Wokingham Art Society
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Heather Jolliffe
Watercolour and watercolour pencils, 16/6/2009
See her work at http://www.ukcps.co.uk/members/jolliffe_h/index.html
Email her at heatherjolliffe@btinternet.com or phone 0771 970 4591
Webmaster's note: please excuse my poor photography: cheap new unfamiliar camera. I'm expecting better later.
Heather introduced herself as a landscape and wildlife artist, founder member of the UK Coloured Pencil Society and tutor at the "Open College of the Arts" (see External Contacts). Here are two examples of previous paintings.

For us, she was working on Saunders Waterford's new Hot Pressed 638g (300lb) paper with Derwent Aquatone solid watercolour sticks and watercolour pencils. She also used some Shin Han Watercolours.

This paper has a slightly creamy colour and a little more surface texture than one expects with a hot-pressed paper. At 300lb it is virtually card and needs no soaking or stretching.
The sticks and pencils have identical pigment but the wooden pencils have only a thin core of it while the sticks are all solid pigment (wrapped in a thin removable plastic skin). The sticks do not need the frequent sharpening that pencils do (to remove wood) and are much cheaper in terms of price per gram of pigment. For her first painting, Corfe Castle, Heather put "horizon blue" and a little cobalt watercolour into a previously wetted sky. She worked upside down so that the stronger colour ran to the "top". Kitchen towel lifted out some lighter cloud areas and indigo helped to darken the top of the sky some more.
Early stage Then the dry watercolours (sticks and pencils). Heather kept reiterating that the paper must be bone dry when you apply these, otherwise the colour will soak into the paper and be impossible to move. She spread some yellowish foreground with the side of a stick and then used a light grey graphite-coloured one to position the castle and middle-distance features. A couple of green ones introduced colour and darkened the light grey for the trees and grass, although she says she usually prefers to mix her own greens.

She had used a 1.5 inch square flat brush on the sky but most of the brushwork was with a No 14 round. By tickling the wet brush over the dry lines the colour was virtually all lifted and spread so that the drawing lines became barely visible.
Wet brush and dry pigment alternated, but Heather advised against mixing colours in situ. Instead put patches of pigment at the edge of the paper, mix there and then carry the mixed colour to the picture. Hint: all you need for an alfresco watercolour sketch are patches of dry colour making a palette on the edge of the page, a brush and some water.

Heather normally limits her palette to two yellows (lemon and cadmium), two reds (cadmium and rose madder), three blues (ultramarine violet, cerulean and indigo) and a couple of browns (burnt umber and vandyke). She avoids staining colours like alizarine and veridian.
She continued darkening in two distinct ways: by adding more layers of the same colour (after the earlier layers were bone dry) and by adding darker colours (again on a dry surface).

For the very darks she mixed indigo and vandyke brown (at the edge of the paper), making such darks that she felt it necessary to turn the board upside down again and add indigo and burnt umber to a re-wetted sky. The damp brush was dabbing continually for texture (eg stone walls).

Heather said she would normally take much longer than this to complete a picture.
Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle
For the second painting, sky and trees, she put down patches of dry colour for the sky and completely eliminated the pencil marks with the wet brush.

Then she built up the trees with a very dark mix of indigo and vandyke brown, reminding us that the tip of the brush should point away from the centre of the mass of foliage.

Heather presented her ideas very clearly and gave us a most interesting evening - we don't often get two paintings for the price of one.

Sam Dauncey
Tree and Cloud

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