Hi From A newbie

Hi From A newbie


Hi everyone, I hope your all well. Im a lass from Dorset who is self taught. I enjoy drawing realistic animals and fantasy creatures. Im willing to try most mediums, but enjoy Copic markers and pencils the best. I'm always open to advice and value any guidance on improving my work to a better standard. Hope to hear from you all, Take care and happy drawing.
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I am not an expert on watercolour paper, but I know that some brands do have a right and wrong side, and it sounds as though the side you painted on wasn't sized, so the water soaked straight into it and left you with a soggy mess. You can paint on both sides of Bockingford (I know, because I have) but I'm less sure about Arches, which is a paper I've not used for a little while, largely for reasons of expense... I've been credit-crunched! It's hard to know what to do with paper; you buy inferior stuff to gain confidence, and it does you no favours. You buy the best, and are afraid to use it... I think the best way is to buy an Imperial sheet, cut it into fours, and just have a bash: then if you do spoil one, you still have three others. Or buy a block: that way, it's obvious which is the right side, and again, it's not quite so gut-wrenching if you make a real pig's ear of one sheet - just tear it off, indulge in a little language, and use the next one. Somehow, you have to gain confidence in the use of materials and go for it - knowing that only practice will help you improve. I'm running low on paper now, and next time I buy some I shall use the "wobble" technique: a new one on me: I did see the thread in Forums, and will take a look. If I see the sales assistant fix me with a glassy smile and reach stealthily for the telephone, I shall know the men in white coats are on their way...

Hi Robert I still don't know what the name of the paper was but when I talked to the girls in the art shop they told me it has a right and wrong side...I used the smoother side because I was going to be using a nib so I thought the smoother side would be more conducive to the nib...so I used the wrong side which I didn't know existed with watercolour paper or else I'm out of date not having having painted since the 80's...at that time I would stretch Ingres paper for loose watercolour class work...today just trying to find a water mark needs a degree in paper viewing...I bought what was described as French Cotton 300gpm which was on special...I picked it up and rattled it...advice given to me by a wonderful water colourist on this sight...it sounded like Rolf Harris's wobble board so I bought three sheets...I have stretched some and until now it's accepting the paint really well...I do admit to having a good close look at each side and used the side with the heavier tooth...yesterday I treated myself to a lovely piece of Arches 300gpm heavy tooth with a lovely wobble that I shall keep until my confidence in watercolour has returned...at the moment it is tentative...I also bought a lovely book on colour with recipes and I have spotted some wonderful greens which will be great for Australian painting...depending on the season Western Australian greens can be very changeable if we have rain it's like a Greek green if it's dry they are almost grey green with a powdery look...then of course there is the type of gum tree...the particular one that I'm painting is, I think a Ghost Gum, the bark is white with shadows and occasional bits of colour seeping out of the bark...I really think if there are any Australian Artists within this site please write a book on the mixing of Australian Greens for the inexperienced such as me because I know I'm not the only one who struggles with getting Australian Greens...thanks for your advice on paper Robert

Diana - I've just thought; you might find it interesting to look at handprint.com, which contains very sound information on pigments. It can get a bit academic, but then we are inevitably engaged in a science as well as an art if we're hoping to secure lightfastness. And I grant this can be an absolute pain in the teeth when all you're trying to do is paint a good picture... I do sometimes use Winsor Red, by the way, where I would once have used Alizarin - depends on the mix as to whether that's going to work. I think it's basically pyrrole red, but stand open to correction. I don't recall what pigment constitutes Permanent Alizarin, but should be surprised if it weren't Quinacridone in one of its several forms. It's a good pigment, in Winsor and Newton and Daler Rowney artists' watercolours - try it?

I know, Alizarin Crimson does such wonderful things in colour terms, a crimson with a blue undertone that can't really be replicated. I don't honestly think there is an alternative - you can mix a little pthalo green with quinacridone violent/permanent rose; you can use Permanent Alizarin - but no, it won't be the same. It is extremely frustrating, but Alizarin Crimson is well known to fade, particularly when applied in thin washes or, in oil, mixed with white. I have stopped using it for these reasons, although mind you I'm not THAT consistent - I have a tube of rather ancient oil paint Brown Madder Alizarin (ie, it does contain Alizarin Crimson). My hand keeps straying back to it ... it's not prone to fading according to my own lightfastness tests: but I think you have to subject all of your paints to your own tests, if you want to be sure. You know the method, I'm sure; I did this with Alizarin, and it was fine for months - then, suddenly, it faded. I can only suggest you read the mulitiplicity of articles on the web on this question; but I think you'll end up with the view that it's just not sufficiently reliable in watercolour or, to perhaps a lesser extent, in oil. This does get complicated, though! In acrylic, the colour usually described as Alizarin Crimson or Crimson Alizarine (why???) contains no alizarin pigment at all, and is lightfast. You could wish that manufacturers would be a bit more consistent. (The pigment isn't compatible with acrylic resins.) Agree with you completely about paper; I know others just can't get on with Arches, which I love; so much has to do with one's touch, brushes, palette, and the indefinable something extra which is completely inexplicable. On the whole, I believe we have a superb choice of really excellent watercolour papers these days, and it's just a question of finding the one or two that suit you.

A very interesting blog Robert. As a real fan of Alizarin crimson which I only tried recently and was totally hooked, I'd love to know what the alternative is and how the permanent Alizarin is different. I have used rose madder but only in mixes but Alizarin could, if I let it ,be one of my staple colours. BTW having tried almost every paper under the sun I still come back to Langton 300g NOT as my absolute favourite. |I find it takes any amount of washes, paint lifts easily if needed and masking fluid never tears the paper. Each to his own I guess; wouldn't life be boring if we all used the same materials?

I wonder what happened to your 300gsm/gpm paper ... care to tell us what brand it was? I was thinking today, when doing a sketch for a later painting, how absolutely profound is the influence of the surface on which we draw and paint. I'm perverse - if I find a paper that really doesn't suit me, I keep trying it, just to prove something I suppose; Lord knows what! I really like Bockingford rough and Arches in watercolour, also one of the Torchon papers, just can't remember at the moment whether it's Hahnemuehle or Schoellershammer... I don't really get on with the Langton NOT surface, but I've bought a block of it and I'm going to use it all, however hard I have to fight with it. I don't think there's a thing wrong with the paper in this particular case: it's just that I don't get on with it, for whatever reason. Yes, some of the old colours were beautiful, and I miss them; but there are plenty of new, lightfast ones to try, happily. I haven't encountered Cerulean Blue red hue yet. Have found pthalo blue red and green shades; but I liked the original pthalo/Monestial/Winsor Blue. A touch on the cold side for Australia, though! Far be it from me to advise on mixing Aussie greens, since I've never done it; but I imagine the ready-made greens, Emerald for instance, could come into their own there, and mixtures with the strongest yellows and blues ... I wonder though; I've seen Australian paintings which employed very warm greens: just don't paint the long-leggedy beasties that crawl out of those greens, or I shall disgrace myself with a very unmanly squeal. I'm a lover of all animals except arachnids... and Australia has too many of 'em. Thanks for your comments.

Hi Robert that was a wonderful blog to read with good information...I havn't painted since the 80's when what was there was it and you mixed what you wanted and made notes if you remembered...paper it was expensive but out of one sheet I could get four paintings...the quality was always there...just a couple of weeks ago a piece of paper 300gpm fell apart in front of my eyes and I was heartbroken and I just can't figure out why and it wasn't a cheap paper...it hadn't been overworked or lifted out...so I started again with another piece of paper with a nice tooth and it's holding up to the job...it's not just the choice of materials but also the quality to many people making questionable materials...I love Rose Madder and it was the first colour I bought when I started back with the brushes but I never use it just love the colour and the name...just recently I found a wonderful Windsor & Newton Cerulean Blue Red Hue...which for me is going to be invaluable I live in Australia and it is wonderful for Australian skies...it cost me $20ad but well worth it little is needed to wash in a sky...my problem is mixing Australian greens which I'm struggling with but I'll get there...I can't resist a tube of paint so tomorrow when I go on my jaunt to the shops I will come home with a couple perhaps to help with the Australian greens...Art Spectrum are now making Australian colours but slowly and then we have to try them and hope for the best...I'm glad you found your way around the Forum etc. there a good bunch here...I'm up to all hours because of the time difference and it's now 01.20 hours and gotta get to the sack