Friday, 23 April 2010

Back into the groove

When I was a little boy, I remember having these water painting books where the pages were full of pictures that were just the outline of simple everyday objects, but the white pages were impregnated with little dots. These dots, when you applied water to them with a brush, erupted into flowing paint. When I had painted everything with water, the pictures were really colourful.

Then when I got to move up to the higher class of the junior school, my new teacher took us out on a nature trip and we all had to pick a flower to draw, paint, crayon or whatever when we got back to the classroom. It must have been around this time of year, as I chose a bluebell. I also chose to draw the flower with pastels and colour it in. The thrill of recreating that little flower on paper with the lovely pastel colours, paying great attention to detail and feeling really proud of the finished work, has remained with me all these years. The teacher must have thought the work was good, as she pinned it up on the gallery wall, and only the special pictures got to go up on there! The thing is though; this was the very start of my fascination with all forms of art, and drawing and painting in particular.

My love of watercolour painting didn’t start until many years later, when in the mid 1990’s; I took up watercolour painting evening classes. It was here that my tutor Mary Rogers taught me much about how to use the medium and I am so grateful to her for that. My work got quite prolific for a couple of years or so until computers came along and gradually my painting dwithered to a halt as more technical hobbies took my interest. But by the end of the first decade of the 21st century, I have had much yearning to get back to watercolour painting. A year or so ago I actually painted a bunch of daffodils – it wasn’t great, but got me back into the yearning to paint a little more. Then earlier this year, I saw a great photo of London, taken by one of my online friends and I decided to paint a version of it
This week I have signed up for a ten week course of evening classes, and I am so excited about it. It feels so nice as the paint flows under my brush on the canvass. The way the bright, vibrant colours run down the work, sometimes mingling with other colours and shades. The way more layers add depth to the shadows, bringing the highlights forward in the picture is so satisfying.

Yes, I am now in full colour water painting mode, and it is fantastic!

images: (top) West country barrow; painted 1996
(below) London street scene; painted 2010

 The top painting of the barrow is one of my earlier works, shortly before moving on to other hobbies. The London street scene was the direct result of my yearning to get back into watercolour painting, and inspired me to join an evening class, which may be a little basic for me, but it will force me to get out my paints at least once a week and actually create something rather than putting it off for yet another day.


  1. How lovely to be able to follow a brand new blog from the very beginning. I love both of these paintings, and the story behind them. I would be delighted if I had painted them myself.I am looking forward to seeing some work from your classes - Not that you need them!

  2. Like Sandra I love both these paintings. They are so different yet each holds it's in. I look forward to seeing more of your work Frank!

  3. Sandra, thanks for being the first follower of my new blog - I hope I won't dissapoint you! Yes, class work will predominantly appear here with a selection of other stuff old and new as soon as I get the chance.
    I have so much to show, and think that all of us need something like class work for the experience as well as seeing and studying what others are doing.

  4. Thanks Ingrid. Landscapes and buildings are my favourite subjects, but I will tackle anything, albeit nervously!

  5. Wonderful Frank. I discovered art by accident in my mid-fifties and became quite excited at finding I had a new skill (using the word loosely). Though you are returning to watercolours I sense the same excitement in your post. I'm looking forward to following your work.

  6. Finding watercolour painting again after a long break is like finding romance all over again. The same funny feelings and excitement come over you as you work the paint gently over your work.