Lesson 1: Part Two - Choosing the watercolour paper...

Oranges,  watercolour on 300gsm rough paper

So what paper should you use? 
A good watercolour paper should be acid free, and contain at least 50 % cotton. Also the weight is important - a 300 gsm (140 lb) is a common choice, and will suite most of your work. 
A lighter one (200 gsm/ 90 lb) can be used for sketching, but tends to buckle. 
A heavier paper  (640 gsm / 300  lb) is fantastic, and you should try it, but it's really not necessary for the works of  a beginner or most more advanced painters either. Also the heavier papers tend to absorb more of the pigment, making corrections difficult!

Now you have the choice between the different finishes of the paper!!
 Hot pressed is the smoothest surface, it's also great if you want to do an illustration or a more detailed work. A cold pressed paper is a bit less smooth, and the rough paper, as the name tells, has a rough surface, which will add some structure to your painting and will not allow too many finedetails. 
Also the finish can contribute to your painting, as you see in the detail above: 
the rough paper was the ideal choice for the surface of the orange peel!

I recommend trying different papers - and also different brands. 
You can find great paper in blocks, where the paper is glued on the sides and easy to use, especially when travelling or painting outdoors. 
Personally  I use single sheets. They are larger, can be cut into the size you want, and also it is more priceworthy when you paint a lot. But remember that the sheets have to be taped to a board before painting!
You can read more for example here or here.

Lesson 1: The watercolour paper!

GINESTRA - watercolour 50x70cm

It happened again- once in a while I end up using  random paper( in this case Canson 200grs paper) instead of real watercolor paper. 
The reason usually is because I find it ready to hand, just in the right size - and I just plan to do a fast sketch anyway ;). 
But now, what happens when your sketch didn't turn out that bad, BUT you can't finish it...
Good watercolor paper is GOOD because it can take several layers of color and water. In this painting I feel like it would need some more depth and shadows using wet color - but this paper can't take it -I could draw on it , or paint with a very dry color - but that's not what I want!
On the other hand I don't really want to paint this subject again, even if I often do paint more versions, since I feel quite happy with the way I captured the esssence I was looking for! 
And also the flowers are on the compost now!!
So remember one of the very first lessons - ALWAYS use GOOD watercolor paper!!

Wisteria Love! Reworking an old painting!

 I just love the wisteria and would love to sit on that bench!
This painting is made from a very small photo, I think it was a pubblicity in a garden magazine, a few years ago.
I wasn't happy with it, but left it in the pile. Then recently I found it again and got inspired!
I washed away part of  it, and painted the shadows on the wisteria
(and some yellow for the light on the ground -even if the photo doesn't show it!). 
 I would have liked more white, but it's not possible now. If  I can find the original photo again, I will try to do a new version though!
Do you ever rework old paintings?!

Finished work!

This is the finished watercolor painting from last week. As I wanted to keep it loose, I just added some red on the flowers, and a few darker shadows on the leaves.

Visiting Giardino Corsini

This weekend I  visited the beautiful garden of  Palazzo Corsini al Prato in Florence. During the show Artigianato e Palazzo, many artisans and artist exposed there products and artworks in the garden and in  the three 'limonaia' - the greenhouses for the lemon trees in the winter.
My main interest was the guided tour to the garden by a historian and also learning about the more botanical  and practical aspects by Paolo, the gardener.

In the parterres there were beautiful scented peonies, artichokes, lavender and santolina 
- no close ups, sorry!

But I also enjoyed the beautiful portraits by Magali de Maistre , Sicilian 'cannoli' and much more!
I wasn't planning to show the photos, so I just took a few for my own records, but you can search 
'Palazzo Corsini al Prato' for more photos!

Work in progress - A Tribute to...

Work in progress...  Inspired by a beautiful painting of the great watercolor artist Kanta Harusaki.

The First washes, wet in wet.

I decided to add some red to the center of the flower and some plastic wrap for special effects...
I'll show you the final painting soon - I just noticed I didn't take a photo of it yet!

I decided to 'copy' freely the works and the styles of some artists I like, in order to develop my own way of painting. Especially I want to loosen up. I never liked copying artwork before, but noticed that this was a funny way of just painting without worrying about problems to resolve, like composition and choice of color! I really think that I'll be doing more of this!!

Floral - just sketching!

I often use my sketchbooks for playing around and painting early in the morning 
- even when I don't have time ! And yes, often it is floral!

Hibiscus - floral watercolor

I took a reference picture of this blue pot with a  yellow hibiscus, that I wanted to paint . 
I really enjoyed the painting session with bright colors - and I chose to add red for more contrast - as the original flowers were onlyt yellow . Unfortunately the photo doesn't  show the intense yellow - looked ok on my phone but not on the pc!

Sketching Cypresses!

A picture from my smaller sketchbook from last week!
Just playing around with colors and a common object -cypruses!