The Secret Herb Garden

The Secret Herb Garden

I am no expert Val so couldn't possibly advise on clean washes or fresh greens! I do like this painting though it has a warm, sunny glow and should most definitely not be binned!

I'm not sure which part is yucky, Val. Everything looks clear and clean to me - in fact I'm very envious! I think it's a lovely piece. I'm a bit hesitant to offer advice on greens, since that's a monster I'm still grappling with. The only thing I could offer that might help is advice that I received from Fabio Cembranelli at his recent workshop. He advised that one should not only use the obvious green and yellow mixes, but also incorporate blues and purples as well. I remember him using ultramarine blue, as well and quinacridone magenta.

This is a super capturing of this garden area Val, love the half open door with bright daylight beyond it, really lovely work, the greens work perfectly as do also the other colours as well, no problems here at all

This is a lovely watercolour Val. The washes look fresh and bright to me and you may have noticed I hardly ever put trees or plants in my paintings so am no expert. I have used quinacridone gold with ultramarine and according to the ratios used they do produce a gentle green. I'm not quite sure whether the sun is on the left or right - shadows say left but the dome says right ?!! anyway well done with all those "plants"!

Many thanks ladies for your positive comments on this watercolour, and thank you Seok for passing on the tips from Fabio Cembranelli, I sometimes add a touch of red but I like the idea of a bit of purple. Avril, I wondered if anyone would spot my shadow mistake LOL. I was a bit stuck as what to do in the foreground and realized too late the shadows I'd added were completely wrong. I need to do better as my old teacher would say :)

Very unusual for you to do a WC as you said Val, but haven't you gone and pulled it off well!! Herbery and a secret walled garden make for a lovely painting,Seok sounds right as usual, I always add blues to my greens, apart from when I'm eating them of course! Super painting!

It's all been said - looks pretty darn good to me.

This definitely does not merit going in the bin! You have done very well in the sky, and I love the dark wall and door against the shrubs.

It's the kind of painting you could get lost in Val, no advise to give, I think it's pretty good as it is.

What a very attractive scene this is and I can see why you wanted to paint it. I find the whole painting very fresh and your greens are really good. I can't see any hint of 'yucky' colours at all and find your colours very clean looking. There is also a lovely light feel to it and although there are a lot of complex shapes meeting each other, you have managed to keep the image cohesive by a cleverly thought out palette. On the subject of greens, I use a lot of ready mixed greens (purists, don't faint!), some of which are really opaque (Oxide of Chromium for one) and if you apply them without mixing other colours into them (very dangerous!) and drop in any other colour you fancy on the paper (Cerulean is my favourite, as is burnt sienna) and then leave the area alone to mix on it's own, there is no way you will get anything remotely muddy. I find that it is the mixing of colours into a homogeneous puddle that can produce muddy colours. However, if you do favour mixing colours on your palette, another way to keep your colours clean is to be careful which ones you mix together. Choose single pigment colours rather than those made up of two or more pigments. If you try and mix colours, both of which have two or more pigments in them, it is very easy to lose the clarity of the colours. Because I want my colours to look fresh and clean, I have more of less stopped mixing anything on a palette and all the mixing is done by the paint itself on the paper. I also find that not building up tone by one wash put on top or another also keeps the colours clean and fresh. Of course, you have then to get the right tone on the first hit - no going back over it. There is no easy answer really - you just have to experiment with what works for you and what colours help you avoid dull colours. Mind you, this is the inexperienced preaching to the very experienced and you probably know all this already. Just thought I would have a chat about it all!

Just lovely, would love to go inside.

I think this works well Val, every artist has their favourite green mixes, probably best to do a colour chart, trying out combinations of all the yellows, greens and greys you have. Even Burnt Sienna makes a good dark green with Windsor or Prussian Blue and the ready mixed greens work well with a little mix with other colours -happy mixing!

Val, I love this the colours are fantastic clear and bright, did I miss this? Love the highlights on the bushes. Looks like a beautiful place.

Thank you loads Debs, Michael, Lorraine, Fiona, Thea, Karyl, Stephen and Carole for your encouraging words and very helpful advice. Such a wealth of experience on this site and lovely people willing to share it with others. You've given me lots of food for thought :)

A lovely, airy scene with a beautiful sky Val!

It was the warmth of colour that attracted my attention, as well as the interesting composition. I don't see much mud! I'm not a watercolour expert, but I have appreciated the comments and tips from others; that wealth and knowledge. Thanks!

I greatly like this warm little painting. You chosen a really tricky perspective and got it pretty well perfect. If there is some ambivalence I think it's due more to the colour scheme: cool foreground greens then a warm pink distant tower do tease the senses somewhat. But what's wrong with that? Lovely.

Val, firstly thanks for your kind comments on my portfolios, I appreciate the time taken to reply. In answer to your queries, I've only once used the Fisher paperand found it OK but I really love the wet and dry paper. the worst problem is getting hold of it. The small sheets sold in Wilkos and B &Q are very limiting. I buy it from Youdells Art Shop in Kendall, they sell it by the metre from a roll 30" wide so you get quite a few paintings from a sheet but it's not cheap, around £7/metre plus postage. The pastel class I go to generally get together and I buy a bulk order of 10 or so metres and get discount for quantity. Cutting it up is the worst problem, it plays hell with your scissors, I use a Stanley knife and stick the smaller sheets down on scrap mountboard with 2" wide double sided tape (from Wilkos). It is great to use as you can put many layers on and the surface holds them tight. Again I like to paint on the dark background. As for your other query about watercolour greens, I've found that Hooker's green mixed with raw or burnt sienna is useful as is Prussian blue and burnt sienna, both give nice translucent greens. For the tiny darks at the intersection of leaves etc I use a mix of Payne's Grey or Indigo and raw sienna to give a seriously dark green. I can recommend flower painting books by my friend Wendy Tait who taught me a lot about flowers in watercolour. Best of luck

Hang on Studio Wall

My favourite medium for landscapes is pastel so I do very very few in watercolour that actually turn out OK. I'm undecided about this one, it's been hovering between my keep folder and the bin for weeks now but as hubby says he likes it ( big surprise) it's got a reprieve. I'd appreciate some constructive criticism, especially on how to attain clean washes and fresh greens, mine always look a bit yucky LOL. This is a herbery ( new word :) ) hidden away in an old walled garden near Cromarty on the Black Isle, Scotland. The domed building had a dancing figure on top of it.

About the Artist
Val Kenyon

I am a self taught artist or, as I like to say, I'm "unrestricted by formal teaching" which probably explains my mish mash of styles. I paint in most media, watercolour, gouache, oil, coloured pencil and my favourite, soft pastels. I'm inspired by the Scottish landscape, nature and animals and…

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