Playing with colours

At my recent exhibition in King’s Lynn Arts Centre, one visitor turned out to be an American watercolour artist, Greg Forde. We had an interesting chat, particularly about different manufacturer’s paints, and Greg kindly suggested that I might like to try some of the Daniel Smith colours that he has been using. For those of you not familiar with the brand, Daniel Smith watercolours are quite new to the UK, but are now stocked by several on-line art shops.

As a result of our chat, Greg came over to my studio yesterday and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours just playing with colours. For both of us it was a nice opportunity to just be in the studio, not feeling that we had to create “a painting” but just trying out different pigments. Great fun, all artists should spend some time just playing!

Greg has quite a collection of Daniel Smith watercolours, and a fair few Schmincke ones too (a well known German brand). I had a good try out of both, and found it fascinating the subtle differences between the same pigment from different manufacturers. There were also some new pigments to try, some with such exotic names as Tiger Eye (a rather disappointing muddy brown). There are around 240 different colours in the Daniel Smith range, so this was only a taster session.

Daniel Smith watercolour test painting
Playing with Colours. Daniel Smith watercolours on Arches 140lb HP paper. 14ins x 10ins.

Overall, I found the Daniel Smith range to be of excellent quality, with colours probably slightly more vibrant than traditional British manufacturers such as Winsor and Newton. Would I use them? Well, maybe a few colours – I particularly liked Indanthrone Blue, for example. Why not try them for yourself, you can get tester cards of the colours, where you get a “dot” of each pigment to try out. Several suppliers sell them, including Ken Bromley Art Supplies and the SAA. Have a look through the range on the Daniel Smith website too.

During my studio session with Greg, I produced this “playing with colours” landscape painting, which included Daniel Smith Indanthrone Blue in the sky. I am very grateful to Greg for bringing his art-box over to the studio and just letting me loose with his paints. Thanks Greg!

In a Different Light

It’s back to the Arts Centre for me, as having just finished my run there with my solo exhibition Stephen Martyn at 21, I am now participating in a mixed exhibition showcasing the work of the West Norfolk Artists Association. It’s a good show too, with around 130 works by the members filling three of the galleries at King’s Lynn Arts Centre.

large watercolour painting of King's Lynn
In a Different Light – King’s Lynn 3. After the Rain. Watercolour 29ins x 21 ins.

My own work in this show can be seen here. It’s a large watercolour of the view of King’s Lynn from a bridge over the River Ouse. In a Different Light 3 is one of a series of three paintings of the same composition but with different light and weather conditions. These three large works formed the centre piece of my recent solo show.

Do try and get along to the Arts Centre to see the current WNAA exhibition. You will see some great work by some of the areas’s leading artists, in a huge variety of media and styles. Paintings, prints, photographs, tapestry, sculpture, and much more. Open every day 10am – 5pm until Saturday 26th July, although note that the galleries will be closed on Sunday 13th, and open from 2 – 6pm only on Sunday 20th. You can even have a cup of tea or coffee and a piece of cake in the pop-up cafe! See you there.