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Posts tagged “watercolor

Splashes, splotches and spatters in aquarelle.

I have been asked so many times how I do my splashes and after another request from Sophia, I thought I could do a pôst to explain how I splash ans splotch. have forever been doing splashes in my watercolor paintings and sketches. I paint and sketch with a big brush and loads of pigment and water and the splashes almost happen all by itself on my page. There are times though that I use splashes to emphasize or create a certain effect or atmosphere. It all depends on the sketch or painting.  I notice that it has become very fashionable in the sketching world to use splashes which is great. But sometimes a sketch can look out of sorts with splashes, which either don’t fit the style of painting or the subject doesn’t ask for splashes, and so it appears on sketches just because it is fashionable. I love my splashes, but I don’t use them every time and with every subject.  I would like to see that watercolor work  show more discretion when using splashes, before it ruins an already perfect watercolour painting or sketch.

Old french bowls 1…without any splashes. This sketch was done using watercolor, watercolorpencils and white gouache. I overworked the sketch somewhat, so the bottom bowl started losing its shape.

Old French bowls 1-001

Old French bowls 2, without any splashes. Mixed media – watercolour, watercolour pencils and white gouache.Old French bowls 2-001

Old french bowls 3, with blue splotches and 1 red splash which I added simply to “accompany” my signing). I used only watercolour and pen for this sketch

Old French bowls 3-001

Old french bowls 4, with brown spatters on the right side, dark red splotches at the bottom and 1 lilac splash(for my name). In my opinion, on this sketch, less spattering or even none would have been fine, I added the spatters etc for demonstration.

Old French bowls 40002-001

When working in watercolor, I use only one brush, usually my Rosemary sable 12. My splashes are done right at the end with the same brush. Depending on the subject and the atmosphere I want to add to my sketch/painting, I choose from 3 different types of splashes. I call them for my own use, splashes, splotches and spatters.

*Splotches are the small, smaller then the splashes, but bigger, but bigger than the small spatters. To get these dropletys, I load my brush a fair amount of water and colour and hold the brush up straight while I shake the brush in quick upward and downward movements to release the droplets.


*Spatters are those tiny droplets that sometime happen a line or a curve. I get them by loading my brush with not too much water and then flick my finger on the brush to spatter the colour, which most of the time, are small droplets which end up in a line on the paper.

SpattersSplashes are the large round drops dropped from a high distance above the paper. I fill the brush with color and water, stand up over the paper to keep my eye on the spot I want to drop a splash and press the brush at the tip to form a drop which splashes on the paper.

SplashesI have chosen some of my sketches to show the effect of leaving out splashes or adding them.

To illustrate some of my splashes and splotches etc, here are some of my previous work.

Two Siberian iris sketches – Left: Only 2 big splashes. The line work and minimalist appearance of the sketch doesn’t welcome tiny spatters of colour, it would only distract. Right: The more loose watery interpretation allows for some large splashes as well as some spattering. It adds to a frivolous interpretation and could suggest  picking of the irises, blowing in the wind, petals falling…movement.

iris reticulata iris reticulata-001

Some more examples of where splashes work and where not:

In the bottom sketch, splashes don’t belong..it is already a very busy sketch with lots of information.

Le Pescher Maison 6466x4910

The sunflower just asks for some splattering…suggesting bees working, pollen blowing in the wind, petals falling off… movement.envelope to vivien0001In the sketch below, I used only a green splash and blue splotches to suggest sky and leaves and I like the effect of stark lines with the contrasting wild bursts of colour.

bretnoux la post

I hope this explained a bit my thinking and use of splashes, splotches and spatters.

Until next time


Koi fish in watercolor

I have been doing quite a few koi watercolors. Some different styles and techniques and sizes.

Some are more loose than others, which is my usual style of painting. I also tried some watercolour techniques, like using masking fluid, different brush sizes but finally decided it is not my way of painting….I prefer only the brush, water and color. I also tried a more true “watercolour painting” style and not my usual washes or loose line work. Once again, I came to the conclusion that it’s just not me. It just goes to show…one can’t really lie in making art. You can perhaps get away with it for a while, but in the long run, the true you needs to surface. It is quite  freeing  to have finally  come to this conclusion: I don’t want to do true watercolor paintings. I just love line and wash.

..koi 1..

watercolor and dip pen and indigo blue HErbin ink, 24X32cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-005


..Koi 2..

in watercolor and lamy safari pen, 24X32cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor

..koi 3..

watercolor and dip pen and indigo blue HErbin ink, 24X32cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-007

..Koi 4..

watercolor and lamy safari pen in Stillman and Birn sketchbook, 14X21.6cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-002

..Koi 5..

watercolor and lamy safari pen in Stillman and Birn sketchbook, 14X21.6cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-003

..Koi 6..

watercolor and dip pen and HErbin ink(Café et Gris nuage), 24X32cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-004

..Koi 7..

watercolor and lamy safari pen, 24X32cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-006

..Koi 8..

watercolor and lamy safari pen in Daler Rowney sketchbook, 21X29.7cm

Ronelle van wyk- Koi fish in watercolor-001

à bientôt,


Six apples and a sucrine in aquarelle.

In summer we don’t eat apples. We munch on peaches and nectarines. Except the horses. They have their apples throughout the year. An apple is one of the most delicious subjects to draw and paint. For the experts it is a challenge to capture its real beauty and succulent appearance and for the beginner it is easy enough to start off with and be inspired to keep going.

…six apples…

pen and aquarelle on watercolor block

apples en aqua

..six apples close-up..

apples en aqua close up 3230x2669

Just for some lazy fun, I splashed some greens for a sucrine salad…using blues and yellows, purple and payes gray for darker shadows. Salad is always difficult to draw and paint, so many lines and squigles…definitely not a favorute subkect of mine. The greens are a great challenge though!

..sucrine salad..

pen and aquarelle on waterclor block

sucrine en aqua 3

..sucrine salad close-up..

sucrine en aqua 3 close-up 3452x3102

September 17: Corn on the cob.

I have lost a week’s posting of sketches which I’ll catch up on later. For now, I am back on track with today’s sketch of  corn on the cob from the potager, on which the horses feast every day. Up until a few days ago, they were still sweet and juicy and wonderful on the barbeque, but seeing them with dry husks, is a clear sign that summer is moving on.

..corn on the cob..

pen and watercolor on watercolor block, 31x23cmcorn on the cob 17-09-2013 18-28-40 6993x4938

..à demain..


September 7: Favorite Oxfords.

I tend to be very boring when it comes to choosing daily outfits. I have only a few favorite outfits in which I feel comfortable, so comfortable that I tend to wear only those. One such a comfy piece of clothing, is this pair of Oxfords, my favorite winter shoes. I wear them with long skirts, with rolled up pants, with jeans, with woolen slacks..they go with everything and they walk everywhere. But don’t make the mistake thinking that I don’t love shoes..oh, I do, I do! It is a bit like art supplies..I want to have it all, thinking I’ll do better art, but in the end, only the basics can do the job. With shoes the same. I want them all, thinking I’ll look prettier, but in the end, only a few succeed in not making me walk around with a tortured expression on my face..back to basics.

..favorite Oxfords..

Watercolor pencil and watercolor on watercolor block, 18x26cm

winter shoes


à demain


Peaches in watercolor

Yay..I’m back to plein air painting after a dry spell of two years…..The oil paintings are busy drying, while outside the thunder is rolling and the rain is showering down, bringing welcome relief to a dry garden. The days are wonderfully hot, hot, hot…I love every sweaty minute! Believe it or not, it is in this sweltering heat that I decided to move out to plein air again with my palette and oils. Summer works for me. In the meantime, some peaches  in watercolor, done with some big round yellow peaches and juicy flat white ones..which are all devoured by now and the cause of some tummy ache…Summer and its fruit does that to me too..

..trois pêches plates.

watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm

trois pêches plates 23-07-2013 19-01-24 6117x4175

..trois pêches jaunes..

watercolor and pen on aquarelle block, 18X26cm

trois pêches jaunes 23-07-2013 19-34-34 6076x4122

Ochre fall leaves

This is my favorite time of sketching.. I love all the ochres and umbers. And on days when the weather is a bit chilly or wet, it is nice to bring in leaves and branches and whatever else I found on walk and fiddle in the studio. I don’t work in my atelier enough and I actually love my atelier! My table is in front of the fireplace, my coffee machine just a further to the left..in fact, the whole barn is my atelier and I am in it for another winter.

..fall leaves..

Both sketches done in pen and aquarelle in Hahnemule watercolor sketchbook, 19X20cm



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