Posts Tagged ‘watercoloursfor beginners’

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.

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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

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 ?

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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 ?

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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

 

 

The Lighthouse at The Cape

These days with the internet and youtube etc, art and the teaching of it, have never been so easy, free and accessible.

I am still an avid reader of instructional books, and consider that I am still on my own personal art journey, and maybe I always will be. My early mornings are usually spent watching youtube instructional videos, and it’s very addictive. I do this for three reasons, for inspiration, to keep up to speed with new trends and materials and also to compare how my own tutorials compare. Some youtube stuff worth checking out are Tim Wilmot, and also the Colour in Your Life series. If you have never seen the three amigos painting together it’s awe inspiring, check it out here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_udWJtZ-yY

I have been asked recently who were (and still are) influencing my work. The list is very long and very distinguished, so I’ll list them below in no particular order, and try and explain what I like about their work.

Lets start with a Country that seem to be producing lots of my current favourites, Australia.

  1. Amanda Hyatt. Her work is so expressive and simple,she has also appeared on Colour in Your Life.
  2. Joseph Zbukvik. His whole approach to watercolour painting is awe inspiring. www.josephzbukvic.comhttps://www.facebook.com/joseph.zbukvic
  3. John Lovett. He is a mixed media artist who believes (as I do) that in art there should be no restrictions. There never were for the Great Masters, so why should there be now. I currently own two of his ‘Splashing Paint’ books and his dvd and always go back to them if I get a block.                                                         http://www.johnlovett.com/
  4. Alvaro Castagnet. I also love the expressive exuberance of Alvaro, his fun teaching style is truly inspirational, and he was also on the Colour in Your life series.http://www.alvarocastagnet.net/https://www.facebook.com/AlvaroCastagnet

 

IN THE EARLY DAYS

When I first started painting I had a very busy life, demanding job, family etc. and found very little free time to paint, (a bit like playing golf), so had to use my painting time as best I could.

Part of this for me was to study from my art books, and from other artists work. Now whilst some of the books I owned were none instructional, many were. I frequented my local library coming back with arms full of books at a time.

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One of my first influences was Ron Ranson and his hake brushes

At that time my influences were many Ron Ranson,  the late Rowland Hilder, the late John Blockley and Ashley Jackson, all who’s instructional books were teaching me the techniques of watercolour painting. In the early days, I once had the pleasure of Exhibiting in the same room as a full sheet Rowland Hilder it was magnificent.

Once you learn those basics, what then……….

Well here’s what worked for me. Obviously in those days (before the internet) you had to visit galleries or read books to see art. I once received a present from a friend who bought me a book of Turner’s paintings. When I read it I used to look at the lavish photographs of his paintings and think ‘I wonder how Turner got that effect’ ? So what I started to do was to copy his paintings, with the limited practical knowledge I had at the time. Now some were disasters and others were not, surprisingly.

I found that by putting myself in Turners shoes, as it were, meant that I was trying to achieve the same results as he did all those years ago. It was a very liberating moment for me.

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My penwork and freedom to use anything I wanted was due to this book by John Blockley

I used to do exactly the same with all the paintings in my other books, until eventually you get to a stage where pulling the techniques you learn, and finding style and subject matter you like, eventually ends up being your own unique style (not that I think I have one yet by the way).

These days my influences change, and with the advent of the internet, it’s never been easier to access art online. I still enjoy looking at other artist work, and in fact have a file on my computer called ‘Other Artists Work. And I still wonder ‘mmmm how did they do that’?  Classics like Andrew Wyeth and John, Singer Sargent always amaze me.

Would I recommend you copy someone else’s paintings ? ABSOLUTELY, not for sale, but as a learning tool. In later years all that skim reading, and soaking things up, like a hungry school kid lead me to writing my own e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’, having spent years teaching and studying art.

I had no formal art training, so consider myself self-taught. I am now semi-retired so have the time to paint most days. I also have the luxury of being able to paint what I want, sometimes just for my own amusement. Don’t get me wrong my teaching and painting holidays keep the wolf from the door, but I don’t exhibit anymore, instead relying on direct sales. I also have a few Galleries and outlets for my work.

For an artist compliments are nice but when someone is willing to pay for your work that’s the ultimate compliment. I am very humble about my work, and to me it’s worth will always be the cost of the paper. It’s the buyer that adds the value to it.

FOR THE FULL BOOK FREE CLICK ABOVE

NOTE

Incidentally if you would like to copy my paintings please do, I aren’t precious about them at all, and don’t forget I am still alive so you can ask me questions, unlike Turner and other of my watercolour heroes.

I also have photographs of all my work so if you would like any e-mailing I can do that too.

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CLICK THE LOGO TO SEE MY CHANNEL

HAPPY PAINTING

Martin Stephenson (aka Stevo)

The Old Ale House - CherkovoHere is an old interview I did for Novinite in Bulgaria

http://www.novinite.com/articles/108512/English+Watercolor+Artist+Martin+Stephenson%3A+Bulgaria+Is+Like+Venice+without+the+Canals

Call to prayer in Istanbul

‘Call to prayer at the Blue Mosque, Istanbul’

On our recent travels to Asia we used to fly from Istanbul, as it’s a mere 6 hours by bus from Burgas in Bulgaria.

Even as a child I was always intrigued by stories of the Roman Empire, and Constantinople (now Istanbul) and a place, a gateway for exotic travel where East truly meets West, and you can sense it everywhere.

The first time we went I was amazed by the grandeur, the smells, the colours and even the sounds. As we approached our Hotel in a taxi I could hear the mosques calling people to pray, and insisted on opening the taxi window to soak in the atmosphere.

This was my inspiration for this painting.

Martin

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, please feel free to comment and subscribe.

The painting is for sale, please contact me artstevo@gmail.com if you would like to buy it.

 

 

 

 

MAKING YOUR OWN COLOUR CARDS

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When I buy a new colour or, as happened recently, I decided to change to a new brand altogether, I always experiment with the new colours and different colour combinations. This enables me to get to know the specific qualities (and also any limitations) of the new colours.

q. So why do you make your own colour cards ?

a. For several reasons

  1. If you get a colour card from an art shop, the reproduction is limited by the printing process, so is usually inaccurate.
  2. If you print one off the internet, it is usually worse.
  3. The colour represented on the casing of the paint is usually miles off.

So for these reasons I make my own.

You simply make a grid for the number of colours using your normal watercolour paper, in my case 48 colours in the full range of Tintoretto paints and 300gsm Bockingford. Then simply dip a moist brush into the tube (or pan) and paint a block of colour gradually make it weaker and then you can see all the various tones of the colour.

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ITS VERY IMPORTANT TO ENSURE YOUR BRUSH IS WASHED OUT THOROUGHLY BETWEEN COLOURS OR THEY WILL BE CONTAMINATED WITH THE LAST ONE.

Ok so now you have your colour card what then ?

Let me give you an example, earlier this year I was teaching in Vassiliki in Greece. In Greece the greens are completely different than in my adopted home in Bulgaria. A couple of my favourite trees there were Cypress trees and those very old Olive Groves.

The Old Olive Grove

Both of which are not found in Bulgaria. So my solution was to combine lots of combinations of some of my blues and yellows, and record the results on offcuts of watercolour paper. It was then very easy to hold the sample up against the subject and pick the combination required.

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These were the different green swatches I made

I also used this same method when I was experimenting with colours for the stunning sunsets in Greece, combining reds, oranges and yellows.DSC02475

I use these extensively, and to great effect during my workshops in Greece, Bulgaria and Asia.

Why not try making your own, different sky combinations would be a good one wherever you live in the World. In the UK the skies generally are colder so are usually Ultramarine based, whereas in warmer climates Cobalt or even Cerrulean Blue are more accurate.

HAVE FUN WITH COLOUR !

More tips to come, please feel free to subscribe to my blog or leave any comments.

HAPPY PAINTING !

Martin (aka artstevo)