2017 has been with us for a while now and I’ve been busy over the last few months preparing for some new exhibitions. We’ve also been out and about quite a lot sketching in the local area.

Exhibitions in 2017:

WORDS AND PICTURES, TEIGNMOUTH currently on display
TORRE ABBEY, TORQUAY - until Sunday 19th November

SOUTHWEST ACADEMY OPEN EXHIBITION - 14th to 25th Nov.

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Teignmouth Artist Des Maxwell Clark

Materials and Techniques:         PAPER - PAINT - BRUSHES - OTHER BITS & PIECES - TECHNIQUES

BRUSHES

The picture on the right shows the brushes I mainly use.


The first four are lovely soft sable hair brushes  and are pointed so I can produce fine lines or thicker ones if I press harder on the paper. Interestingly, the third brush from the left will produce as fine a line as the first one if touched very gently on the paper. I’m not quite sure of the gauge of these four as the numbers have worn off, but I know the fourth, green one, is a No 12. I use this a lot for filling large areas with a consistent wash (see techniques).


The flat head brush can be used flat, on its edge, or twisted to produce branch shapes for trees and other lined objects.


The last two are wash brushes. I mainly use the white handled one - it cost about £4 from the local framers and is perfect for putting in washes for skies (see techniques).

I’ve included the biggest brush as I’m rather proud of it. It’s over 100 years old and belonged to my Great Grandfather James Smithies who was from Cheshire and was a watercolourist and coppersmith working at the end of the 19th century. It can be very useful for wetting large areas of paper prior to applying a wash although I wouldn’t normally use it to apply paint!


I do have some other brushes. I have a small rather stiff hogs hair brush that I use to scrub colour out and lift off with kitchen roll. I also have a toothbrush for flicking paint to simulate sea spray etc. When I’m working outside I carry my brushes rolled up in a cloth that can also be used to dry and re-point them after washing.



OTHER BITS AND PIECES

If I’m not out and about sketching I’ll be in the studio (aka our back bedroom which faces north!).


In the studio I tend to use a wood panel set on a slope of about 15 degrees. The paper is fixed to the panel using masking tape, the sort that you can peel off without tearing the paper.


As I mentioned in my section on paper, I use either a rough or smooth watercolour paper of at least 300 lb weight. This saves stretching the paper before fixing it to the panel. In the studio I use sheets of A1 paper which can be cut to size on a cutting block.


I will sometimes use masking fluid to mask off areas I want to keep white or unpainted. I’m not very keen on this stuff as it is not easy to put on accurately and you need to rework around the area after it is rubbed off. I find it easiest to remove with an ordinary pencil rubber after the fluid has dried.


I have a nice flat, white, ceramic plate that came from the local hardware store for mixing colours and washes. I also buy blocks of plastic disposable plates from the £1 shop which are ideal for mixing colours and can be thrown away or washed after use.


I like to use lots of clean water to wash the brushes between applications of colour and concertina style plastic dishes are ideal, available from most art stores. This also accompanies me on outdoor painting excursions.


Finally taking paint off in watercolour (see techniques) is almost as important as putting it on in some cases and a roll of kitchen paper and various sponges are useful to have around.

Click to enlarge picture Top of page

Photos of equipment coming shortly ….