Saturday, December 31, 2011

Moving On

I've got plenty of inspiration material, collected over time, magazine clippings, internet photos, our own photographs. Sometimes, that can be overwhelming. But yesterday, it enabled me to quickly move on. This one is quite unusual - it's a photograph I found on the National Geographic website, of a volcanic eruption underwater in the Atlantic ocean near El Hierro in the Canaries. I just loved the mad colours, and El Hierro is one of the Canary islands I haven't seen yet and a friend of mine went hill-walking there a few years ago and said it was wonderful - she even snorkelled there. So, it's on my list of things to do some day before I die. But maybe I'll wait until all that seismic activity settles down a bit. In the meantime, I'll dream of the deep blue sea with a lime green stain!

Colours used are: indigo + prussian blue for the sea, burnt sienna + a touch of indigo for the mountains, and phthalo blue (what else - when you need a mad green, phthalo blue is the one you want) + cadmium yellow. I played with the colours before I launched into the painting itself. This is something that Shirley Trevena recommends - it's a warm-up before you start on the real work, a way to relax into it, to get the creative juices flowing, and to check that the colours are going to work! Very often, I tend to jump straight into a painting, but then I end up having to scrap my first attempts until I've worked out my colours and techniques, so there is a lot to be said for these watercolour doodles. In this one, I used the colours listed above, as well as a blue oil pastel. The mottled effect is achieved with a Schmincke Aqua effect spray.

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