5/28 Oops missed a day…!!!

Failed fell at the first post, we had friends over for lunch yesterday, which meant the morning in the kitchen, enjoyable entertaining then taking them to Beziers airport in the evening.

For the last 2 nights the Mistral has been blowing a hooley, disturbing our sleep, I felt so guilty about not completing something yesterday I was painting at 6.30 this morning, just couldn’t lay in bed listening to the shutters banging any more.

My favouritist ever boots I bought couple of months ago in the sale at Roys of Wroxham, in Hoveton Norfolk. Loved the warm grey and they are so comfy, before coming to France I took out the laces and replaced them with cotton ribbon with hearts on.

I’ve wanted to paint them since I did it and this morning with the hooley outside and OH in bed still, I got my chance.


I worked on Fabriano 200g /90lb paper (not my usual 300lb Saunders Waterford)

2B pencil

Winsor & Newton Masking Fluid

The colours I used were: Winsor & Newton Artist Watercolours

Lemon Yellow, Scarlet lake, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cerulean Blue, Permanent Rose, Gamboge, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue, Cadmium Red Deep, Cobalt Blue

Winsor & Newton Black Indian Ink

Rosemary & Co Size 4 Squirrel Quill Mop

Bamboo Dip Pen

Sketched out boots with 2B pencil
Sketched out boots with
2B pencil

I use a 2B pencil to draw out my plan as it is soft enough not to emboss the paper but not so soft to leave a lot of graphite dust to muddy the watercolours.

I masked out some of the stitching and the laces:-

Masked areas
Masked areas

Because I was not working on heavy paper I did not wet the paper before applying the Lemon Yellow background wash, adding Scarlet Lake to it very subtley. Not working the paint on the paper at all, letting it do its own thing. the paint then dries allowing  varying amounts of white to come through from the paper so the colour isn’t a flat wash. The lower wash is Burnt Sienna, then Burnt Umber added.

Background wash
Background wash

The under layers should be washier than the layers on top, each layer should be dryer than the last, and therefore darker in tone as the dryer paint blocks out more white of the paper.

The inside of my boots are a soft felt type fabric of bright colours I iused a dryer watercolour of cobalt blue, scarlet lake, and lemon yellow . Brush strokes vertically down into the boot.

Not waiting for the paint to dry…….

Cerulean Blue Wash + Burnt Sienna for shadow
Cerulean Blue Wash
+ Burnt Sienna for shadow

….with watercolour we work from light to dark, I don’t just look for the colour you think you see, the subject needs to be interesting and draw the obsever in, I washed the boots over with Cerulean Blue, washing each seperate piece of leather in the direction it is creased.

I than mixed into the Cerulean Blue some Burnt sienna and a touch of permanent rose to make it more interesting.

Using more paint to create the deeper tones.

Cerulean Blue is an opaque pigment, it is not only the right colour for the boots but also makes them more solid through being opaque.

Again I have used an opaque pigment Yellow Ochre to paint the soles, making them solid, I have reapplied the shadow, with Cerulean Blue, Burnt sienna and Permanent Rose, both on and under the boots.

Reglaze Boots, new paint on background
Reglaze Boots, new paint on background

Waiting for paint to dry, I then reapplied the background colours; layering retains the transparency of the watercolour, and I have glazed over the boots with Cerulean Blue to make the shadows look blended.

Prussian Blue and Cadmium Red Deep Shadows
Prussian Blue and Cadmium Red Deep Shadows

To make a little more detail on the boot you really have to study where shadows are being cast and by what, I mixed a dark purple from Prussian Blue and Cadmium Red Deep to make it dark it has to be relatively dry so I only used a damp brush not a lot of water.

Where there are creases in the leather I used a dry brush technique.

This shadow again went on and under the boots horizontal brush strokes on the flat surface.

I do not use Masking fluid much in my own work but with this subject I felt the laces needed to be treated seperately.

Removing the masking fluid is always revealling, only remove when all paint around it is dry,

Removing Masking DON"T USE FINGERS
Removing Masking

I often find I’ve forgotten to paint something I should have, so really look to make sure you have painted all you need around / over your masked areas.

Gently use a plastic rubber to remove the masking fluid, if you rub with your fingers make sure they are clean and not greasy.

Now the masking is removed I can paint the laces,  using Yellow Ochre to tie in with the soles, I then painted the hearts onto the laces using Scarlet Lake then dotting Alizarin Crimson into them.

Cotton Hearts
Cotton Hearts

Waiting for them to dry carefully studying where the light and shadow are on the laces to make them fold, come forward and go back.

A small example of Counterbalance; “dark behind pushes light objects forward & light behind pushes dark objects forward”

Once I had put the shadow on I was tempted to leave it, but I do love a bit of ink.

I don’t like the mechanical line of a fine ink pen, I often use just a twig I’ve picked up, but have started to enjoy using a bamboo dip pen, less risk of blobs but still a  natural mark.

"These Boots were made for walking" 30x30cm  Watercolour
“These Boots were made for walking”

When inking don’t be tempted to just outline, think about where the light is hitting your object.

My choice of background colour was led by complimentary colours, the boots are a blue/grey, using orange in the background brings the blue out. I enjoyed my early morning workout, I’m hoping the mistral dies down tomorrow, because we drove along the top road from Castelnau de Guers to Montagnac today on the way to Mnotpellier, and the views to Pezenas across the vineyards were spectacular.

More info about Linda’s teaching and Painting Holidays at: http://paintncanvasholidays.co.uk


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