We had a few days of snow here in Northern Germany. I used them to quickly take some reference photos for watercolours. Snow can be nice and rewarding as a subject for watercolours because it’s already on the paper. You only have to paint the things around the snow🙂. Furthermore, the large amount of white on the paper allows for strong contrasts.
Some time has passed since I painted my last watercolour. I used the quiet days between christmas and the first days of the new year to get back into the habit. It was easier than thought and I produced two paintings from photos I took during a holiday I did in late October in Husum, Northern Germany. The first one shows a ‘Warft’ on the ‘Hallig’ Hooge. We had a beautiful day there with cold but sunny weather and because of being there out of the holiday season it was fairly void of people. The second one is a quick picture of a thatched cottage in Husum. I changed the sourroundings quite a bit so the cottage was only an incentive just to paint something.
When I haven’t painted for a while I usually feel reluctuant to start again because I fear that I will fail and that keeps me from starting anew. However, when I managed to produce a painting it usually feels quite good and not so clumsy and akward as I initially thought it would. I should try to paint more just for the sake of painting without having something showable in mind. That would keep me going on more continuous basis, I believe.
But as you can see here in this blog: I am not the best in producing continuity (at least when it comes to blogging). I know that my blog is not the most active one. From time to time I do think about abandoning it, as I regularly realize that posting something meaningful is not my strength. But then I think that all this doesn’t matter and maybe one of the two or three readers or passers by maybe enjoys some of my pictures. It seems to be similar to the painting experience. When I managed to start a blog post, I actually feel better then.
I am proud to tell you that I’ve won Steve Hall’s watercolour challenge. He posted a lovely landscape reference image in his spring newsletter this year and participants were supposed to produce a watercolour from it and send it in. You can see my result below. I won a great book about the watercolours and oils of Edward Wesson. It was written by Steve Hall and Barry Miles and it shows an awesome range of the impressive work of Wesson. Check out Steve’s website. He has a nice set of fresh and convincing waterolours there.
Recently I was at some kind of conference. I knew that I wasn’t interested in attending but my superior wanted us to go and so I had to follow. It wasn’t a total failure: I met some former students of mine and had some nice finger food after the conference. Theconference itself however was totally boring. In August last year I was to Berlin to a similar kind of meeting and it was a bit like revisiting this: same speakers, same speeches, etc. Not only have I heard some of the speeches before (or very similar ones), one speech was so full of common sense content and truisms that I could barely stand it. Luckily, together with the agenda and list of speakers, I received a writing pad and a ballpoint pen. And so I started to draw. It was actually quite a nice experience. My right neighbour didn’t say a word – and my superior on the left even had some nice words concerning my drawing skills (she obviously was bored, too). I could listen and draw (i.e. do something useful). As the drawing was quite ok, I repeated this in my next school internal meeting.
The other day, I tried to draw round forms, and I have to admit: it was disaster. For some time already I’ve felt that round forms are one of my problems in drawing (besides all the other ones which exist :)). So I thought it might be a good idea to practice some round forms. But I just couldn’t draw a circle as I saw it before me. It always looked wrong and crooked and lopsided, which left me frustrated. The solution came to me after looking again into my Felix Scheinberger books: He just doesn’t seem to draw round forms round but rather draws them using comparably straight lines in different angles which in the end create the impression of being something really round.
Our garden is partly surrounded by an old beech hedge. It adds to the charm of the whole house which has been built in 1935 and it functions as a shelter for birds or as something to kick a football in (the latter at least as far as my sons are concerned). But although the hedge is a beautiful thing it means at least once a year: work, work, work. It needs cutting which isn’t the worst, but getting all the greenery away to the dumping ground is a challenge each year. Furthermore, as much as I like to use a nice toy – my electric hedge cutter -, after cutting around twenty meters of a more than man high hedge, my arms feel wobbly and weak so that I can hardly hold a coffee mug. One part of the hedge was even around three meters high, a height which I wasn’t willing to tackle each future year. So we made a decision and cut this part down to maybe half of its height. Although this part was only around 7-ten meters long, the amount of garden waste was immense. Three times I had to the dumping ground. What was a nice thing early in the morning. But already the second go was a bit of a nuisance as the waste ground was full of pensioneers wanting to get rid of their garden waste, too. But finally I managed to throw everything into the container and now I have a more manageable hedge as well. Only days after cutting the hedge severely down it already started to develop new sprouts. So I quickly had to draw one of the beech trees in a condition which I found interesting to draw.
Last weekend I had some time to go painting outside a bit. Although there were some clouds and rain throughout the morning, the sky looked pretty blue when I started and I thought that now is the time to have a go. I drove to a nice spot where I’ve wanted to paint for some while now, sat down on my chair and began with the pencil drawing. Not halfway through the drawing however, it started raining again. I took shelter under a large tree, covered my paper and – since I don’t see myself as a good weather painter – waited half an hour or so. When the rain stopped I went back to drawing, which was more difficult than at the beginning: my jacket and sleeves were wet, water was dripping from the trees, the paper was a bit wet which made it more difficult to draw with a pencil, I was cold because of the waiting in the rain. And finally it started raining again. I had to realize that it wouldn’t make sense to go on. These are the moments I wish I’d be an oil painter. I completed the picture at home using the ref image I did with my camera.