Friday, February 6, 2015

In Praise of Watercolours





I think watercolours are underrated in the miniatures world, which is a shame, as they can produce the most realistic effects in miniature.  I use them for my paintings, but also for all the stonework, which you know is a lot at Daviot House!


I finished the back wall of the garden and made a small fountain.  The lion head is from Sue Cook, and the plain white plaster takes watercolour really well.  The staining on the wall is also watercolour, and the stonework pillars.



Here is a close up.  The different layers of murky paint really pick out every single detail of the weathered stone, and I painted on moss and lichen using greens and ochres.

The stonework is made out of DAS clay and then weathered using an old toothbrush.  I think it is the most realistic way of recreating stone in miniature, primarily because of all the many layers of different colours that make up the stone and the weathering effects.


It has all gone a bit turret-crazy at Daviot House - here is my latest addition (still without roof) made out of cardboard tubing and, of course, DAS clay.  You can just about make out the ball finial at the base which mirrors those on top of the wall.



I needed to finish of the corner fireplace for the bedroom, and thought it would be a good way to show you how I use watercolours.



I have two watercolour paint sets - just the basic ones, one for 'clean' painting, like portraits, and the other for 'mucky' painting - the stonework.  I don't generally need any other colours than provided, except one, lamp black.  The paints last a VERY long time, so even though they seem more pricey than acrylic, they aren't really.  I like Windsor and Newton.


I am an official paintbrush killer, so I never spend much on my paintbrushes, I just pick them up as small and as cheaply as possible.  Here I used a nice wedge and a tiny detail brush.



I am painting the back of the fireplace.  I have already made the stonework by cutting out rectangles of DAS clay (very thin), gluing them to the base (I do believe this is the carboard from a cereal packet - use what you have!), and then attacking the lot with an old toothbrush.  I didn't do to much weathering, because, of course, the fireplace is inside rather than out, and the main problem of heat on stone is cracking, rather than wearing away.



Use different gungey washes of colour, here a bit of red and ochre is added to mimic he original stone colour ( I like to think a nice creamy sandstone).


And keep going - start to add more grey - this is a fireplace after all!


Check that the colours are not too wildly different between the fireplace surround and the fireback


And now add the lampblack with a dry brush, to imitate soot - fireplaces are really dirty when they are in use!  If you don't have lamp black, you can use charcoal, or even BBQ coal if you have any


Better... I used a little water to blend in the black


I used the fine detail brush to pick out the old carving in the fireplace, and I just realised that Daviot House is going to be FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OLD this year!  Something tells me a giveaway is in the pipeline!


Better get on with finishing off the panelling...



Jonquil



31 comments:

  1. Hello Jonquil,
    Thank you for sharing that amazing technique. The finish is incredibly realistic and I must agree that your stonework is among the most realistic I've seen. Beautiful work!
    Big hug,
    Giac

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    1. That's so kind, coming from you - if only I were as good at wood work ;)! The secret is just how EASY it is - the watercolours do all the work, but shhh, don't tell anyone!

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  2. Hi Jonquil,
    I see you did very nice fireplace and fountain, this moss is very real.
    Magda

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    1. Thank you Magda, the moss gives it a little more realism - it is supposed to be a very old wall after all ;)

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  3. L'aquarelle donne un effet réaliste fantastique. C'est un très beau travail ....vieux de 400 ans ! Merci de partager la technique.

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    1. Merci beaucoup Dominique, c'est très facile comme technique, et oui 400 ans, c'est bientôt le moment de faire la fête!

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  4. Excellent post and very timely for me as I've decided to redo the stonework on The Tenement. I like your little fountain and turrets too. I've emailed you - let me know if you haven't received it. Ix

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    1. isn't it great when posts coincide? You and Elizabeth both have that effect on my blog, so I'm glad it works the other way round too! The decoration is getting slightly carried away, veering closer to Scots Baronial every week ;)

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  5. It's amazing what you managed to do with watercolours. Everything looks so real.
    Geneviève

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    1. thanks so much, but really the watercolours do all the work!

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  6. Hi Jonquil, all your paintwork looks amazing. I too love watercolours, but I would be as handy with them as you!! Daviot House is coming along beautifully, and I can't wait to see more :)
    All the best
    Vivian

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  7. Hi Jonquil, I meant I wouldn't be as handy as you..... a case of the brain going faster than the fingers!
    All the best
    Vivian

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    1. ha ha, don't worry, I thought you meant that, but you know, it isn't true - it's dead easy to do, and you are a fairly talented lady :)

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  8. Your paintwork with the watercolours looks very realistic, especially the green color for creating moss! I love the turrets you've added to the house. Thank you for sharing these tips.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Amicalement, Ilona

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    1. thank you Ilona - the moss is my favourite touch too! I think I should be careful about the turrets, they are quite addictive!

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  9. cela fait des années que j'utilise l'aquarelle pour peindre les murs de mes maisons et boutiques .C'est la seule peinture qui permet de mettre différentes couches et de faire ressortir l'aspect de la pierre.

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    1. ah, mais comme les grands esprits se rencontrent!

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  10. You make this look so easy, yet I understand the amount of time. Very beautiful!

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    1. oh Emily, the technique is really very easy, the only time problem I have is finding enough to do all the things I want to do!

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  11. Me gusta como aplicas todos esos colores y el magnífico resultado.

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  12. Replies
    1. oh che bella cosa da dire , sapete che significa molto per me ! baci

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  13. Hi Jonquil! You are so right that watercolors are underused! I will learn from you and use them more often... they do make excellent "layering" of the colors especially for stone effects. Do you ever use a sealer over them when done? I would worry that damp and handling would affect an untreated surface... as it does with real watercolor works... which is why they are put under glass. Your stonework looks just Awesome, and I can't help but want to see the little turret with the rest of the facade... is it an oriel window.... or a stairway?

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    1. Hello, hello! Yes you have identified a problem, because they are not the strongest paints, rather delicate... I use a matt acrylic varnish usually, and so far it does the trick, but I couldn't say about fading, only time will tell....

      The turrets are turning into a little addiction, but they are just decorative - I couldn't fit a stair case into this one!

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  14. I agree with you on the use of watercolours Jonquil, they're wonderful. I use them a lot too. The only thing I'm not happy with is that I have used them on paper flowers often too, and they have faded very badly. Your stonework looks really good! Both the texturing and the colouring. Wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Josje! ;D
      I think fading could be a problem, though they do soak into the clay quite well, I hope a matt varnish will do the trick, but they won't last forever... I use them on flowers too, because they have such a wonderful effect, and real flowers fade, don't they?;) I seem to remember some peonies on your blog that faded over the years, but looked quite wonderful in their faded glory!

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  15. Hi Jonquil,

    I love the effect you get with the watercolors. I am especially enamored with the fence post closeup, it so closely resembles old stone. A truly lovely effect. I'll have to quit turning my nose up at watercolors!

    Beautiful.

    Doug

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    1. thanks Doug, but I take no credit - it really is just the water colours which give it such a subtle colour

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  16. Hi Jonquil! I have already been busy pinning your stonework and your Spring Garden onto my Pinterest Boards for future reference. Your paint effects that you have used in the garden and on the fireplace, are Fabulous and although I have never used DAS, I love how you have formed the stones and also finished with with amazing realism. AND I also love the portrait over the fireplace; Really Lovely! :D

    elizabeth

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    1. I can lose days on your pinterest boards! You have such wonderful things on them,and I have found so much inspiration there! DAS is great, though I have heard good things about paperclay - though sadly unavailable here *sigh*, but so far, DAS is pretty good!

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