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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alison Board Demonstrates Watercolours with a Difference

 Alison enjoys a reputation as an experimental watercolour artist. She has used many different kinds of art materials since working in an art shop. She loves combining them with watercolour in unusual ways. A list of the materials that she used in the demonstration appears at the end of this article.

Alison prefers to allow the painting to develop without controlling it too much: ‘Don’t have an end result in mind, then you will not be disappointed’. She asks two questions at the beginning: ‘What does the subject need in order to bring it to life?’ and ‘What do I fancy using today?’                                                

We were surprised to see her begin by tracing the daisy heads from her photograph using a biro - but they were very simple shapes. A Maskaway eraser removed unwanted marks left by the tracing paper.                      

Alison’s usual palette consists of three ‘cold’ colours, in this case: Daniel Smith Prussian blue, cobalt violet and green gold plus one additional colour. She avoids mixing colours or overworking a painting. “Brushing the paint into the surface of the paper results in ‘dead’ colours.” She applied splashes of prussian blue and­­ green gold wet-in-wet and allowed them to run down. She said that half the fun of painting is ‘the unexpected’.                               

Demonstrating one of her favourite techniques – incorporating quotes or printed paper – Alison pasted strips from a map of the Totton area onto the paper using Bindex adhesive below and above them. She brushed Daniel Smith’s Watercolour Ground over and around parts of the strips. This enabled her to paint over an otherwise water-repellent surface. Watercolour Ground is very useful for increasing texture, making cut edges less noticeable or covering a painted area. It enables watercolours to be used on glass, metal, plastic and other surfaces.

Green gold watercolour was used for the daisy centres, followed by a clear wax resist stick over them instead of masking fluid. Brusho powder was brushed around the daisy petals and sprayed with water. The unpainted daisy petals provided areas of strong contrast i.e. white flowers against blue background, with even darker areas beneath the flower-heads.

This was the point at which Alison stepped back and asked herself “What does it need?” She has a wide variety of media at her disposal and enjoys choosing which ones to use. Her view on the painting process is:  “You have to enjoy it, or it’s not worth it”. She used scribbling strokes to shape the flower centres and add cobalt violet shadows. The flower stems were painted with Daniel Smith Zoisite Genuine which is a light blue-green. 

Nearing the end of the painting session she put herself on “faff alert” because she prefers to have unresolved areas rather than an overworked painting. She chose to leave the flower stems not anchored at the bottom. You should aim to finish half an hour before you would normally finish. Her finished painting proved that best quality watercolour paints and paper together with mixed media can achieve beautiful results. 

Materials (Most are available from the SAA website)                                               SAA White nylon No. 6 brush : Larger nylon & sable brush : Palette knife

Saunders Waterford Paper 140lb (not stretched)

Daniel Smith Watercolour paints squeezed into pans: Prussian blue, cobalt violet, green gold, zoisite genuine which is a blue-green.

(Alison loves lamp black, amethyst and sleeping beauty turquoise and hates paynes grey: an example of a hue containing more than two pigments.)

Brusho powdered ink : Daniel Smith Watercolour Ground : Clear wax stick

Tracedown paper : Maskaway masking fluid block (or putty eraser)

Pebeo Bindex adhesive : Torn strips printed map : Spray bottle of water