• Materials & Techniques,  Techniques

    Creating Abstract Sea and Landscrapes

    No, that’s not a typo! I’ve always been a fan of ‘accidental’ art, and this technique is one of those eminently satisfying yet essentially very simple ways of painting, that can deliver stunning results. That’s not to say that every single piece will create a masterpiece, but that if you do a whole bunch of them, you’ll end up with at least one or two that are frameworthy, and part of the joy of this activity is the very unpredictability of the results. You never quite know what you are going to get! The result is very like the technique that the artist Gerhard Richter has used in his work (on…

  • Techniques

    Easy-Peasy Watercolours

    I remember reading that the artist JMW Turner once advised an amateur artist that her watercolours would be improved immeasurably if she dunked them in a bucket of water. This was not meant as an insult, but I think was a genuine piece of advice. The beauty of watercolour, which Turner especially exploited to its full, lies in its softness and delicacy, but this can be difficult to achieve successfully. Watercolour can be difficult to control, and I for one have come to realise that I perhaps strive to control it too much. So I have been very pleased with the new watercolour markers I recently treated myself to, because…

  • Features,  Techniques

    Mixed Media Experiments

    It seems to me like the more creative projects I get myself involved in, the more I want to do – my mind seems to be in a state of creative overdrive at the moment so that I have at least half a dozen projects on the go.  Of course I don’t really have time for it all, hence I have been somewhat quieter than usual online! At some point they will hopefully all come to fruition, but in the meantime I wanted to share one of the projects I’ve been working on. This combines several different areas I’ve been exploring of late – layers, spray inks, and oil pastels,…

  • leaf-frottage
    Materials & Techniques,  Techniques

    Fun with Frottage

    One of the things I most love about art is its sensual qualities. Art can be many things, but for me it’s the visual and tactile elements of art that I especially enjoy, and which I think are also particularly fun for children to explore. I’ve always had a particular attraction to texture especially – as an art student, I spent a lot of time seeking out ruined dilapidated buildings to paint because of the wonderful subtle colour combinations and textures you found there – not to mention their evocative atmosphere. A great way to achieve texture on paint is by using the technique of ‘frottage’. This is basically the…

  • Art Materials,  Materials & Techniques,  Techniques

    Dip-dyed Landscapes

    I love water-colour, I love landscape art, and I also love the dip-dyed effect. However in spite of my love of watercolour, I’ve never really mastered it as a technique – as a medium it can be difficult to control – and perhaps that’s where my problem has always been, I was trying to control it too much. I recently treated myself to some new water-colour inks, and decided to just play with them for a while purely for the sheer pleasure of it. Me and the boys did a lot of this while my computer was broken, and you’ll probably see lots more of it on here in the…

  • Nature,  Outdoor,  Techniques

    Experimenting with Sun Prints

    For this post I decided to have a go at Sun Prints with the kids.  The proper name for these is Cyanotypes, and it is a technique first developed in the early days of photography by Sir John Herschel in 1842.  In fact they are the original ‘blue-prints’. They’re really simple to do if you buy the prepared paper, and the effect is almost ‘magical’ for children.  They are particularly effective using leaves, flowers, plants, feathers etc., but you can use cut out shapes, or any flat household objects which will leave a distinctive silhouette.  I love the resulting ethereal, almost ghostly quality that you get with them.  It’s a…