Posts Tagged ‘watercolour’

Introducing

Renowned Russian Artist

Ilya Ibryaev

It gives me great pleasure to announce that this fantastic Russian Artist

will be gracing us at the

with a Masterclass this Summer

I recently signed up for an online Masterclass with Ilya having been made aware of his fantastic watercolour paintings by a fellow artist. I was so impressed, that I contacted him personally to invite him to come to the White Boat Studio here in Sozopol and Ilya graciously accepted the opportunity.

On speaking to Ilya it turned out that he is good friends of other artists I admire. One of whom, a Bulgarian artist visits him in Moscow, though Ilya has never been to Bulgaria. But judging by the boat paintings below It’s hard to believe. But I can tell by his subject matter that he, and his students will enjoy everything Sozopol has to offer.

Ilya has planned three exciting days painting, which include light refreshments and full use of the studio. He will be sharing his unique techniques for capturing light mood and atmosphere in watercolours. Those like me that have tried will know that capturing those most endearing and fleeting moments of early morning mist, the way bright sunlight breaks through the cool of the tree canopy are the most difficult. The control of these wet in wet techniques are one of the things that causes the human spirit to soar. Capturing those moments, and still retaining the freshness of the medium, with the guidance of ‘Master of Light’ Ilya is the reason for this Masterclass.

ABOUT THE MASTERCLASS

DAY 1

Based in the studio where Ilya’s morning session will show him demonstrating, and following a break for lunch students will have the time to emulate one (or more) of his paintings.

DAYS 2 & 3

Plein air painting, at some stunning locations in the Town. These will be very personally and carefully selected by Ilya to provide artists with a challenging and interesting taste of the area. They may include the Fishing harbour, bustling with activity, the wooden houses and cobbled streets of the Old Town, or the rugged cliffs with houses precariously perched on top. There will be no shortage of stunning locations, that’s for sure.

The beautiful former Naval College opposite the studio, dominates Kirik Island, especially at sunset.

Evenings are your own to take in the atmosphere, to wander the Town, visit the many Art Galleries, or just enjoy the Sunset sipping local wine at the many Restaurants. So it won’t be all work and no play. The New Town area also offers all the trappings of a beach resort with sandy beaches, bars and clubs for those wanting to dance the night away.

Biserra the oldest and one of many Galleries in Sozopol

One thing visitors never fail to notice about Sozopol is that the price of everything is about half of the ‘more fashionable’ painting destinations. A typical meal with wine will be around 40 lev that’s about 20 pounds Sterling. The food here is International, and typically Mediterranean not surprisingly with Sozopol’s Greek roots and traditions. Don’t leave without trying Shopska salad and Rakia, and don’t forget to look the friendly locals in the eye when you bid them ‘Nazdrave’ !

Sozopol has always been a mecca for artists as is testified by the many art and music events, and Art Galleries in the Old Ancient sea port formally known as Apollonia. This culminates in the Annual Apollonia Festival in late Summer.

I’m sure Ilya and his students will enjoy painting the views that always drew me here, somewhere I have now made my home.  Sozopol, on the Black Sea (which is Blue in Summer by the way) has a charm of it’s own with it’s working fishing harbour, yacht marina’s and quirky cobbled streets and ancient wooden houses. It comes as no surprise that some of the best, and freshest fish restaurants are here. This includes Kirik the oldest and still the best, and happens to be right next door. For early risers you can even buy fish straight from the boat.

Our air conditioned studio and the balcony of Kirik Restaurant next door

During your stay the White Boat Studio, and it’s equipment are at your disposal.

Co- Owners of the White Boat Studio Sarah Astbury (Logistics, Yoga and Massage Therapies) and Martin Stephenson (Studio Manager Artist, Author and Teacher)

Yours hosts Martin and Sarah are experienced, helpful and friendly, and , are on hand during your painting holiday, to cater for your every need be it artistic or otherwise. Sarah is an Internationally renowned Yoga teacher and Massage Therapist and is available during your stay. We plan for your holiday to be informative, friendly and fun. An experience for your mind and your body, or you can just soak up the sun on the beach, the choice is yours.

We expect bookings to go fast for Ilya’s Masterclass, spaces are limited for each day to ensure that you receive the personal attention you deserve. So please book early to avoid missing out on this unique experience to learn with a real Modern Day Master of his craft.

PRICES

The price is 85 Euro per day, and you can book one day, two days or all three for 255 Euro

FLIGHTS AND ACCOMMODATION

If you need any assistance with flights or accommodation please let us know. Bourgas International Airport is just 40 minutes transfer time away. Sarah can help you with these arrangements at sarah.astbury@gmail.com

All tastes and budgets are catered for during your holiday, from family guest houses right up to 5 star hotels and everything in between.

TO BOOK

Sarah is in charge of bookings for Ilya’s Masterclass too.

ENQUIRIES

You can make any enquiries by filling in the form below or contact Martin or Sarah at whiteboatstudio@gmail.com

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN AUGUST

 

 

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Following our extensive refurbishment, I can now announce that our beautiful studio space is available for Artists and Students visiting the stunning Old Town Sozopol, on Bulgaria’s Black Sea Coast.

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Located right opposite the Naval College, and the Fishing Harbour, our air-conditioned and heated studio couldn’t be better located. It’s within a two minute walk of the cobbled streets of The Old Town.

The space is available either with or without Martin the studio manager, and our logistics assistant Sarah, who is also on hand offering Yoga and soothing Massages on site.

The studio, is light and spacious, with stunning views accross the busy harbour. It comes fully equipped with the following :-

  • Tables, chairs and easels enough for 12-20 students
  • Basic artist quality watercolour materials, including the full range of Tintoretto paints, in tubes and stock of Bockingford 300gsm Rough paper, all available to buy.
  • Projection equipment.
  • Demonstration equipment, including HD Video and Editing
  • Air conditioning and ample fans for the hot Summer Months. With heating for out of season breaks.
  • Outside space for painting or for lunches with tables, benches and shade.
  • Bathroom including shower, sink and toilet.
  • Fitted kitchenette with cooking facilities.
  • Fresh Coffee machine.
  • Water Chiller.
  • Wi-Fi
  • Large screen TV and DVD player
  • Hi-Fi Sound system
  • Car Park right opposite
  • Free nearby self catering studio apartment for the tutor.

It is surrounded with some of the best Restaurants in the area, where not surprisingly locally caught fish is high on the menu.

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For those that have not been to Sozopol before, for many years the Town was one of the best kept secrets, and was a haven for wealthy Russian and boasts a thriving Art scene culminating in the Apollonia Festival at the end of August/ beginning of September. This Art and Music festival is a fantastic time of year to visit.

The Town is also home to a plethora of Art and Craft Galleries, including the Municipal Art Gallery, and also the many Museums, boasting the rich history of this former Greek fishing port, formerly known as Apollonia.

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One of the best (and more surprising things) about Bulgaria is that it is incredibly cheap, from accommodation to food and drink, you’ll find the place offers excellent value for money, being half the price of more, let’s say ‘fashionable’ painting locations.

The area around Sozopol is part of the tree covered Strandja mountains, and is home to stunning scenery be it craggy coastline, forests, ancient standing stones and of course not forgetting the charm of the the cobbled streets and old wooden framed houses, Sozopol has everything an artist could hope for. It has always been a mecca for artists through the ages, not without good reason.

A Corner of Sozopol

Whilst Sozopol has it’s traditions and is still a working fishing port, The Town still boasts all the trappings of other holiday destinations including many stunning sandy beaches, 300 Sunny Days a year and food that tastes like it used to. If it’s partying you want they have that too with many bars, music venues and clubs mainly situated in the New Town area, a 10 minute walk away through the Old Town.

In short Sozopol is a fantastic holiday destination, whether you are on a painting holiday, or an artist wanting to take your students somewhere more unusual. The Town has it all and so does our studio, which is available to rent, at very reasonable rates, by the day or week, with or without staff, the choice is yours.

So when you have exhausted the more fashionable places, why not give Sozopol a try. As the BBC said recently ‘Bulgaria offers the best value holiday destination in Europe’.

For further information please message me or e-mail artstevo@gmail.com

You can also read about other artists experiences in Sozopol here What the customers say about my e-book and teaching methods

Hope to see you soon.

Sarah Astbury and Martin Stephenson

Sarah & Martin

Sarah ( Logistics, Yoga and Massages) and Martin (Artist, Teacher and Studio Manager)

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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Our air conditioned studio overlooking the fishing harbour

Here are some examples of what you will learn on your art holiday in Bulgaria.
In short if you are a complete beginner you have come to the right person, and the right place.
I can relate very well to many perceived issues some people have when they first start out on their watercolour painting journey. Here are some quotes from my past students, which you may be able to relate to. I know I could when I first started.

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Fiddling in the extreme

Q. I find myself fiddling with very fine drawing instruments but don’t find it enjoyable.

A. I did exactly the same thing, as it seems much easier to control. At the outset you will be encouraged to ‘think big’ using large brushes, and dishes of paint.

Q. I can’t even draw

A. Depending on the subject matter you choose to paint, there is very little drawing during your holiday, and sometimes none at all.

Q. Isn’t watercolour the hardest medium of all ?

A. It has been described as being like a wild horse. But there are very few ‘rules’, master these and you will be up and running usually after the very first lesson.

Q. I have tried watercolors before and everything turned out muddy, not fresh like watercolours I have seen.

A. This is the most common problem for beginners to watercolour, and ‘avoiding mud’ has a whole section in my free e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ given free with every booking.

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Painting with just one colour

Q. My paintings always look flat.

A. Another very common problem, and one so easy to correct. It’s so important that the very first lesson of your painting holiday is covered here. Painting with just one colour, and how to mix different tones is the first building block.

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Q. When I look at that big blank piece of paper I just freeze especially when considering painting the sky.

A. For most beginners to watercolour skies can be daunting, but by the first few lessons you will be painting skies with confidence, even stormy ones.

Close up of The Old Windmill & The Islands

Q. There seems so many ‘rules and dogma’ attached to watercolour like you can’t use white paint why is that.

A. It seems to be true, but strangely only in recent years, the great watercolour masters used everything at their disposal to achieve a particular result. Just look at Turner’s or Monet’s paintings and you will see what I mean. During your holiday you will be taught how to paint ‘pure’ watercolours, but towards the end of your holiday you will also be encouraged to experiment with goache, ink and gesso. We will even be using some more ‘unusual’ techniques using normal household items like salt and cling film.

Q. When I have tried watercolours before I always end up with ugly stains on my painting.

A. Most beginners have this problem, and avoiding ‘backruns’ or ‘cauliflowers’, and even how to control them is covered in lesson 2 of your holiday.

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Some artists even use them in their work to great effect

During your painting holiday, even if you have never painted before you will end up with all the knowledge you’ll need to make you into a confident painter, whatever subject matter you chose when you go home. But my help doesn’t end when your holiday does. You will have my e-book to guide you on your way, and serve as a reminder of your experience with me.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

My painting workshops are limited in size to ensure everyone gets the personal attention they deserve. My style of teaching is simple, step by step at a pace to suit you. I also like to have fun so you should find the whole experience one to remember. My students from all over the World tend to come back year after year, whether it’s in Bulgaria, Greece and even throughout Asia.

If you want to read about what my students say about my lessons and my e-book please have a look at my other blog by clicking this link http://wp.me/pQX5h-5t

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Sketching at the harbour

Q. What is the best time of year to come to Bulgaria ?

A. My holidays run during June, July, August and also October. A lot depends on whether you like the hot weather, Bulgaria has a typical Mediterranean climate and some of the best beaches in Europe. There will be lots to do here in Sozopol after your morning painting session, which is normally from 10am until about 1.30 with a break for refreshments.

Q. What about my accommodation during my holiday.

A. We normally use a 3* family run hotel which includes breakfast. The rooms have fantastic views overlooking the Sea and the Islands of St.John and St.Peter. There is also a restaurant at the Hotel, a great place to watch the sun go down listening to a classical guitarist. Sozopol, with it’s Greek roots has many fine Restaurants, especially in the Old Town. The Diamanti Hotel is located just a few minutes walk through the old cobbled street to our Studio.

To have a look at the hotel, please click on this link http://hoteldiamanti.com/

The last thing to mention, is value for money. Unlike more ‘fashionable’ painting holiday destinations, everything here is about half the price of the UK. That means that a nice meal with wine will be about 25 lev (around 10 pounds sterling).

If you would like to find out more about Sozopol, just try a Google search.

If you would like an e-brochure with more details of your painting holiday, please fill in the form below.

I look forward to seeing you in Sozopol to start your personal art journey.

Martin Stephenson aka Stevo

A Corner of Sozopol

‘A Corner of Sozopol’ by Martin Stephenson

At first glance Bulgaria may seem a strange choice for a painting Holiday. In fact before I moved here eight years ago I have to admit that I had to look at an atlas to find out where it was.
Bulgaria, and Sozopol in particular has been one of the best kept secrets until recent years. Until then it was the playground for wealthy Russian tourists.
Sozopol has a very ancient History, populated by Greeks and called Apollonia. The ancient fishing port still has a Greek flavour, many of it’s residents keeping those traditions. Something you can taste in the many and varied local Restaurants.

Baba's New Broom

‘Baba’s New Broom’ by Martin Stephenson

Because this EU Country is relatively poor, you will find everything here half the price of many more ‘fashionable’ painting destinations. A typical meal with wine will only cost around 25 lev per person (around ten pounds). High quality restaurants abound with International menus, including the local fresh fish. These include Bulgarian, Greek and Armenian restaurants.

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Martin sketching the boats in the harbour opposite the studio

What most tourists, coming here for the first time, are struck by is the beautiful Black Sea (turquoise blue in Summer), which has miles of unspoilt beaches, nature reserves and is surrounded by the Strandhza Mountains. Situated just 45 minutes from Burgas International Airport serviced from most UK and European airports.

Your accommodation will be in a local family run 3*hotel with stunning views over the Islands of St. John and St.Peter. The hotel is located just a few minutes walk from our studio.

For artists (and non painting partners) this means that you are surrounded by interesting and breathtaking scenery. When you couple this with the Old Town, with it’s wooden houses and cobbled streets, you can see why artists from all over the World have always been drawn here. Something reflected in the many art galleries in the Town.

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One of the many Art Galleries in the Old Town

 

One of the highlights of the year is the Apollonia arts festival, a ten day annual event in late August/ early September.

Overlooking the Old fishing harbour is our own fully equipped air conditioned studio, where your daily painting demonstrations and lessons will be held, and a meeting point for additional field trips and plein air painting sessions.

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Our air conditioned studio on the Ground Floor

Your hostess during your holiday, Sarah is also an internationally renowned Yoga teacher and Massage Therapist, and will always be on hand offering her services to artists and their partners.

Art & Yoga Holidays in Bulgaria

Your hostess Sarah

Our host Martin has all the materials you will need for your holiday, or you can bring your own favourites with you. He is also an author of the e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ which is free with every booking. Martin also known as Stevo (his nickname at school) is an accomplished watercolour painter and inspirational teacher, he will be on hand as Studio Manager during your holiday offering his own style of encouragement and some Northern humour, ensuring your stay will be both memorable, informative and fun. Martin has taught in many exotic locations including Thailand, Bali, Malaysia and most recently in Greece. He specialises in teaching complete Beginners.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

FREE E-BOOK WITH EVERY BOOKING

We look forward to welcoming friends old and new to beautiful Sozopol, Bulgaria to sum up this beautiful paradise lovely people, great food, fantastic weather and inspirational land and seascapes, and great value for money.

Happy Painting

Martin

Here is the link to enable you to read my e-b00k  ‘Watercolours for Beginners’. Simply click on this link:-

Read it now absolutely free
Happy Painting !

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

When I teach one of the first things I tell my students, is NOT to touch the surface of the paper. The reason for this is that however careful you are, and however clean your hands appear, they always have residual oils on them. So if you touch the paper the grease from your fingers actually acts as a resist on the paper, and your fingerprint will always be there. Not a problem on an average foreground with lots of detail, but an absolute disaster on say the sky.

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The reason I wrote this blog was that I just watched a tutorial from someone showing how to crease and tear watercolour paper. I lost count after she had touched the paper over a dozen times with her hand, sometimes right in the middle of the sheet. I just cringed.

I have also experienced this in art shops, when buying loose sheets, grubby fingers all over the surface, and that’s before they insist on rolling it for you. This is the reason that when I buy paper I buy it in a full pack sealed in polythene. This way I KNOW that I am only the second person to handle that paper after the workers in the paper mill.

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I guess if you are buying smaller quantities then sealed blocks or pads would be the way for you.

HOW TO TEAR IT AND KEEP IT CLEAN ?

If you watch the video above you can see how I tear full sheets, handling only the edges, using a metal set square,bought from a DIY shop, on my drawing board. The melamine board (bigger than the sheet size) has marks on the lower ledge showing half/quarter and eighth marks for the size I use most, Imperial sheets 30” x 22” . It’s fast, reliable, accurate and also ensures the paper is still virginal when my students get it for their classes, because I only ever handle the edges used to secure the paper with masking tape for my lessons.

HERE’S THE METHOD WHICH WORKS FOR ME

  1. WASH AND DRY YOUR HANDS AND ALSO THE BOARD AND SQUARE
  2. LAY THE SHEET OF PAPER DOWN ENSURING THE LEFT HAND EDGE IS LEVEL WITH THE SIDE OF THE BOARD.THE BOTTOM EDGE SHOULD ALSO BE CHECKED THAT IT’S SNUG TO THE BOTTOM RAIL.
  3. LINE THE SQUARE UP ACCURATELY ON THE 1/2 SHEET MARK
  4. PRESS THE SQUARE ON THE TOP OF THE PAPER HANDLING THE EDGE OF THE PAPER ONLY.
  5. NOW HOLDING THE TOP LEFT HAND CORNER OF THE SHEET, TEAR FROM THE TOP TOWARDS YOU UNTIL YOU GET ABOUT HALF WAY DOWN
  6. NOW HOLD THE SQUARE ABOUT 10CM FROM THE BOTTOM AND FINISH THE TEAR
  7. FOR 1/4 AND 1/8TH TEARS REPEAT USING THE CORRESPONDING MARK ON THE BOTTOM RAIL ENSURING THAT THE ‘NONE TORN’ EDGE ( IE THE MANUFACTURERS EDGE) IS ALIGNED WITH THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BOARD AT ALL TIMES
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Here is my set up for Imperial sheets

Please feel free to comment or subscribe. I hope you found this latest tip useful.

Happy ‘none grubby’ painting !

Martin aka artstevo

 

 

WHAT WATERCOLOUR PAPER SHOULD I BUY ?

I was asked this question the other day during one of my lessons, so thought that I would share this on here.

Call to prayer in Istanbul

The washes on this painting were done very wet and you can see slight buckling of the paper.

Q. What paper do you use and why ?

A. I use 140lb (300gsm) Bockingford rough paper Why ?

BBOCKINGFORD

Well a few factors really I like how the rough texture, suits my subject matter, and my quite wet painting method.

When I first started I used to stretch my paper, using gummed tape, but now find that I can use masking tape which leaves a nice white edge around the painting, and obviates the need for all that stretching and planning ahead. I can also use the same paper for my students too, as it’s not too expensive.

Another factor here in Bulgaria is that it is usually available in my favourite art shop in Burgas, the Armstrong Centre, where I usually buy a whole pack of 25 sheets at a time sealed in it’s bag. This ensures that after the factory worker that made it, (St.Cuthberts Mill in England) that I am only the second person to handle it.The reason this is important is that the surface should NEVER be touched with your fingers, which always have residual oils on them, which can ruin your finished art work . Something your average art shop assistant seems unaware of !

I would encourage you to experiment with the paper you can buy locally, and when you find one that suits you STICK WITH IT and get to know it’s qualities (and maybe it’s limitations too) .

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VARIOUS WEIGHTS  ?

If you paper is too thin it will buckle badly when you wet it and leave your finished paper in ‘stripes’ where the paint settled in the hollows. Too heavy and whilst it won’t buckle at all the surface can be a little ‘dead’ and un-responsive.

WHAT ABOUT THE FINISH ROUGH OR SMOOTH ?

arches_watercolor_paper_2

This is a very personal thing, a flat paper surface sometimes called ‘Hot Pressed’ is more receptive to flat washes and more detailed work . ‘Cold Pressed and Rough’ gives all those lovely ‘happy accidents’ where the paint sediment collects in the hollows.Try doing  a wash using say Burnt Umber and Ultramarine and you will see what I mean.

I think that if you stick with the main brands of papers from Saunders or Arches you really can’t go wrong. Most of the main manufacturers will send you samples so you can experiment. A google search for Watercolour Paper should get you to all the manufacturers Worldwide.

CAN YOU PAINT ON BOTH SIDES ?

Yes you can, but I rarely do, as the paper, having been painted previously on one side is never completely flat. By the way you can tell the ‘face’ front of the paper by checking for the logo. Sometimes you have to hold it up to the light to see the watermark.

DO YOU CUT OR TEAR YOUR SHEETS OF PAPER ?

I always used to cut my paper, to fit my 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8th sheet standard mounts, but it was very labour intensive especially if I was preparing 20 pieces for a large workshop class. After reading a book by one of my favourite Australian artists John Lovett I used his method of simply marking my board with half, quarter and eight sheet sizes, laying down the sheet and tearing against a large metal square, bought from a DIY store. I handle the paper only by the edges when tearing, then storing it in plastic bags to keep it in pristine condition.

If you are a complete beginner, and find that big white piece of relatively expensive paper intimidating,  (GIVING YOU THE FEELING THAT I SIMPLY MUST PRODUCE A PAINTING) try using Wallpaper lining paper, that should be a liberating experience. Stand up, put some music on, and get out your biggest brushes, and just have fun !

I hope this has been helpful.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ‘LIKE’, SUBSCRIBE OR LEAVE ANY COMMENTS.

Happy Painting !
Martin

It gives me great pleasure to announce that it’s my intention to start a new art gathering in the Sunny Beach area. I have had some interest already, so it will be nice to meet a new group of people in that area.

New Art Club Sign

I really missed the laughs we all used to have when I had the old one in Cherkovo before I moved out of the area.

I have lots of satisfied students from around the World of all abilities, from complete beginners to more experienced painters. If you check this blog

https://artstevo.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/what-the-customers-say-about-my-e-book-and-teaching-methods/

you’ll see testimonials from them. I am also the author of an e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ and all new members will get a free copy.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

I am also looking for a central venue for what may turn out to be a weekly or fortnightly meeting. All we need is good light and access to water. Watercolour painting is a very clean hobby, and I always clean up afterwards.The venue ideally would be in someone’s house or we could take over a local eatery who knows.

My plan at this stage is probably to meet on a Wednesday 11am for 2-3 hours, but am completely flexible depending on the members.

Everything will be provided, and I have enough materials for up to 12 people, though I think it’s more likely to be a small group to keep in informal and friendly.

SO IF YOU FANCY TAKING UP A NEW HOBBY, JUST LET ME KNOW AND I’LL DO THE REST….

Happy Painting !

Martin