My left leg and ankle is now at the rehab stage of my recovery (if you would like to know how I ended up with a broken leg you can read about it here). That means I can put partial weight on the leg and I have to do a series of exercises 5 times a day. My ankle is incredibly stiff and my leg is pretty weak from almost 2 months of inaction. When I try to lift my toes, I can feel the plates in my leg. It’s very wierd. It feels a bit like aliens have control of my ankle! The muscles get sore. It’s also very tiring. Actual walking seems a long way off!
In terms of practicality, it means that I am pretty much confined to my bedroom and cannot use my usual oil paints. This is due to the lack of room and the fact that oils are much too messy for a bedroom. So I have dedicated myself to spending this time with my watercolours. I have learnt a lot about the qualities of the different colours and how I can and can’t use them over the past few weeks. I have been frustrated and pleased in equal measure.
In between the exercises, I have been painting birds in watercolours. I have painted many garden birds in oils over the years. I am particularly fond of sparrows. Here’s a selection of my oil paintings to illustrate:-
I have also painted many robins, wrens, blackbirds and a few puffins too!
I have decided that watercolour is a medium that works really well for painting garden birds. It is quite possibly better than oils. Its transparency is particularly well-suited to conveying the lightness of birds. I am experimenting with tight control of the paint versus letting it bleed in parts of the painting. The results of interesting and varied.
I have been trying out different watercolour papers too. My earliest birds were painted on Etival 300g/m (140 lb) rough texture paper. It was what I happened to have in the cupboard.
Out of curiosity, I tried a different make, Bockingford. Their paper is Acid-Free, and archival quality. I tried two weights. First I tried very heavy 425g/m (200 lb) paper, rough texture. I liked the substantial thickness of this paper, and the paintings turned out well enough but the grain of the paper doesn’t photograph well. I might try scanning them instead, when I am finally up and about.
The second Bockingford paper I tried was a lighter 300 g/m rough texture paper. I think that this suited me best in terms of how the paintings look in photographs.
I have ordered some Bockingford 300 g/m cold press (not) texture paper to try out too. That should be coming early next week. So trying that out will come as a welcome break from my rehab exercises!
On this occasion, I ordered my paper from Jacksons Art, as they had an extensive range of watercolour paper and paints on offer.
They also stock the excellent M. Graham watercolour paints. It’s not cheap and so far I have one tube of this paint but I love it more than all my other watercolour paints put together!
Rosemary and Co also make beautiful brushes
Please note that I am not being paid to promote any of these stockists.