3.11.08

Dirty pink



I'm often asked how I get certain painting effects...and sometimes I have an answer. Often I don't. As with my cooking, I tend to rely on experience, instinct and luck, in varying quantities. For this rabbit, I knew she had to be a grubby pink - remember when rubber plasters used to be a salmon pink colour? And after a few days of wearing it and playing in the dirt, they would go a dull, dirty pink colour? Exactly what I wanted for 'Bunchy'. I knew just how I was going to get it; I still haven't cleaned my paint bowls from the book job. Not because I'm a complete slattern, but I like the way paint changes as it ages and dries. So I added a splosh of water to this mongrel mix of leftovers and gave it a good mashing.




And there it is, a muddy pink which is just right for a saggy old stuffed rabbit, who's been dumped on a shelf and forgotten about.




One of the so-called golden rules is not to mix different types of paint such as gouache and watercolour, because they separate. They do indeed, and this is just why I like bunging them together - it makes for a slightly unpredictable wash, and depending on how well you mix it when using it, you can vary the tones from a uniform colour to a more patchy effect. And it often gives a lovely granulated finish too.




Watercolour paint dries to a different colour, and using this kind of wash, it's always interesting to see how things dry out, with some of the pigments isolating themselves.




The other thing I keep a constant eye on is how it is drying. I usually let things dry naturally, to keep the soft granulation. I prop things under the board, partly to counteract the slope of the studio, partly to manipulate the wash - here it is puddled in the bottom of the ear, and there is so much water there, it just has to be left for a couple of hours to quietly settle into a smooth finish, without any blotching or tidelines.




And here we are as of now. Hopefully she will be finished by tomorrow night. I am gradually getting back into the swing of it a; Satsuma was too bright and fussy for my liking - I didn't enjoy painting him, and to me at least, it shows. Bunchy is more where I like to be at. A bit plain and dull, but with bags of personality. Hmmm.





19 comments:

Frances said...

Hello PG and many thanks for another excellent and generous tutorial. It is so wonderful to see how your pictures develop.

Yes, mixing watercolor and gouache can certainly create wonderful, unexpected results. The more that we experiment, the more our instincts are strengthened. I always keep a little palette with a mix of these paints.

My introduction to gouache was years ago when I aspired to become a textile designer. That career did not welcome me, but how I have loved more about that medium, though I still prefer watercolor's transparency.

Let me stop typing, and get back to my own paintbrushes!

xo

Cat in the Foxgloves said...

How fun! I hope you show more photos as Bunchy progresses.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Love the dirty pink, also looks like pinks from Elizabeth's House in Marakeesh....

Lee said...

This is looking beautiful! I hope you post some pictures of Bunchy when it is all finished :) :)

Libbys Blog said...

I love the way you can see the colour in your head before you mix it, that is something I could not do! I admire what you do!

Gail said...

Can't wait to see how Bunchy turns out - looking lovely so far. Thanks for showing your work in progress, it makes the end result seem more real in some way ;-)

-Gail X

Jess said...

Thanks for those fantastic close-up pics of your mixing bowls! I love the process of mixing colours and most of the time, leave dried on colours where they are, just in case they're the perfect ingredient for the next one. I haven't ever yet mixed gouache with watercolour, but I'll certainly try it now. I can't wait to see the finished Bunchy :)

Caroline B said...

Don't you just love the whole process of applying washes? Have you tried Winsor & Newton's Potter's Pink - fabulous (new) Elastaplast colour with an unpredictable granulation. Wish I had the time to play with my watercolours these days...

Lynne said...

I've always been drawn to watercolors and have always wanted to try my hand at them. You do such beautiful work. Come give me lesson, won't you? :)

Kim said...

I'm already loving bunchy. I had a dirty pink dog thing that looked very similar. Although to be more precise it was a pink square with ears and a face!!! But I loved it anyway, and of course it was named Pinky :) Your blog brings back many bittersweet memories

Kim x

acornmoon said...

It is always fascinating to me to see how other artist's work. It looks like you like to stretch your paper first, I am a great fan of stretched paper too. I love the way your painting is shaping up with it's wonderful watercolour grainy bits.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Looks like another beautiful painting in the mix ... I love your art!

Doda said...

What a great way to get the the right colour!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

It's really fascinating to learn of the process. However you do it, you seem to achieve the perfect colours for these little creatures.

Bee said...

Grubby pink should be a crayola color! We used to use pink erasers (or rubbers, here) and they would get that same grubby pink.

Do you ever give tutorials to children?

Deb said...

hello gretel. great post about the chimney sweep and your artwork. i ws wondering what paper you use to paint on? i am currently experimenting with paint and am bit scared of all the different paper there is to choose from. dx.

Deb said...

hello gretel. great post about the chimney sweep and your artwork. i ws wondering what paper you use to paint on? i am currently experimenting with paint and am bit scared of all the different paper there is to choose from. dx.

Deb said...

PAD is the one in Preston-well thats the one i go to-you should check them out online-i am sure they will love your cards and also prints of your work. dx.
http://www.padshopandgallery.com/

matt said...

Great post, Gretel. Love to see the process. I also enjoyed the intriguing phrase "counteract the slope of the studio."