Category Archives: 5.2 Working with mixed media

Research Point; Goldsworthy

Think about the differences between using pure watercolour and mixed media.

We are asked to look at the work of ANDY GOLDSWORTHY who uses the melting quality of water and gravity to create images which appear to be painted by nature itself. For instance Source of Scaur, made by mixing snow with ground red stone taken from Scaur water. He thrills at finding red stone everywhere in the world and sees a connection, a direct connection with us. The only reason our blood is red is because it contains iron, the same is true for the red stone. His love of nature is existential. As much, he says, as he would like to be able to work in a studio, he needs to be outdoors.

In 2003 he went to Nova Scotia for a commission and made a film showing the process of his work. He created an ice crystal sculpture weaving through a rock, like a meandering river. It kept breaking and when it did he was inconsolably cold, but in the evening, to his great delight, the sun conspired to set behind his finished sculpture, illuminating it, whilst a small hill provided a dark background to show it off. He comments in his video “it is water, the river and the sea made solid.”

Water has this remarkable quality and it can be celebrated equally well in its pure form as complemented or contrasted with other materials.


Using resists experimentally

Watercolour exercises 30 (5)Here we are asked to use resists in a less structured way. Starting with a few experiments. I did not use my sketchbook as I find the raised texture of NOT watercolour paper changes the effects so did a few experiments on an A4 piece of watercolour paper.

Adding salt, glue and masking fluid. I want to change the colour palette from pink and green to umber and blue.

Watercolour exercises 30 (8)

Oil pastel, watercolour and gouache_ 15 May 2015_ 29.7 x 42 cm

I enjoyed making white marks on white paper and then seeing the outcome when the wash is added  and I really like the textured effect of using oil pastel followed by watercolour.

It is something I will continue to experiment with. The glue and salt add some interesting contrasts.


Mixed media on coloured and white paper; Sketchbook 2; 3,5

Starting with two sketches on white paper and then two sketches on paper I have coloured, this exercise will combine the use of mixed media and coloured grounds. I chose an image that, I think, lends itself well to abstraction.

Watercolour on sketchbook_ 6 May 2015_ 9 x 12 cm (images)

Watercolour exercises 30 (1)

Watercolour, mixed media on sketchbook_ 8 May 2015_ 9 x 13 cm (images)

Watercolour exercises 30 (2)

I used yellow ochre as a background. The top sketch is watercolour and gouache, while the lower sketch has pencil, watercolour, gouache, charcoal and oil pastel.

Watercolour mixed media_ 10 May 2015_ 15″ x 11″

Watercolour exercises 30 (3)

I liked the second sketch I did on coloured paper with all the media combinations so did the same with the first image, adding gouache, charcoal and oil pastels to the watercolour.

Watercolour mixed media _ 11 May 2015_ 15″ x 11″

Watercolour exercises 30 (4)

In these exercises I deliberately avoided any form of representation. Moving onto coloured ground was helpful in trying to be more experimental with colour and form, as well as not being constrained by issues of accuracy with the original.

Exploring one subject in various ways – paintings

Watercolour and Pen_ 25 April 2015_  29.7 x 42 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (5)

Pen, Watercolour and Gouache_ 27 April 2015_ 29.7 x 42 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (6)

Watercolour, Gouache and Charcoal_ 29 April 2015_ 29.7 x 42 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (7)

Pen, Watercolour, Charcoal and Oil Pastel_ 2 May 2015_ 29.7 x 42 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (8)

Painting the same image in different ways was a good way to find different colours and shapes in the images I was painting.

I had enjoyed using the wax resist techniques in the first part of the course and wanted to explore that further so chose oil pastels as an additional medium, together with some pigment liners and charcoal sticks which I already had. The latter I find really useful to give structure to the watercolour and charcoal I find adds instant drama. The oil pastels are wonderful to use as they give you the chance to work towards light again.

They are all mediums I would use again and I enjoyed doing all the paintings, especially the last one which brings out the colour of watercolour, the drama of charcoal and the three dimensionality of oil pastels.

Having said that, I was trying to get away from the figurative as we are supposed to be learning to paint abstract, but I have not succeeded in doing that on these occasions. Maybe later.


Exploring one subject in various ways; Sketchbook 1; 64-65

In this exercise the theme is Lime Avenue at Kenwood House. The first image was taken in October last year, whilst the other images are more recent, taken at different times of day. Starting with sketches in sketchbook.

Pen and watercolour on sketchbook_ 22 April 2015_ 9 x 13 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (1)

Pen, watercolour and gouache on sketchbook_23 April 2015_ 9 x 13 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (2) 

Watercolour, gouache and charcoal on sketchbook_23 April 2015_ 9 x 13 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (3)

Pen, watercolour, oil pastel and charcoal on sketchbook_ 25 April 2015_ 9 x 13 cm

Watercolour exercises 29 (4)