Kerrie Woodhouse

Whimsical Watercolour

Famous artists

Expressive and spontaneous

My art journeyphoenixarttally

expressive and spontaneous This painting is my version of Claude Croney's Captain Poole's Shed. 

I can't say that it is my favourite sort of subject matter but I do love the loose style and the minimalist approach. It feels lovely to look for the big shapes of colour and key lines and place them in rather quickly. Feels like the quick gesture drawings that you do in figure drawing class.

I must have that sort of personality. I think it is impatience. That's what Claude seemed to think anyway:

  "I prefer watercolor because of its unpredictability.  The medium seems to fit my personality: I am impatient, and watercolor has a certain spontaneity and immediacy that appeals to me." Claude Croney


Less is more...

My art journeyphoenixarttally

Less is more... I have finally moved on to lesson 2 in my Udemy course - Watercolour - Fast and Loose.  This one is all about minimalism.

The master we are learning from in this lesson is Edward Seago.  No 5 in my series, shown above, is my attempt at replicating the Edward Seago piece entitled The Pool in Winter.

Very few colours and very few marks, really, are required to paint this. Surprisingly tricky.

Less is more. But less is not exactly easier apparently.

Fast and Loose Watercolour no 2

My art journeyphoenixarttally

fast and loose no 2 frank webb's sugarhouse evening I am just loving the colours that Frank Webb chooses for some of his paintings.  The second in my series of fast and loose watercolour for the month is my attempt at replicating Frank Webb's Sugar House Evening.

This painting is not part of the course I am doing as such.  It is simply a painting I chose from Frank Webb's work that applies the same principle of an underlying wash that brings harmony to the whole image. In this case that wash was pink... what could be better?

Fast and loose!

Beginner Resources, My art journeyphoenixarttally

Fast and loose no 1 arttally New year, new month, new series. They roll around fast, don't they?

I am taking a Udemy course entitled 'Watercolour - Fast and Loose!' with Andy Walker. So far, I'm loving it.  Since patience and precision are really not my thing I couldn't go past a course with a title like this. In each of the lessons, Andy chooses a watercolour impressionist and a key painting technique to be learned from the artist. So this month my series will be Fast and Loose Watercolours.

This first lesson is based on the work of Frank Webb. The painting technique offered is the approach of using a single colour wash over most of the painting as a very first step. This initial wash shows through all of the other colours and gives the whole painting a sort of glow.

The painting we are studying in this lesson is called 'Bill's Lumberyard'. Fast and Loose no 1 shown above is my attempt at replicating Frank Webb's painting.  I love the abstract blocky shapes, and Frank Webb's slightly unexpected colour choices make my heart sing.  Funnily enough, when I first saw the painting we were to emulate in this lesson I wasn't all that taken with it.  Now I can't think of a single thing about it that I don't like.

Andy Walker's course makes the painting a simple process. Almost feels like a paint by numbers experience. Frank Webb did all the work in creating the beautiful image in the first place. Andy Walker breaks it down into easy painting layers. Having painted many a painting that concludes somewhat unsatisfactorily I can't tell you what a joy it is to complete the process and find that it all just works.

Physiognomy... or do your eyebrow shapes have meaning?

Fascinating factsphoenixarttally

eyebrow shapes arttally All of last week I have been observing that our faces communicate so much. By our expressions, of course, but do they also express some of our character traits - regardless of expression?

Some would say yes. It even has a name - physiognomy - the judgment or interpretation of a person's character by examining the face. Physiognomy has been an enduring study despite its lack of scientific validity.

Leonardo da Vinci was not a fan of the idea that the shape of your face dictated your personality. He did however acknowledge that lines or wrinkles that formed on the face over time as a result of particular repeated facial expressions did tell you about the person. Well, yes indeed. That has to be so.

Crow's feet around the eyes in later life can only mean you laughed a lot (well done). On the other hand sparse eyebrows may or may not mean that you doubt yourself and have low self esteem (wish someone had mentioned that in the nineties before I got out the tweezers….)

Apparently eyebrow shapes reveal a fair bit about us. Another interpretation of the sparse brow is that while often a sign of a benevolent nature it also indicates someone who cannot forget a wrong. (So if you are that guy who cut me off in the traffic this morning… I’d like to forgive you, but my eyebrows are just too thin.)

If someone has arched brows it could indicate that they are less approachable and more reserved. My right eyebrow is more arched than my left. Well, clearly this must mean you should always attempt to approach me from my left hand side for the warmest reception. Just saying.

Are you looking for a life coach? If so, you might need to enquire after their brows. Those with low eyebrows are reliable, easy going approachable types who are likely to stay with you. Although, if it is unemotional, logical thinking you are after, then best to go for someone with straight, unarched brows.

Rounded arches indicate kindness and peaked brows signify fun loving, fast thinkers. Bushy brows belong to active, confident sorts. Those with longer eyebrows handle stress better than those with shorter brows.  Are you finding eyebrow shapes as fascinating as me? You might want to head over here for the full scoop and a celebrity brow or two.

Physiognomy is regarded as a pseudoscience, albeit an enduring one. Aristotle was rather taken with the idea, for example. There is a history of Greek philosophers pondering the face and what it might mean. Chaucer even mentioned it in The Tale of Beryn. Admittedly he wrote it as ‘fisnamy’ or ‘visnomy’, but we knew what he meant.

Making character assessments by studying facial characteristics was considered a solid scientific approach in the Middle Ages. It was even taught at universities, until Henry VIII declared it to be unlawful along with palm reading.

Physiognomy might not be scientific, but it sure is fun. It wasn’t just the ancient Greeks or ye olde England who found it interesting. Oh no, there is plenty more to learn from China too. If you have a five minutes to spare why not check out this short fun video about what Chinese face reading would make of your own features?

Inspiration from famous artists: Joan Mirò

Beginner Resourcesphoenixarttally
Miro inspired abstract in my sketchbook (following Carla Sonheim's exercise in the book 'Drawing Lab')

The trouble with being a self-taught artist is that I can’t help wondering what it is that I need to know. What did I miss when I was learning calculus and consolidations instead of being in art class?  Something I definitely know very little about is the artists of the past. Drawing Buddy and I made a start on filling this gap a little while ago. You remember Drawing Buddy? She is the one who is working through Carla Sonheim’s Drawing Lab with me. Well, in between all the tea and talking. 

Anyway, Carla has a section on famous artists. We started with the Spanish artist Joan Mirò. No particular reason for selecting Mirò to start, but a surprisingly apt choice. Mirò went to business school because his parents advised him to choose a ‘sensible’ career, like bookkeeping. He apparently had a breakdown and consequently abandoned the business world entirely. (I hear you, my brother…) Here are another few fun Mirò facts…

  • Mirò was a surrealist painter and sculptor known for using automatic drawing. No, not the paranormal kind – the kind where you allow your hand to make ‘random’ marks on the page. Messages direct from the subconscious, you see. Well, I love starting a doodle like that – didn’t realize it was a Thing.
  • Along with Josep Royo, Mirò created the World Trade Center tapestry which was a little over 6m by 10m and weighed about 4tonnes. It hung in the South Tower from 1974 until it was destroyed in 2001
  • Mirò’s Painting-Poem sold in 2012 at Christie’s for $26.6million.  It includes the words “le corps de ma brune puisque je l'aime comme ma chatte habillée en vert salade comme de la grêle c'est pareil”. Now I know my French is rusty, but that really does say something like ‘the body of my brown since I love it like my cat dressed in green salad like hail it’s the same’, doesn’t it?
Painting-Poem by Joan Miro (1893-1983)

Well I still don’t know much about cats dressed in green salad, but I did enjoy making a Miro inspired abstract in my sketchbook. I think I might just do another one.

The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later. (Joan Miro)