When I visited Keith Hornblower’s site last night he had a posting about a watercolour he had done for a commission which was 38 x 38 inches. He spoke about how he stretched the paper and gave some useful tips. I had just bought a sheet off a role which is 38 x 42 inches and was battling to flatten it out and eventually I joined two pieces of marine ply I found in my studio and wet the sheet and stretched it. I pasted it down with brown packing tape (the water glue one) and stapled it down with a staples about an inch or two apart. It all worked OK and was ready this morning. I am going to get a big sheet of marine ply for this for the next one – the join is not a good idea. As Keith agreed, stretching paper is not for me. I find it daunting enough sitting before a new sheet of paper with a loaded brush. Putting all the stretching effort just makes it even more precious.
I don’t like using masking fluid but masked the figure on the rock out to make the rest easier. I also set up bowls for different colours as I reckoned this would use a LOT of colour. See my squirrel hair mop lying at the ready…
Mooi ne? I always have the sense that paintings go downhill from here – but this is not necessarily true is it. I would like the sea to have been darker. But I will do the rocks and see what happens next.
Now I have to go out to do looking after stuff – my whole family is down with flu – there have been cases of swine flu in the kids’ schools so we are monitoring – I am not sure why I have been spared this but it is good.
I will put the next steps up as I do them –
Here is the next step. I have tried to do the rocks in a single wash – but I will need to do more work on them. Working this big uses a scary amount of colour – eeek. I was going to do another glaze on the sea but decided not to. I will do another one after this. I have bought a piece of external ply as well as some 22×44 mm pine strips to brace it, some posi-screws, some glue and some varnish. I will do a DIY thingy and stretch another sheet. My family love it when I DIY. They call me ‘Die Nuutsman’ after a TV show where this guy did all these jobs around the house with complete skill and all the right tools – like a dream (A ‘nuutsman’ is a handyman I think). I got the name when I was hammering concrete nails into cornicing. How do they do that? They kept breaking or shooting off to the side. I got a nail almost right and put all my force into a blow (with the necessary expletives) and the hammer carved a massive gouge in the ceiling. I was so frustrated. Then I heard laughing and saw my whole family behind me, enjoying the show. Anyway – that can be another posting.
I have post-last-wash blues and am not sure if this is going anywhere – but I will snuz now and look tomorrow.
OK here is the final bar perhaps some last touch-ups.
I have loaded a bigger format – though hopefully not full size which is 37 x 44 inches.
I have also thought of a number of changes I would like to make in the next one. I suppose this is why people do value sketches:
- I will make the sea colours more bold. The sea is OK in this one but I would like more saturated blues. The bay in the foreground works well as a flat wash. The water is very shallow which accounts for the yellow colour.
- Also the white caps give a sense of perspective. Like clouds, they are closer together nearer the horizon.
- And I want to put in the horizon. It is just above the rock in the distance, that I think is called ‘Roman Rock” though that might be the lighthouse on a rock behind the big boulder in the painting. I thought the horizon would be distracting but I think it will make more sense.
- I also want to make the distant rock bigger and bring it lower in the frame.
- The small rocks in the left foreground are too small and I want to increase their size and get them to contribute more to the composition
I am also thinking of cropping the work – what do you think of this:
But before I can do the next one I need to transform my workspace from studio to carpenter shop.
I have been looking at this watercolour in my studio for a couple of days and it has been crying out for some more work. And today I had a short time to do what was needed. So this is how it looks now.
I have almost completed my new stretching board – it is lying under a pile of rocks for a final gluing. I hope to be able to give it a coat of varnish tomorrow and then I want to go through to Cathy in Observatory (where they have a roll of Arches) and get another big sheet for another shot at this. I will take some photos of my board to show on this site as, for me anyway, it is a massive achievement and a work of craft if not art.