My friend gave me a bunch of gorgeous roses from her garden a couple of months ago, and I immediately took pictures so I could paint them.
Watercolour paints and paper at the ready
Several failed attempts later I was happy with this one, painted freehand with the brush as my pencil.
Hate the light pink rose, love the rest of the painting
Don’t throw your ‘failed’ watercolour paintings in the bin — recycle them!
Jan T’s top 10 ways to recycle watercolour paintings
There are many ways to recycle a painting that you are dissatisfied with, including:
- Tear it into pieces for collage.
- Alternatively, find an area you do like and crop it into a smaller painting.
- Glue painted rice paper to mask the poorly executed areas.
Note the ragged edged pieces of tan, and lilac rice paper in the background on this recycled watercolour painting.
- Paint over some parts with gouache. Although John Lovett does not paint gouache on his paintings for this reason, I was inspired to fix one of mine this way with white opaque watercolour paint, and then it sold.
- Paint over some/all of it with opaque paints.
- Draw/write with watercolour pens on top of the painting. This painting was also successfully recycled this way.
- Cut into smaller ‘paintings’ to glue to greeting card blanks.
- Another technique to try is to journal on top with markers and use the piece in your art journal.
- Use the back to start over.
- Stencil over the parts you dislike with very diluted acrylic paint.
New art from discarded paintings
As a result of rescuing your binned artwork, you will be surprised how much you like the recycled watercolour paintings, and your friends will love receiving art on the cards you send.
Watercolour paper is finicky. It is either too soft, too thin, too smooth, too rough, can have insufficient sizing ...
Paper for painting is sold by its weight in pounds (lbs) or grams, in sheets or blocks or pads, its surface texture, and its content.
In the picture at the top, I used 300 gsm sketchbook. This paper absorbed less of the water and so the pigment was more diluted, drying paler, and could be glazed for deeper colour. There is no cockling.
In the other (110 gsm) sketchbook, the cockling is very evident. The paper absorbed more water, making it buckle, and glazing would not be satisfactory.
Cockling on 110 gsm watercolour paper
In metric terms, the weight of 500 sheets of paper can be:
- 90 grams per square metre (gsm) — great for sketches, notan thumbnails, but too thin for watercolour. Imperial equivalent is 60 lbs.
- 110 gsm/74 lbs — often on a school requirements list, but not recommended by most serious artists for paintings. Again, great for sketchbooks.
The two most popular papers for watercolour painting are:
- 300 gsm/140 lbs is the paper of choice for many artists, although it may need stretching to prevent cockling, especially if you are using very wet washes.
- 640 gsm/300 lbs is excellent for painting your 'masterpieces'. Although the cost is greater, the results are far and away worth paying the extra.
Turquoise Flight (300 gsm paper)
When studying watercolour painting techniques, I kept hearing "Practise, practise, practise!"
Any discipline, be it physical or mental, involves practising. A marathon runner needs daily practice, so do artists. In order to get better at art, you can start your day in the studio with warm-up exercises, such as colour mixes or trying different brushes to discover their potential strokes.
I have been exploring palettes, water, pigments, paper, brushes, and reading many digital books on the subject. As well, I have watched several videos, and completed many online video courses on watercolour painting techniques.
Review and revise
On the opposite side of my studio from where I paint, I place practice pieces, beside works in progress. The distance helps me see 'errors' and decide which painting technique will fix these.
Techniques for painting with watercolour are numerous and, depending on the instructor's ideas, can be different from one book or video to the next.
Playing with watercolour is both exciting and frustrating!
Some of my pieces
Some of my latest acrylic paintings
Scraped paint, gel medium stencilling, metallics.
1st | Rylstone-Kandos Show
My latest watercolour efforts
Five sold paintings
I exhibited paintings in two local exhibitions during the last five months, resulting in three sold paintings. At one venue I sold an acrylic painting, while two watercolour pictures were sold in another.
In addition, I sold an acrylic painting and completed a commission in coloured pencil,
Sadly, I only took photos of one of these sold paintings: Jasper.
Commissioned 'portrait' one of the sold paintings
Jasper is the faithful companion of Kevin and Marsha, who own other paintings of mine.
Using Prismacolour Premier pencils on Colorfix paper, I enjoyed painting the portrait. It was very satisfying to do. One thing that surprised me though, was how quickly the sanded surface wore down the colour pencils. Had to buy more white and ginger pencils!
As a result of painting this picture, I have another commission for a portrait of Buddi, who is a very old Jack Russell/Maltese cross much loved by his owner.
The dictionary definition is:
uto·pia, n., Utopia, imaginary and ideal country in Utopia
(1516) by Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place
an imaginary and indefinitely remote place;
often capitalized a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions;
an impractical scheme for social improvement
Imagine a place where quilters would have unlimited supplies of fabric, thread, sewing machines, ideas, coffee, food and no-one to say,
Are you ever going to come to bed, ( to make dinner), (to talk to us)?
That's what I started when I opened my retreat centre at East Maitland, New South Wales, in 2000. It's gone now, but the philosophy is present here on the website.
And the butterfly?
For centuries, the butterfly has been the symbol for new life, and that's the reason for my using it as the icon for my new life after my husband was killed in 1999, and the theme of my new world in cyberspace — this website.
WHAT'S ON THE SITE?
You can find my art, my quilts and bits and pieces of my life. I am eager to have you visit and stay awhile.
What was I doing for the last 30+ years?
I was happily making quilts from the early 1980s until 2011, winning many awards for my quilts — which number more than 200, from 1½″ wide to 12′6" square.
Making quilts using big bits and fast inspired me to develop a fast-piecing patchwork system called Listen With Your Eyes, a system that has been adopted by quilters across the globe.
I have written four books on making quilts and written countless Internet articles on patchwork.
I was asked to be a guest writer for a series on computers and quilting in Patchwork Tshushin which has over 6 000 000 (!) readership.
My column (written for almost all of the first 160 issues) in Down Under Quilts magazine — Computer Quilts — had lots of readers.
I have had four solo exhibitions, The first was at the launch of my first book, then
As well, I have entered quilts in solo and group quilt exhibitions around Australia. One of my books was launched in the USA. My quilts from that book went too, but not me.
Teaching (make that enthusing) people about quiltmaking, traditional and not so traditional for more than thirty years, was my life.
I travelled Australia teaching and made plenty of friends.
Because I taught many, many quilters how to use Electric Quilt software, they called me the EQ Guru.
You can find me in heaven (Utopia)
when I'm creating art!
The next 30 years
After spending 30+ years quiltmaking, what's the next thirty years (or whatever I'm allocated) going to hold?
So far some travelling in a caravan, and art, art, art!
I take my art supplies in a tool box and then when it's raining I get out the paper and brushes or pencils, and I'm in heaven!
My husband, Bob, and I are now retired in a beautiful little country village in the Midwest region of New South Wales. There is no patchwork and quilting, as we have downsized and taken a tree change.
I do have a studio in a spare room in the house we rent in town, so …
I made Cudgegong Afternoon to put in the show in town. Although it took me several weeks to finish as I painted it in layers of very diluted pigments, I really enjoyed the process,
The new owners of Cudgegong Waters Park were so delighted that I consented to let them buy it, because they absolutely loved it.
Please enjoy it.
Update: Veronica called in to show me the framed painting. It looks spectacular!
Arches™ cold pressed paper, A2, watercolour tube paints from Art Spectrum (an Aussie company).
I painted a watercolour close focus picture of a beautiful rose from my friend’s garden, and presented it to her for Christmas.
Loved doing all the glazing in this one. 8in x 8in Fabiano cold pressed paper and Art Spectrum paints.