Sunday, 17 September 2017

New Paper: Red Poppies

It seems ages since I posted anything on this page. So for the many people out there that have constantly followed this blog and been kind enough to share their thoughts with me, I do apologise.
The exhibition in Wells Cathedral took up an enormous amount of time and energy, but well worth it in the end as it proved to be a fantastic success. Thank you to everyone who supported me. I always have a bit of painters block after it, but I am back working again and enjoying the process.
I have, however, decided to change paper, and this has proved to be a bit stressful.
The Fabriano blocks that I have been using for years have been disappointing and the glue does not hold the paper firm. It still bulges in the middle with a lot of water and then the wash collects in the dips leaving uneven patches. The Hanhemuhle is fine, but does not take kinbdly to being scrubbed or having masking fluid on it....the surface is too soft. I will continue to use it, but I need something with a bit harder more forgiving surface, as my basic workhorse support
Almost all my painting friends and demonstrators that I approached use Saunders Waterford, so I decided to join them and ordered both Rough and Not 200g sheets.
There were problems with the order, but now all is resolved, it was time to give it a go.

My apologies for the state of the photo, but it was taken in the evening and I wanted to get some paint on pretty quickly, so could not repeat the shot in daylight, the following morning. But I think you can see where I was heading.
To try the new paper, it seemed wise to stay well within my comfort zone, so flowers it was.
The drawing was easy enough, but gosh, did the painting seem difficult at first!!

I had not realised how difficult it would be to adjust to new paper. The quantity of water required to create the washes I wanted was completely different, the way the paint flowed on the paper was strange, and the slightly harder surface made the brush work feel odd.
I text my closest painting friend to see what she thought.......was it me or was it just a case of getting used to the new surface. She assures me that it is the latter and all will be well with a bit of practice.

Anyway, at least the process did not have to change. As I wanted lovely fresh reds for the poppies, I painted the flowers first (red does not mix too happily in my experience, with a pre painted background) using a single pigment red, and then added the stems and the black hearts using Natural Tint. I then erased the pencil lines from the original drawing.

When the flowers and leaves were completely dry, I wet the background and dropped in a variety of greens, gold and some of the red used for the poppies. I always try to add some of the subject colour to the background as this seems to give the two elements some cohesion. I hope you think it works, and by the time I was happy with the result I was beginning to get to grips with the new surface.
As an aside, I have recently bought some new brushes and am now using a couple of Sable/Prolene mix brushes which I really like. Pure sable has not worked for me in the past as I preferred a slightly stiffer brush, but these seem to be a really good alternative. 

Saunders Waterford 200g Extra White Not Surface

30 x 40 cm


  1. Beautiful poppies Yvonne, always so interesting to read your commentary. Thanks for your tip about adding some of the subject colours to the background, just a hint of them certainly makes a difference :D)

    1. Thanks for the lovely comments, Sue. It is always good to share useful tips.