are never used.
In this following video I explore the world of ‘spontaneous watercolour painting’. A style that allows complete freedom and therefore takes away the pressure of painting that perfect something. Let me tell you there is no such thing as perfect when it comes to art. There’s no perfect drawing, no perfect painting and no perfect artist. There isn’t even a perfect way of going about something either. Art is a journey and it’s meant to be enjoyed.
So what is ‘spontaneous watercolour painting’? It’s simply applying watercolour paint to a wetted or partially wetted piece of paper and letting the paint just do it’s thing. Working with a limited palette helps (just a few colours are required which makes it ideal for beginners too). Once the paint is applied, just sit back with a coffee (yes another lol) and watch as shapes and colours appear. This is when the magic happens. Relax and let your imagination wander. You may see the shapes of mountains or trees, flowers or animals. Once you do you can begin to lightly detail these parts of the painting if you wish, or you can just leave it as it is. It’s entirely up to you. During this video I also get the opportunity to test and review a wonderful little watercolour travel brush set that was sent to me by a company called Fuumuui (yes that’s the correct spelling lol). The brushes worked really well and I’ll definitely be using them in conjunction with the above travel easel soon.
The third video ‘Reindeer in Watercolour’ builds on the previous technique.
In this video I begin by masking out the Reindeer then painting watercolour in a spontaneous style for the background. I use the same limited palette of colours as in the above video, this ensures that I already know the resulting colours and hues when they begin to merge and mingle on the wettened paper. Once the background has dried I then remove the masking film that’s covering the reindeer and begin to add translucent washes of colour, slowly building up the layers adding hues of colour and altering the tones and contrast as I go. To finish this little project a spattering of white gouache (opaque watercolour) is applied – I feel this added a little movement and extra atmosphere to the painting.
I’ve been creating art for over 50 years but I still get excited when I think of something new to try (think of art as a journey and not a destination), video number four started out as an experiment. I mixed a little Indian ink with some washing up liquid (Fairy liquid is ph neutral) and using a straw blew lots and lots and lots of bubbles lol. When the bubbles were left on the paper the ink sank in and stained the paper’s surface. I chose the little lizard to paint on top as I thought the vibrant colours would create a good amount of contrast against the diffused colouration of the background. I chose to paint the lizard in acrylic for a couple of reasons, the first being the vibrant colours and secondly I needed a medium which was opaque enough to conceal the background colour beneath. I hope you enjoy watching this video and the others too.
For those of you interested in knowing more about next year’s proposed Arctic Expedition I’m pleased to say that the initial building blocks of my new website page are now in place. Wildfoot Travel are busy working on their new webpage for this venture, so hopefully it wont be too long until both pages and the widget below (for my homepage) will be going live. More news on this coming soon.
Passengers will be able to experience the majestic landscapes and unique flora & fauna of an Arctic expedition as I did in August, plus if they wish, they can draw, paint or sketch along with me during the more relaxed times of their voyage. The dates are now set as above and I’ll keep you informed of any change, plus I’ll be sure to let you know when both mine and Wildfoot Travel’s new pages go live.
🎨 Saturday 25th November – just one week left to book your place on my latest wildlife-inspired pastel art workshop, limited places, beginners welcomed – line art provided. Note: materials NOT included. (50% of proceeds going straight back into conservation):
Suggested art supplies for a pastel workshop:
Wildlife Art Workshops for 2023
£60 per person (materials not included)
All workshops are held at Martin Mere Wetland Centre and 50% of all proceeds go straight back into conservation.
|January 21st 2023||Watercolour||Postponed|
|February 25th 2023||Pastel||Red Panda|
|March 25th 2023||Watercolour||Fox in Snow|
|April 22nd 2023||Pastel||Postponed|
|May 20th 2023||Watercolour||Toucan|
|June 24th 2023||Pastel||Kingfisher|
|August 26th 2023||Watercolour||postponed|
|September 23rd 2023||Pastel||Polar Bear|
|October 21st 2023||Watercolour|
|November 25th 2023||Pastel||Lynx|
My preferred materials for the the pastel & watercolour workshops:
|Preferred Pastel materials:||* Clairefontaine Pastelmat Paper (I rarely use anything else now)|
* larger sheets are available and can be easily cut to size (this is what I do)
* Carbothello Pastel Pencils are a must have in my studio, available individually or in different set sizes
* Derwent Pastel Pencils are soft with a wide range of colours, available individually or in different set sizes, ideal for covering larger areas with their thicker pigment core
* Mungyo Soft Pastels – an affordable way to cover larger areas of a painting, and for adding base coats for your pencils to go on top of
* Pan Pastels – my ‘go to’ soft pastel choice, available individually or in sets, 92 colours in total
|Preferred Watercolour materials:||* 140lb (or heavier) Hotpress or Coldpress watercolour paper |
* 9″ x 12″ minimum size (buying larger sheets is preferable as they can then be cut down to size)
* Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolours are a great paint to get started with (I still use them for sketches etc)
* A variety of brushes, sizes & shapes, made from golden taklon which is a synthetic material. Here’s a link to the affordable W&N Cotman set.
* A white mixing palette or a white plate will do
Workshops alternate between Watercolour and Pastel, but feel free to bring along any art medium you wish if the subject is something you would like to create from. All workshops are suitable for beginners. More information can be found over on our exclusive Art Workshop page on the Martin Mere website as well as on the Workshop page of my website. If participants would like further mediums or subjects added then extra dates can be slotted in to suit. So if your passion is coloured pencil or you love acrylic or oil painting then just let me know.
This Kingfisher project was the subject for June 2023 art workshop over at WWT Martin Mere Wetland Centre.
|Global Bird Fair||14th – 16th July 2023|
|Exhibition of Wildlife Art||28th – 30th July 2023|
|Arctic Expedition||31st July – 11th August 2023|
|North West Birdwatching Festival||14th -15th October 2023|
Global Birdfair – an international three day event – Join a community of nature lovers and birdwatchers from around the world as we gather to make a difference to Conserving Nature Worldwide. Lectures, demonstrations, art exhibitions, holiday destinations, authors, photographers, Global Birdfair auction, optics companies including Nikon, Viking Optical, Zeiss & Swarovski Optik – there really is something for everyone at this annual event that attracts thousands of people from across the globe. Global Birdfair will take place at Rutland Showground, Oakham, Rutland UK. LE15 7TW
Exhibition of Wildlife Art – ‘an exciting three day show featuring the work of some of the world’s most talented wildlife artists. The biggest and most successful, open selling, exhibition of Wildlife Art outside of London. All exhibited work is for sale and many artist demonstrate whilst there.’
Arctic Expedition – ‘Take a cruise around Spitsbergen and explore the icy waters of the North Atlantic. This special expedition offers you the chance to catch site of whales, reindeer, Arctic foxes, walruses, seals, and the star attraction, the polar bear.’
North West Birdwatching Festival – Open at 8am, start your day by watching the spectacle of thousands of wild geese leave the roost before heading for breakfast in the Martin Mere restaurant. Over the two day there will be an array of guest speakers and exhibitors, artists and photographers including photography workshops, guided reserve walks, and more. I’ll be exhibiting and demonstrating throughout the weekend and would love you to drop by and say hello.
Q. Should I spray my pastels with something to keep them in place?
A. Hi there Sophie, thank you for your question. An easy way to make a background recede in a painting is to make it look out of focus, then apply finer detail to anything you want to draw the viewers eye to be drawn to, such as the little hedgehog in the video below. Also you could try adding cooler colours to the background and warmer colours to the foreground/subject, this also creates a sense of distance between the two elements. I hope this helps xXx
I may not always have a video on my YouTube channel to go alongside a subscriber’s question, but when I do I’ll be sure to add it.
Okay folks that’s it for me for today. Thank you once again, as always my friends, for spending some time with me today, and please feel free to leave a question or suggestion in the contact form below.
Wishing you all the best, until next time, as always, stay safe and stay creative, Kerry xXx
Questions & Suggestions welcomed