Archive for November, 2016

How to make your own Christmas Cards in Watercolour

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In my opinion, there’s nothing quite as personal as making your own original Christmas Cards,

and it’s something I have been doing for a few years now.

Because the colours on the cards are very similar, it’s very quick and easy to paint lot’s in one go.

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This is 1/4 sheet imperial Bockingford Rough paper split into 4 cards. I tape it down to give a nice edge to the card. When you take the tape off make sure you remove it slowly and carefully or it can tear your finished work.

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I then cut the cards, leaving a crisp border around each card. Then using an A4 sheet of coloured card I simply glue or tape the Christmas card to the backing card, having creased, and folded it in half. You can also insert a slip of A4 paper inside to write your personal seasonal message. An envelope and it’s ready to be posted to friends and family.

When Christmas is over the cards can be framed.

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Click on the Mistletoe card above to go to the Youtube tutorial.

 

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Click on the Christmas Candle card above to go to the Youtube tutorial

 

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A few more examples of this year’s cards. If you click on the Mistletoe or the Christmas Candle cards above, you can see my Youtube tutorials on exactly how I painted them.

If you click on the YouTube logo below, you can see all my videos on there.

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So this year why not try your own original Christmas Cards, have fun Happy Painting.

A very Happy Christmas and New Year to my friends from around the World

Thank-you for all the likes, thumbs up’s and comments !

Note If anyone would like to use these I am happy to oblige, if you would like me to e-mail you the drawings I can do that too. Just e-mail your request to me at artstevo@gmail.com or leave a comment.

Watercolours for Beginners Workshops

  Greece Summer 2017

with

English Landscape Artist

Martin Stephenson

Artist Martin Stephenson

in association with

1oceanlogo_2015

It gives me great pleasure to announce the confirmed dates for my workshops

for Summer 2017 in beautiful Vassiliki, Lefkada, Greece

Week Commencing 4th June

Week Commencing 10th September

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Based in beautiful Vassiliki your painting holiday is in one one the most beautiful areas in Greece,

in fact most of the photographs used by the tourism board in Greece

are taken on this jewel of the Ionian Sea, Lefkada


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Some happy students with their paintings in Vassiliki

Vassiliki is known as one of the best watersports centres in the World so there is lots to do

for Artists and their none painting partners.

  • WINDSURFING
  • SAILING
  • STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING
  • SEA KAYAKS
  • WALKING
  • MOUNTAIN BIKING
  • YOGA
  • FITNESS
  • MASSAGES

You can see the full programme on the Ocean Elements website here

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE WEBSITE

Ocean Elements is Vassiliki’s premier watersports centre

with many years experience in the Hospitality Industry


YOUR ACCOMODATION

Is Bed and Breakfast, staying  in the Surf Hotel, right next to the beach.

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To read about your Hotel please see what the clients on Trip Advisor say

CLICK TO SEE YOUR HOTEL


ABOUT YOUR TUTOR

English born Martin Stephenson is a self taught landscape artist,

teacher and author of the e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

FREE COPY WITH EVERY BOOKING

He has been teaching Watercolours for many years, running art holidays and art clubs, in his adopted home in Bulgaria, and also at spa resorts throughout Asia. Martin is no stranger to Vassiliki either, and 2017 will be the 3rd year he has taught on Lefkada, finding inspiration in the beautiful and grand natural Land and Seascapes. As well as watercolours, he is also proficient in other mediums, including Pastels, Pen and Ink and Mixed Media.

Martin has had solo exhibitions including ‘East Meets West’ and ‘An Englishman Abroad’. His work is in Private Collections throughout the World, and he also has a dedicated youtube channel for his much sought after Tutorials on Watercolour Painting.

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TO WATCH MARTIN’S TUTORIALS PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK

His simple approach to his first love Watercolour Painting, and stripping the mystique from the subject means his students learn to paint very quickly. In addition his patient nature, comprehensive knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious. His dry Northern humour is also a factor in his teaching style, ensuring that students not only learn fast, but also have great fun in the process.

As well as this blog Martin also has a dedicated Painting Holidays in Greece facebook page, to see it click below

GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE

 

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WHAT WILL I LEARN ON MY PAINTING HOLIDAY WITH MARTIN ?

Martin’s Painting Holidays are aimed at Complete Beginners and Watercolour Improvers.

Your 6 painting sessions are scheduled in the mornings, are arranged so you won’t miss out on all the other exciting activities in Vassiliki. The lessons will be held between 10am (after breakfast) and are 3 hours in duration.

Your studio for the week is located outside, but under cover with beautiful views over Vassiliki Bay.

There is provision to paint indoors if on the rare occasion, there is bad weather.

Your lessons start with the basics of watercolour painting and include ;-

  • WHAT YOU DO AND DON’T NEED TO KNOW
  • THE MYTHS ABOUT WATERCOLOUR PAINTING
  • MATERIALS THEIR CARE AND USE
  • LOOKING AND REALLY SEEING
  • ANALYSING A SCENE
  • COMPOSITION AND LINING UP ISSUES
  • WHAT MAKES A GOOD PAINTING
  • WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ABLE TO DRAW
  • PAINTING USING JUST ONE COLOUR
  • HOW TO ACHIEVE DISTANCE IN YOUR PAINTINGS
  • HOW TO MIX COLOURS
  • PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
  • PRESENTATION OF YOUR PAINTINGS
  • HOW TO SELL YOUR PAINTINGS

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING ON MY PAINTING HOLIDAY

All artist quality materials are provided including :-

  • Rowney synthetic Brushes
  • 300gsm Bockingford Rough Watercolour paper
  • Boards and tape
  • Full Range of 48 Tintoretto artist quality tubes of paint
  • Graphite pencils
  • Putty Rubbers
  • Palettes and dishes
  • Lightweight Easels if required (though most lessons will be conducted sitting down)
  • Specialist items, like masking fluid, ink etc

But you can bring your own favourite brushes and materials if you would prefer.

Basic kits will be available during your stay for a small additional charge.

Spaces are strictly limited to 12 for each workshop, to keep it informal and friendly,

so it’s advisable to book your place early.

THE PRICE IS 819 GBP

This includes flights from Gatwick or Manchester, transfers, and bed and breakfast at the Surf Hotel. It also includes access to all the watersports activities, and six days watercolour tuition (and includes all artists quality materials). Your holiday package can be tailored to suit your requirements, so if you are coming from another Country, or maybe don’t want the watersports included, simply let me know.

artstevo@gmail.com

or contact Ocean Elements

TO BOOK OR ENQUIRE

SEE YOU IN VASSILIKI IN SUMMER 2017

If you would like to read what my past students think about their painting experience with me you can read about it on the trip advisor link above or read my blog below

WHAT MY PAST STUDENTS SAY

 

How to paint a stormy sky in watercolour

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Here is my method of painting a stormy sky.

Let me say at the outset that this method is not for the faint hearted, but it is great fun and totally unpredictable, so here goes.

The sky will be painted wet into wet, that is wet paint onto wet paper. The colour I have used is Tintoretto Caput Mortem, but you can use any really dark blue. In the past I have used Indigo, or Paynes Grey or Ultramarine Blue mixed with Light Red Oxide. I have also seen great results by an Australian artist called John Lovett, who uses Indigo, then pours white gouache onto the paper, with great effect.

Because it’s painted wet on wet, the wet paper will dilute the colour, so you can compensate for that by mixing your colour stronger. Watercolour paints dry lighter anyway so don’t be afraid of the dark side Luke…..

HOW DO I DO IT ?

First prepare your paint, I use a dish. Make sure that you mix more than you need because this sky will take just a couple of minutes, and the last thing you need is to be mixing more colour during this adrenalin rush. You simply won’t have the time. This is why I use dishes, so mix the paint the consistency of gold top milk.

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You can check the tone by dragging the mixed paint up the side of the dish it should hold together underneath the brush, or you can check it on a test strip of the paper you are using. Mine is 300gsm (140lb) Bockingford Rough.

Now wash your brush out and start to paint the sky area with the water. Don’t worry if the water is slightly tinted, as  it helps you see where you have been. Working against the light also helps as I do.  I’m left handed so I work right to left, so if you are right handed start on the left. Work quickly but gently using brush strokes with a large round or mop brush diagonally at about 45 degrees. Choose the biggest brush you can handle, speed is the key on this type of sky.

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At the top of the sky leave a few dry areas, but have fewer (or none) lower down. These spaces will be for the shafts of light coming through the clouds when you start to paint. Aim for a sheen on the paper, no uncontrollable puddles or they will end up causing back runs.

Now very bravely and confidently repeat the same brush strokes with your dark blue paint. Make sure that you have wiped your brush on an old towel or tissue. If you don’t the excess water in the brush both weakens the paint and can also cause cauliflowers.

Work really fast and try and get the paint on the paper quickly. I find that particularly with beginners that they are afraid and want to consider every single brush stroke. Frankly working quickly is more important than getting it right. Just whack the paint on as fast as you can !

THIS IS THE IMPORTANT BIT

Hold your board almost vertically and at an angle AND KEEP IT AT ONE ANGLE.

This suggests rain (and also lightning by the way), and rain comes down usually in one direction. Put some paper towel  on your table to mop up the drips. The strongest colour will be at the top of the painting, and the dry patches we left with the water now start to look like shafts of light between the storm clouds.

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You can use a water sprayer as you move towards the bottom of the painting, but keep the board at the same angle throughout.

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This is how the stormy sky is developing, all those ‘happy accidents’ appearing before your very eyes !

Once you have reached the bottom of the painting, sitting your board flat will stop the movement. Now dry the painting with your hairdryer on slow speed, ensuring that the tape stays stuck or it will ‘cockle’ making your framers job almost impossible.

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You can see the shaft of light coming from between the clouds in close up now. As you can see, this colour granulates, as will Ultramarine Blue. I love this about both this colour and the rough texture of the paper I use.

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All that’s needed is a simple silhouette towards the bottom of the painting, leaving some highlights where the shaft of sun is catching the right hand side of the lighthouse, and hey presto, you have a stormy painting.

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I hope you found that helpful.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE, COMMENT, LIKE AND SUBSCRIBE

You can find more tutorials on my youtube channel, just click on this link

CLICK HERE TO SEE MY OTHER VIDEO TUTORIALS

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There is a whole chapter on painting skies in my free e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ to read or download it please click on the link below

How to paint skies in Watercolour

Morning Sail from Sozopol

As a beginner to watercolour painting, I remember the intimidating feeling, looking at that sheet of relatively expensive watercolour paper, taped and ready to go. You have drawn your landscape then notice that almost two thirds of it is the sky (gulp)…….

Here is how I approach painting skies. I’m not saying it is THE way it’s just my simple approach to it.

THINGS TO BEAR IN MIND

The principle of perspective still applies to skies. That is that clouds look smaller in the distance towards the horizon, and are bigger above your head.

The other consideration is that the colour is usually deeper above your head than on the horizon. Look at the sky where you are now and you’ll see what I mean, unless, like me you have a grey cloudless sky.

When you look at a sky, the colour is usually different if you pan the view side to side, painting skies with that in mind adds variety and interest.

I once read that you should ‘paint a sky a day’. You can do this, just a quick small study, say postcard size, try it for a few days, and you’ll soon be looking upwards and analysing it and trying to work out how you would paint it in watercolours. Ask yourself questions like ‘are there hard edges in the sky’ or ‘is it all soft edges’ it may (and usually is) a combination of the two.

HOW TO APPROACH IT IN YOUR PAINTINGS

When I consider a sky in a landscape, I usually decide how important it’s going to be in the finished painting, and how big or important the sky is. This also helps me to decide how low the horizon will be, in other words will the sky take up 1/3rd of the painting,  playing a supporting role in the painting. Or is it an important and dominant feature in the painting, and make up 2/3rd of the paper. Or will it even feature at all.

I usually make this decision based on the subject matter. It rarely works if the sky has lots happening in it, as it can detract from the main focus of the subject.

A Corner of Sozopol

In this painting the subject matter was all about the house so the sky was painted very flat and without any details at all. It also hardly features in the finished paintings overall composition.

So the first question even before you draw, or put colour to paper is to ask yourself is ‘how important and dominant is the sky in the painting’. That should hopefully help you to make those decisions. In the painting at the top of this blog ‘Calm morning for a sail’ my painting was all about the grandeur of the scene of Burgas Bay, so it takes up almost 2/3rds of the painting, though I painted it softly, without hard edges, so that the centre of interest, Sozopol Town, and the yacht in the foreground, were still dominant.

Excitement in the Village

In the painting above called ‘Excitement in the Village’ the painting was all about the sky, with it’s unusual viewpoint the sky fills the whole painting, as the villagers look skyward, to welcome the returning storks in Springtime.

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In my painting ‘The Windmill and The Islands’ you can see how the stormy sky behind the white sails and the lighthouse is an important part of the painting. The overall look of the painting, done as a commision based on old sepia postcards of the ancient town of Sozopol, and that decided the overall colour scheme of simply Sepia, Cobalt Blue and Indigo.

SO HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY PAINT IT ?

Having made all those decisions regarding composition this is how I actually tackle it. It’s all important to bear in mind ‘THE GOLDEN TIME’ that is the time it takes for the shine to go off the paper. A whole chapter is devoted to this subject in my free e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’. This is the link to my book READ OR DOWNLOAD IT NOW

This golden time, as I call it depends on a lot of factors like

  1. THE THICKNESS OF YOUR PAPER
  2. HOW HOT IT IS WHERE YOU ARE PAINTING
  3. HOW HUMID IT IS WHERE YOU PAINT

Because I am usually painting and teaching in warm climates, this can be as little as 4 or 5 minutes, this means that when you start you have as little as 4-5 minutes to paint the whole sky…… NO PRESSURE THEN tick tock !

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So before you start your painting, wet a small test strip of the paper you are going to paint on, with either paint or water. Don’t make it too wet just a film of fluid, now check your watch and keep and eye on the paper. When the shine goes off the paper, check your watch again, and this is YOUR golden time.

If you fiddle after the shine has gone you will just end up with a muddy mess. Also if you paint with too much water you will end up with unsightly back-runs (the dreaded cauliflowers).

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

LET’S START WITH AN EASY ONE – A CLOUDY SUMMER SKY

This is painted wet into wet, in other words wet paint on wet paper. The secret to painting skies is to make sure you have your paint ready mixed, and also that you have more than enough to paint the sky. This is the main reason I use tubes of paint, and mixing bowls.

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So assuming that your paint is mixed ready. Try say Cobalt Blue mixed with a little pink to warm it up.

I start by gently wetting the sky are all over with clean water. I usually use diagonal strokes of water at about 45 degrees. Try not to go over the same area more than twice, or it may lift the texture of the paper and give you black marks. I’m left handed so paint right to left, if you are right handed work left to right.

TIP If you work with the light in front of you, you can see where you have been.

Cover the whole sky area with the water, I usually use a big round or mop brush for skies. If you have mountains, cut around them carefully. If you lift your brush vertically you can be very accurate in these areas. Laying the brush flatter, and using the side of the brush means you can cover the area very quickly.

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Depending on how big your painting is, your golden time, and how fast you paint. Before you start to use your paint, check the damp paper especially where you started, if it has started to lose it’s shine already go back over the area again with water. Once you have a consistent film of water you are now ready to paint.

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Work quickly using the same diagonal brushstrokes, as you approach the horizon use less paint and it will go lighter towards the horizon. If you want some soft clouds just leave some areas without paint. Once the sky are is covered consider the shapes of the clouds. If you want to alter or extend them, now is the time to consider doing it, as long as there is still shine on  the paper.

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We will create the clouds with two ‘lifting off’ techniques, one with your brush another using tissue. Wash you brush out THOROUGHLY then squeeze it on a towel or kitchen paper, or squeeze the brush between your fingers removing most BUT NOT ALL of the moisture. I call this a ‘thirsty’ brush. Lift out the cloud shapes, then rinse and repeat until you are happy with the sky. If you want hard edged clouds try crumpled up kitchen paper. Keep changing the shape of the paper after each cloud to avoid a pattern, remembering that every cloud is usually a unique shape.

TIP A combination of hard and soft cloud shapes usually works best.Lifting off with a brush gives more subtle clouds, tissue less so.

If you want more movement in the sky tip your board, or paint at a slight angle. I usually paint on an angle of about 15-20 degrees on my home made board.

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If you do tip your painting, take care with the bead of paint that will collect, and be ready to mop it up with your thirsty brush, or the corner of kitchen towel.

NOW LEAVE IT ALONE

The shine will have gone by now (especially on those areas where your clouds are) any fiddling at this stage WILL ruin your freshly painted sky.

Carefully wipe around the taped edge to avoid paint bleeding into your painting as the  paper dries flat. Dry the sky with a hairdryer on slow speed checking the tape as it dries.

If you need to tidy up any edges, say around the mountains, wait for the painting to dry then get the shapes back with a moist flat brush.

I usually try to paint my skies like this in ‘one hit’, as I think it makes for a fresh and lively looking sky.

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Here is how the sky looked in my finished painting ‘Light and Shade in Meteora’

I hope you liked this blog on painting a Summer sky in Watercolours, next time Stormy Skies !

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LIKE, COMMENT AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY BLOG.

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You can find lot’s more tutorials on my Youtube channel by clicking on this link below

My youtube channel

 

Why indeed ?

Here is a little idea for all budding artists out there.

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Here ‘s how your envelope may look, when you get it back

It’s an idea I got from fellow Malay artist Chang Fee Ming, check his work out.

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So the idea is that you paint on an envelope, mine as you can see was a printed envelope. You can either put yours or the recipient’s address on the front over the painted envelope, or as I did on the back of the envelope.

It was funny trying to explain to the Hotel receptionist in Malaysia, that I wanted my letter posted back to myself, back to the resort, she clearly thought I was an eccentric Englisman. But she duly obliged. Hey presto when it comes back to you, it’s franked with the date and location, and covered in lovely foreign stamps.

A lovely reminder of your trip, or a nice present for someone back home when you are on your travels.

As Chang pointed out though some do go missing in the post, or like mine the postal service didn’t arrived before we left the Country, and it had to be forwarded by the Resort.

Here are a few more examples, why not give it a try ?

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