Online Mixing Colour Accurately for Watercolour Course

Jackie Isard Botanicals – Mixing Colour Accurately for Watercolour Course (Launches every 3 months, next course September 2018)

I’ve been busy preparing my new online colour course! I’ve developed and planned a course which will help you to ‘See’ colour with a better ‘eye’. It has been very successful so far and students have found they mix colours far more easily than they used to.

The course involves comprehensive notes, video clips together with a series of exercises which can be done in your own time. We cover mixing with primaries, those difficult greens, botanical greys (we touch on this, an advanced course will cover this in more detail at a later stage) and neutral beige/brown tones for those beautiful Autumn colours. There are tutorial videos for some of the exercises as well as videos for beginners. Exercises include making a few small reference charts, matching swatch colours and many other useful tips/exercises. The course also involves some important exercises which are posted to you and your final work will be assessed by post too. Part of the course has to be done by post because this is all about mixing colour accurately. A computer screen or scan/photo/colour copy will not show true colour! There is a Secret student group page for posting work and discussion. I am available on Facebook Private Messenger, Whatsapp or Email to answer any questions you have during the course. Please bear in mind the time difference if you are overseas! I appraise your work as you complete each of the Lesson exercises via Private Messenger and give a personalised final appraisal by letter at the end of the course.

Some student reviews:
“Mixing watercolour accurately is exactly what this fantastic course has taught me and a most enjoyable process too. Very much a novice, the notes and exercises are clear and easy to follow. The feedback was prompt and very helpful. All in all – BRILLIANT! Thanks Jackie.” Sylvia

“I’m very satisfied of improvements obtained. Before my paintings were a bit ‘childish’. Now they are more realistic. I learned to recognize the subtle shades of color, to mix them and to obtain more natural colours. And I understood how much I still have to learn by looking carefully at my surroundings.” Simona

“At last!! I now approach colour mixing in a more organised and knowledgable way. I now search for ‘many’ colours within a plant and have gained the confidence to closely match them. This course should be compulsory for all botanical painters. Jackie is a knowledgable and encouraging tutor who responds quickly to our questions and posts on the ‘Secret’ Student Facebook page. Wish I had taken this course before I started my Certificate! Thank yo Jackie” Catherine

I am very pleased with this course! After all the exercises and tasks, I finally began to see the colour and understood how to mix it. I liked the fact that I had not only charts of colours but even in the end had practical tasks for a better understanding of colour on real leaves and flowers. Separately, I will highlight the fact that Jackie responded very quickly to questions and supported throughout the course. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn how to mix watercolour accurately for Botanical painting” Svitlana

Payment can be made via PayPal, details will be sent on Registration. If you do not have PayPal, it’s really simple to set up online. Just visit www.paypal.com. Bank transfer is only available using a UK bank account. Please request bank details if required.

Contact me for more details!

Blog 12: Painting a Portuguese Shell…

I was given this shell at my Daughter-in-laws wedding last year in Portugal which has their wedding date inscribed underneath it. It has a special meaning to me as you will no doubt understand. So, I had to paint it for the couple to enjoy in their home!

To begin with, shells are rather difficult shapes to draw. Full of spirals or curved lines and beautiful patterns. This shell has lines going both vertically and horizontally over a curved surface. We really need to get those right first! I started by doing the outline of it’s total shape and then worked from the top/middle of the drawing putting in the curves carefully as they go from left to right. As they go round to the edges the space between them reduces almost to a vanishing point. Once these were completed and the little cracks across it’s surface drawn on, I then worked from the centre/top, putting in the vertical lines, across to the left and then across to right. These also curve across the surface subtly….quite tricky!

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My shell has a number of interesting colours and I studied them carefully before I started to make my swatches. A lovely slate blue grey at the top and warm tan colours at the bottom intermingled with beige tones and yellows. I now had a good idea of what colour mixes I would use and created my swatch of colours.
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For the slate blue/grey I used W&N Ultramarine Green Shade (U(GS), Transparent Yellow (TY) and Permanent Rose (PR). Mix it like you’re making black (70% blue, 20% red and 10% yellow) but add in a little bit more of the blue. For the Tan colour I used Burnt Sienna (BS), Quinacridone Gold (QG), a tiny little Indanthrine Blue (IB) and a tiny bit of Sennelier Rose Madder Lake (SRML). I used the SRML to just add a little brightness to the mix. For the second tan colour which is paler and more orangey, I used QG and BS, more of the QG. I also mixed up a black using IB, TY and QM with a little of the U(GS) added for a darker slate grey used at the top of the shell.
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The first step was to add a wet in wet layer using the base colours, grey, beige, warm yellow and rusty browns. When the wet in wet layer was totally dry, I started to add in some of the details with a watered down mix. Step 1: starting to add in some of the vertical and horizontal patterning. Step 2 shows me adding a little more shadowing and some of the cracks in. It’s best not to work with to thick mixes at this stage or your painting will start to look smudgy. Now it’s starting to look more interesting!

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Step 2

From here I now added in more of the background colours to give my shell some form. These were very watered down versions of my original colours plus a slightly bluer version of my slate grey/blue. I applied these individually as a thin wash and then quickly rinse/dry off my brush before softening the edges. It’s important to soften the edges of these washes with a damp brush. It gives a lovely smooth finish.

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See how it’s starting to take shape! On some areas I used a Billy Showell technique to apply rough lose lines, a dry brush method. This gives a little more interest to the patterning, which are not always just curved lines. To do this, I load my brush and splay it into a fan in my palette. Then I slide the brush away from the palette until it forms little points instead of one point. Holding the brush as a 45° angle I then brush lightly across the area. For thinner lines hold the brush more upright. (There is a video demo of this technique on my Feathery Pursuits blog) This takes a bit of practice, so try it out on a separate piece of paper first!20180212_113038
To add in the spots onto the surface I used another technique. These are not just spots you see. Some are blurred and others have a line coming down from them. To achieve a blurred effect the paper needs to be damp. But rather than dampen the paper first, it’s best to do this with the brush afterwards. You have to be quick and patient! Here’s how it’s done:

Some of these dots were paler than others so I used a watered down mix for those but the same method to apply them.
20180212_171931Once the dots were finished I worked on the top of the shell. This area is not solid colour so I’ve dampened the paper first to get a more mottled effect. It looks pretty messy at this stage but once I add the fine detail it comes together. To get a stronger mix this time I’ve used Indanthrine Blue (IB), TY and PR with only a little of the U(GS) in my mix. This part of the shell is quite dark and U(GS) is a weaker pigment. It’s make the same shade of slate grey/blue though.

From here I worked at the fine detailing on the top part of my shell, even the vertical lines show up on parts of it as they go down into the striped part. To the right side there is a slight halo of light where the slate grey disappears over the edge of the shell. I left this part a little lighter and graduated it away. It’s a little like the reflected light from the surface which you get when painting pears and apples** see below for better photo!

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Now to join bottom and top together. There were lots of lines to do here so I had to be very careful! Firstly, to guide me I added in the lighter blue/grey section between the darker lines. Then I carefully added in the vertical lines and horizontal curves. **You can see the slightly highlighted edges at the top of the shell better in this photo below middle.

Next, I worked on the cracks to enhance their depth. I added a darker mix into the top areas of these cracks with a thin wavy line, softened this a little with a damp brush and at the same time pushed the paint back into the top part of each wavy line. This creates backup which is perfect for this type of detail. It gives a nice sharp edge with a thin graduation in front of it. Lastly, a little extra shading around the sides and bottom to make it pop off the page!

I hope you enjoyed this Blog and that you are encouraged to have a go at a shell. Happy painting!

Blog 10: SBA awards – ‘Vessels of Life’

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I was thrilled last week to receive a phone call from the SBA (Society of Botanical Artists) announcing that I had been presented with a CBM (Certificate of Botanical Merit) award for my seed head painting ‘Vessels of Life’. This award was created by the SBA to give credit to artists whose paintings/drawings are created in true botanical style and who may at some time in the future be awarded medals at the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Botanical Exhibition. I am now very privileged to use the letters CBM after my name. So you can see why I am so excited!

For more about the awards see: https://www.botanicalartandartists.com/news/society-of-botanical-art-2017-certificates-of-botanical-merit

This was one of three paintings which were chosen to be hung at the SBA exhibition The other two are featured below –

The exhibition this year is outstanding and I will now be seeing it twice when I go again on the 21st! My award was presented to my by Jekka of Jekka’s Herb Farm . Her speech was really interesting, informative and funny. It is sad to see Sarah Wall-Armitage retire as president but welcome Billy Showell as the new one!

For more about the painting of the painting and video tips, see Blog 9

Cards, small prints and Limited Edition unmounted or mounted prints available. Contact me on Facebook or here.
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Thank you for reading!
All photos and images on this blog are copyright of Jackie Isard Botanicals, all rights reserved