Featured Artist – MarkA

I have been fortunate enough, through the medium of art. To make friends with some very talented artists. Most of these connections have been made via the watercolour website Purewatercolour.com

So I thought it would be nice to feature a selection of the artists from that site, to showcase the talent and individuality that is achievable in watercolour painting.

Todays featured artist is MarkA, based in London, England. Mark uses watercolour to great effect in the subjects he paints. I asked Mark a few questions regarding his art work and below is a transcript of that conversation:

Do you have a favourite artist from the past?

I can honestly say the answer to that is NO. I have only just got into painting a few years ago and until then I really had no interest in art whatsoever. I did decorate the walls of a holiday home with prints of Jack Vettriano as I like the mystique behind his subjects.

Roughly how long have you painted portraits?

As I said, I am a relative newbie when it comes to art. I first picked up a brush at the age of 61 in December 2015 when joining in with a watercolour class on a cruise ship. I was instantly hooked. My first attempt at a portrait was of the actor Jack Nicholson in May 2016.

What other types of painting do you like to paint?

I like seascapes and landscapes, particularly anything with strong reflections in water and shadows. I also like to paint loose floral displays as well as botanical art, so I’m a bit eclectic in that respect.

Would you say then that emotion and character play more of a role in your art than realism?

When I first started I would say that the reverse was true. Most of my painting so far has been from photos or video instruction and I would have been disappointed if my painting didn’t look exactly like the photo, which is what I was striving for. I’m now trying to be a bit more independent in my interpretation so emotion and character are playing an increasingly important role.

Which two colours would you choose to paint if you had to select two?

That’s a difficult one as you need at least the three basic primaries to give a broad range of mixes. I suppose my two favourite colours are Payne’s Grey (and some of my portrait work has been done just using this colour) and Burnt Umber.

Do you have a preference of subject when you paint a portrait?

I like to pick a subject which has interesting skin tones and strong light sources wherever possible. I find that men, of a certain age let’s say, with their weathered looks make particularly good subjects. Although I have painted my grandchildren, I find that, in general children are a difficult subject as it is often difficult to avoid making them look older than they are. Having said that, probably my favourite portrait so far has been one I did of my grandson who was two years old at the time.

Do you have any advice for some one starting out in portraiture?

As I consider myself as someone who has only just “started out” in portraiture my advice may not be as worthy as a seasoned portrait artist. However, I think that drawing and proportions are the best foundations to a good portrait. So invest in an online drawing course (there are hundreds online) and make use of whatever tools you have to ensure you get the facial features in the right proportions. This could be by using the grid method, by using tracing paper or a light pad to trace the image, or by proportional dividers. Some purists might consider it cheating, but until you develop your drawing skills I would consider it necessary.

Do you have an example you can share with us of a portrait you painted and the reasons behind the way you painted it?

 

This portrait of a man wearing a Keffiyeh was painted as part of an online challenge on the purewatercolour.com website. In order to get the textured look to the man’s weathered face I used layer upon layer of weak glazes and made use of white gouache in parts to bring out the opacity of the skin.

Many thanks to Mark for taking the time too chat to me about his portraits and the techniques he uses in the creation of each portrait. Below is a gallery of Mark’s works:

 

 

 

Featured Artist – RobertF

I have been fortunate enough, through the medium of art. To make friends with some very talented artists. Most of these connections have been made via the watercolour website Purewatercolour.com

So I thought it would be nice to feature a selection of the artists from that site, to showcase the talent and individuality that is achievable in watercolour painting.

Todays featured artist  is RobertF,  based in Las Vegas in the USA, Robert uses watercolour to express the emotions and characteristics of the subjects he paints. I asked Robert a few questions regarding his art work and below is a transcript of that conversation:

Do you have a favourite artist from the past?

I would say that the artist I like most from the past is Rembrandt. I find that the realism he displays in his portraits is phenomenal and the use of dark backgrounds to emphasise the subject really appeals to me.

Roughly how long have you painted portraits?

I have been creating art since I was a child, but I have only really been focussing on portraiture for the last three years.

What other types of painting do you like to paint?

I don’t really have a preference over the subjects that I paint, but I like to produce paintings that evoke, thought, meaning and contemplation within the viewer. People doing ordinary tasks interest me and I hope to paint more of that.

Would you say then that emotion and character play more of a role in your art than realism?

Most definitely, I would agree with that. Realism is for photography. Art should tell a story or evoke an emotion. was taught to follow my eye movement. Architecture and buildings can and should tell a story, they can say things like “Here is the entrance” or even lead you on a journey when walking through. This can be achieved by light, shapes, perspective, and colour.  I attempt to apply this technique and style to my paintings but I find it also applies to portraits.

Which two colours would you choose to paint if you had to select two?

Red and Blue. Both have a wonderful range of tones. I like a high level of contrast within paintings and I think that by combining Red and Blue, both in their singular state and from mixing them a pleasing dark hue could be achieved. The third primary, Yellow, can be represented by the white of the paper. With these two colours I can mix dark tones, mid tones and light tones and also use the white of the paper.

Do you have a preference of subject when you paint a portrait?

I tend to paint older males the most, I personally find that they have lots of character in their faces and in a way their faces tell the story of their lives. I tend not to paint younger persons portraits as I don’t consider myself to be very good at blending colours to replicate the smooth and unblemished skin tones that are so prevalent in younger portrait studies.

Do you have any advice for some one starting out in portraiture?

That’s a difficult question to answer, I think I would firstly ask the person what they wanted to capture most within the portrait, such as realism or emotion etc. Then once they have a clearer understanding of the goal they are trying to achieve, I would emphasise the importance of accurate sketching and drawing. In order to paint a successful portrait, the initial sketches are so important.

Do you have an example you can share with us of a portrait you painted and the reasons behind the way you painted it?

With this portrait, I wanted to try and capture a few things. I wanted to try and make the viewer see the energy coursing through the subject, going from his hand, through his face and then through his body.

I tried to achieve this show of energy through the  lack of colour within the painting and also the minimalistic way that I painted the face to achieve the eye movement across the piece and thus relay the emotion I was trying to capture.

Many thanks to Robert for taking the time out of his busy schedule to chat to me about his portraits and the techniques he uses in the creation of each portrait. Below is a gallery of Roberts works :

 

 

Featured Artist – FionaF on Portraits

I have been fortunate enough, through the medium of art. To make friends with some very talented artists. Most of these connections have been made via the watercolour website Purewatercolour.com

So I thought it would be nice to feature a selection of the artists from that site, to showcase the talent and individuality that is achievable in watercolour painting.

Todays featured artist is FionaF and Fiona uses watercolour to express the emotions and characteristics of the subject she paints. I asked Fiona a few questions regarding her art work and below is a transcript of that conversation:

Do you have a favourite artist from the past?

My Favourite artist from the past is Gustave Caillebotte. He was an impressionist, but painted far more realistically than most. The atmosphere he managed to get in his paintings was wonderful. I’m also very fond of Monet – the colour, the looseness, his obvious love of life.

Roughly how long have you painted portraits?

I have only been painting for 4 years, and did my first portrait about 9 months ago. I was always afraid to try, but once I did, I found it so much easier than I had imagined.

What other types of painting do you like to paint?

I love landscapes – especially Fall and Winter scenes. Spring & Summer are harder to me, as I find that greens are the most difficult to make look natural.

Which two colours would you choose to paint with if you had too select two?

I would choose Payne’s Grey and Prussian Blue.

Do you have a preference of subject when you paint a portrait?

I like faces to be full of character and interest and life well lived. Don’t like the pretty, bland faces. I also like to paint the faces of people I admire.

Would you say then that emotion and character play more of a role in your art than realism?

I think that would be true – I have to really like something in order to paint it, but dislike too much detail. Would prefer the viewer to fill in the gaps!

Do you have any advice for some one starting out in portraiture?

Try just drawing the faces first. Do pages of eyes, pages of noses, etc. Once you feel comfortable with your drawing, I would highly recommend following Robert’s step by step guide on how to paint a portrait, although I’m not as patient as he and don’t wait around for washes to dry, etc.

Do you have an example you can share with us of a portrait you painted and the reasons behind the way you painted it?

The first portrait I tried was Sadhu – and I am therefore quite attached to it! It’s only really in the last three months that I have done most of my portraits.

 

 

But I was very pleased with my Robert Downey Jr. portrait. Although he has a beautiful face, with soulful eyes, he has lived through more than most, and it shows in his eyes.

 

Many thanks to Fiona for giving us this brilliant insight into her portraits and art. Below is a gallery featuring Fiona’s portraits:

 

Creativity in the form of written word

Creativity can take all manner of forms, from painting to creative writings.  I have been lucky enough to engage online with someone who does both of these things really well.

Through the website Purewatercolour.com I have met a lot of talented people from all corners of the globe. That is where I first spoke to Judy, a watercolour artist from Florida, U.S.A.

I was intrigued to learn that Judy, alongside her husband Pete. Have published not one but three Crime novels between them. Judy as also published children’s books and she is hoping to publish a new children’s book in which she will also do all the illustrations, thus linking her watercolour with her writing.

The three crime novels are based around a central character, Lucas Holt a private investigator.  And the books are full of plot twists and turns to keep you guessing and making each one a “hard to put down” experience.

The three books are readily available from Amazon in both paperback and digitally via Kindle. I have personally read book one and can recommend the books to anyone who enjoys a good read.



Judy has her own website which gives you a detailed insight into the books and has interesting interviews with Judy and Pete. If you are interested in finding out more about these great books, there are also sneak peaks available on the website.

Be sure to add and follow Judy and Pete on their social media accounts (links are available on their website) to ensure you are amongst the first to hear about new releases. I do know that they are currently writing the fourth book in the series and I for one cannot wait.