Painting Boats in Watercolor with Ann Hart | Colour In Your Life

Painting Boats in Watercolor with Ann Hart | Colour In Your Life


G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles, and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (music playing) (Graeme) Well, folks, we are on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts in the Unites States, and we are in the studio of a multi-award winning watercolour artist, Ann Hart. Ann, welcome to the show. (Ann) Thank you. welcome to Cape Cod. (Graeme) Great to be here. It’s a fantastically beautiful place. It really is lovely isn’t it? (Ann) Yes, a special place. (Graeme) A glorious area. Now your history and your family has been really involved in the creative side of life for many years from quilting, (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) and doing a number of different things. (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) Tell me how that all came about when you were a young woman and you’ve been in the Cape Cod area since the seventies haven’t you? (Ann) Yes, I have. (Graeme) And been a watercolour artist for about fifteen years. (Ann) That’s right. (Graeme) And when you see Ann’s work today, you’ll understand why she’s a multi-award winning artist as well. But tell me a little bit about that transition from where you were in the creative side of your life to being an artist? (Ann) Well growing up, my family was very interested in old things. So I would be taken along as the youngest child on the treasure hunt for the special antique, (Graeme) Aha. (Ann) and my mother became expert at decorating furniture. That as my background I have brought with me an appreciation of old things and the beauty of nature and… (Graeme) And it’s portrayed in your work. I mean everywhere you look you can actually see the history of your travels. This is actually the piece we’re going to be working on today. And we’re in Cape Cod – is a fishing area. (Ann) Yes, (Graeme) Very much so isn’t it? (Ann) yes. (Graeme) And this is the finished product. But what we’re going to do, because Ann’s work does take quite a long time to do, we’re going to go through some varying stages these days, and she’s going to show you how she maps all of this out, puts it together, lots of really fascinating stuff I can assure you. So let’s head over to the studio and we’ll get started. (Ann) Great, good, (Graeme) Fantastic. (Ann) thanks. (Graeme) Okay, Ann, well I can see that you’ve made a draft of the picture we’re going to be working on today, and you’ve actually gridded it right out, (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) so that obviously makes it a lot easier for you. (Ann) Yes, absolutely. (Ann) For years, I would draw directly on my watercolour paper, and only recently have I started doing the drawing on seperate paper. And I wanted to mention that I came to do this by watching Lorraine Watry, who is another Colour In Your Life artist. And she had a really great demo of how to do this and it made me understand that you don’t loose your pencil drawing when you put the paper in the water, in order to soak it and attach it to your paper, which is what I had always believed. In fact you actually have to be kind of careful with your pencil that you doesn’t make it too dark, because it gets embedded into the paper. (Graeme) You actually use masking tape in conjunction with (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) the masking fluid (Ann) Right. (Graeme) to get to where you are now which looks fantastic. (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) So how – what areas do you decide to mask off in paintings? (Ann) This painting has a very dark background and a lot of things happening in front of it that are light or white, or just need to be protected from the dark wash that I’m going to put on it, so that’s what I have masked. I’ve masked the edge of the boat and all of the lines, and the various gear that’s in front of the dark. So here we go with the first wash here. Pretty loaded, pretty loaded brush, (Graeme) Yes. (Ann) and I’m just going to go for it. And you can see that that’s just a really rich Phthalo turquoise-y colour. (Graeme) That’s great isn’t it? (Ann) And because over here especially it’s sort of what we’ll call an underpainting, because this is not final colour here. But it does give me a nice blue to paint the darker colour over. That might be dark enough, but I’ll dry it and then I can go with the dark paint. Next step. (Graeme) Okay, well lets dry then. (Ann) Okay. (Ann) Great, thanks. (Graeme) Cool. (Ann) So I’m ready for the next coat now. I’m going to do my dark wash over the blue to designate the pilings of the dock behind, and kind of a dark area that actually seems like kind of a reflection, but I’m just going to go right over the blue, hit that all at once with this dark colour. (Graeme) And what is that dark colour? (Ann) This is Phthalo bue and Puro Orange, (Graeme) Wow. (Ann) mixed together, which gives you a lovely dark. And because it’s going over the blue already, so much nicer to paint over paint, (Graeme) Yeah. (Ann) than it is to paint onto raw paper. So I’m just going to switch to a smaller brush. And this is just a very, again, a very soft brush. Pretty worn out actually, one of my favourites. It doesn’t really have a tip any more, but it floats on the wash in a really great way and does not disturb what’s underneath, and that’s really one of your goals, is not to bring up paint that’s behind. (Graeme) You know, obviously living in the area you live in, you’ve done a few pieces of boats, and water, (Ann) I have. (Graeme) and tidal areas. (Graeme) And you’ve got called (Ann) I have. (Graeme) the Dinah Jane. (Ann) The Dinah Jane. Yes, is actually also from Providence Town, our town at the very tip of Cape Cod. (Graeme) But you’re really using watercolour, particularly with these washes cause they’re so dominate, you’re not using it like normal watercolour. (Ann) No, this is pretty opaque (Graeme) Yeah. (Ann) for this part. And that’s sort of a combination of watercolour versatility that I like in a painting is that you can have it be very fluid and transparent, and then the opaque nature of it can really set all of that off. So now that I have my dark wash completed, I can take off the masking fluid and reveal all of my lines, and there’s ladders and all kinds of things happening along the edge here, so I just need to take that off. And if I’m lucky I’m going to have my nice thick masking fluid is going to come off pretty cleanly. (Graeme) Yeah. It’s sort of a fun thing to do too isn’t it? (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) To find out… (Ann) Yes, and you will see that because this paint is fairly thick, I have little edges along where the masking tape is pulling up that (Graeme) Aha. (Ann) will need to be cleaned up and a lot of it is very dry. And we will emphasis that you really do need to make sure that everything is dry before you (Graeme) Yes, particularly when you take it off. (Ann) before you take this off, and we can just pull this tape off. Reveal all my nice pristine, the little cabin of the boat there that’s been completely protected. (Graeme) Ready to go. (Ann) Ready to go to the next stage. (Graeme) We’ve got another piece, yeah? We can move onto that, (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) but that’s fantastic. Lets go onto the other piece and see how we go. (Ann) Okay, good. (Graeme) Okay, Ann, well put the next piece up. Where do we go from here? (Ann) So I have a wash of Cerulean Blue and maybe a little neutral tint. (Graeme) What materials are we using to do all of this? (Ann) Well the paper is a hundred and forty pound Archers cold pressed paper, (Graeme) Aha. (Ann) which is my favourite paper. (Graeme) And your brushes? (Ann) Brushes are Loew Cornell synthetic brushes, which I like them because they come to a good point. I have a few sable brushes again mostly when they’re very soft for doing washes over washes. Lots of layering when you need something very soft to do that. (Graeme) Now you’ve got a number of pieces that we’re going to be showing today. But there’s one that I just think is an extraordinary painting, and it’s called Ryders Cove, and the atmosphere and the light in it is just superb. It’s one of the prettiest paintings I’ve seen in a long time. (Ann) Oh, thank you so much. (Graeme) It really is. (Ann) That was my first piece that was accepted to a national show, so that was a really big deal for me, and very exciting. (Graeme) There’s another one called Bail Me Out. (Ann) Bail Me Out. (Graeme) And Bail Me Out is obviously a similar picture, (Ann) Yeah. (Graeme) a dingy down on the shoreline. But the colours, and the reflection – it’s just wonderful. (Ann) Yes. With the sky reflecting in the puddle in the boat, Bail Me Out. (Graeme) Looking at some of the people that have really influenced you over time, Mary White, John Salminen, (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) Paul Jackson and Tony Omasey, all incredibly talented artists. (Ann) Yes, I certainly was so privileged to study with all of those people that are out there giving workshops and teaching, and being so generous with what they have learned over time. So I’m just preceding to now do the details on the cabin of the boat. Doing these interior windows which I quite like, because it does get you into the inside of the boat. So it sort of a mini painting all through itself when you’re doing this kind of detail, because this is pretty much a wet in wet approach. You’re letting the colours mingle on the paper. All of these hard edges over here can be softened, because I don’t want anything that’s inside the windows to be really a hard edge. (Graeme) The one thing that does really stand out in your work is the use of colour with the watercolour. Most watercolour paintings are sort of fairly demure and can be quite muted, but yours are just electric and bounce out of the picture. (Ann) Yeah. (Graeme) I mean the picture Used to be Blue, (Ann) Used to be Blue. (Graeme) it’s an old Huey or Dodge of some sort, just (Ann) Yeah, old car. (Graeme) the colours in that are fantastic. (Ann) Yes, yes. That was a really fun painting to do partly because I discovered that old vehicle sort of hiding in the leaves. The challenge was to get the dry texture of the rusty part with the curled up paint where it’s pealing, (Graeme) Yeah. (Ann) so that was the challenge there. So you Used to be Blue. (Graeme) And that aspect of rusted objects and things (Ann) Yes, exactly. (Graeme) that are old and used like Lines and Links. (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) That’s another great picture, it’s an old pulley, obviously from down the wharf somewhere. (Ann) Yes, another boat in the same situation probably one dock over from where this boat was tied up. So now I think that I will go in work on the hull of the boat, this nice rusty brown area in the back. So I sort of get my transition areas wet so that I can go in and get my colour on, and know that I’m not going to have a hard edge. And while that brown is sort of bleeding in I do want to get a little brighter, a little brighter orange that I see that’s this colourful rust happening on the back of the boat, so I can drop that in. I’m not going to to much trouble to try and delineate the planks that are the side of the boat. But maybe if I can skip and leave a little bit of paper showing I can just establish that by having the paper left behind. (Graeme) You’ve got some other beautifully coloured pictures as well. I mean I just love your work because of all the colours. There’s one called Love Locks, and there’s a bit of a story to that one. (Ann) Yes, Love Locks. David and I went to Paris just about a year ago and the Eiffel Tower was not in the photograph, so I had to import that from a different photograph, and of course there was no bird in the photograph either. (Graeme) Aha. (Ann) I just felt I had a space and what can I put there to add a little bit of life to this picture? And that painting I’m so happy to say was accepted to the Pennsylvania Watercolors current international exhibition and won an award. So that was something that made me really happy. (Graeme) Yeah, and in saying that, you’re actually a signature member of the transparent Watercolor Society of America, (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and the New England Watercolor Society. (Ann) Yes, I participate in all those exhibitions, and it took me a few years, but I have my signature in those three organisations. (Graeme) That’s wonderful. This is a great piece as well, it’s called Full of Berries. But this is a pretty special picture, because it’s actually on the back binder of a book that you’re (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) featured in. (Ann) Yes, the book is Contemporary Cape Cod Artists, Images of Land and Sea. That book came out a couple of years ago written by a local journalist, art historian, Deborah Forman, and I was include in the book and thrilled to have had that happen. (Graeme) No it’s lovely, it really is. You’ve done some amazing pieces with glass (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) and small sculptors. You’ve got one called Nice Nest. The intricacy is just wonderful. (Ann) That piece came together just as kind of a made up piece, in that none of those pieces of glass were the size or proportion that they are in the painting. (Graeme) Find the Fish, is all about glass and reflections as well. (Ann) Find the Fish. Yes, the marbles with the glass showing through. (Graeme) Yeah, the fish is actually (Ann) The fish, (Graeme) encapsulated in one of those balls. (Ann) the fish is in the marble. So you really, you really do have to go find the marble. (Graeme) You’ve got another piece called Down Town Dogs. And I was just in New York and I saw one of those stands, (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) and the colours are just wonderful. (Ann) Yes, (Graeme) Brilliant. (Ann) and that photo, it wasn’t really night time when I took the photo, but I needed the contrast to really make all the lights and the colours stand out. (Graeme) Okay Ann, we’ve got the next piece up. What are we going to do on this one? (Ann) We do. So at this point I’ve done a lot more work on the hull with details along the edge, and I’ve done a little bit of work on the water. So I’m just going to start with this little area here, and I won’t wet it everywhere,I’ll only wet it part of the way, so that I can have the colour hitting the paper, and then having a soft edge. So I’m going to use this neutral tint again, right up against the hull, (Graeme) Aha. (Ann) right at the water line. I do see fishing boats on my travels on Cape Cod almost every day. So I’m always looking at them to see what they look like from different angles, from different perspectives. It’s a lucky place to live to have that as part of my subject matter. (Graeme) Yes, very much so. You’ve got a piece here called French Quarter Blues. I’m sort of thinking that has got to be in New Orleans? (Ann) Yes, absolutely New Orleans. That fellow was playing his heart out. We were the only people there. He was sitting outside a gallery. It was amazing, and that painting went on to be in several shows and win awards. And it’s now owned by a lovely person that I’m glad has it so, that was really a wonderful painting for me; it was very special. Because sometimes you have paintings you don’t always care whether they sell or not, because they can remain part of your life. But it is even more wonderful to have them go on, and be in somebody else’s life. That’s part of it that I really, really enjoy. (Graeme) Now you also exhibited at one of the great galleries in the local area, Gallery Antonia. You deal with Domonic, who’s the Gallery Director there. (Ann) Yes. (Graeme) There’re a fantastic establishment aren’t they? (Ann) Incredible. Being in a gallery really changed my life. I’ve been with Domonic for almost nine years now, and it’s just been amazing. And as being part of the community we do all kinds of events at the gallery from book signings, and special events, exhibits and openings; there’s always something going on. Learning about colour is so important because yes, I would just disagree when people say watercolour is so unforgiving, and you can’t make a mistake. But it is really key to understand about paint, and what can go on top of what to create another colour. So that’s what I find so interesting about it. (Graeme) Yeah, I think the beauty about watercolour too is what you’ve been showing us all the way through, is you can drag that colour out a little bit as well. (Ann) Yes. Yes, absolutely. I like to get to the point in a painting where I’m not really looking at the photograph any more. I’m really only concerned with how it’s working as a painting. And that’s one you can honestly put your stamp, and your interpretation on whatever’s happening on the paper in front of you, and that’s my goal. I often tell my students who are often a little too committed to what a photograph looks like. It’s important to be able to let go of what the photograph looks like, and just make your decisions based on how you want it to look as a painting. I do say to my students, you are the boss of your painting, so you get to make all those decisions. (Graeme) Yes, in saying that to your students, (Ann) Yes, students, my wonderful students. (Graeme) and the wonderful workshops you do. If you would like to enquire for some of Ann’s workshops, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world. You can see her workshop details and her work at Ann Harts art dot com. (Ann) Right, I had to put that S in there because somebody else had Ann Hart art, (Graeme) Okay, there you go. (Ann) so I had to put the S in to (Graeme) Ann Harts dot com (Ann) yes, to seperate myself. (Graeme) It was a tongue twister. (Ann) Yes. Now what I’m going to do is jump out of the detail, and put the water down here at the bottom, and do this big wash on the reflection of the hull up above. And to do that I’m going to turn the painting around, because I want more gravity helping me keep the dark paint closer to the waterline. (Graeme) Aha. (Ann) So I’m just going to jump in with this lavender wash colour and just lay that on here. I’m just going to bring this across. It’s wet and juicy, I’m just going to drop it in right up to the top here. So I can go right into that edge of the dark area there. I don’t mind if that bleeds together a little bit, because I still have quite a bit of detail to add. And the next thing we need to do while I still have it quite wet, is just as I’ve done that dark along the waterline there, I need to come in and do that here. That will probably take a couple of applications to get that right. And I might not, I might not even get this wash in one pass, but I can go back again. (Graeme) I think the management is the management of the water and the timing. (Ann) Yes, it is, absolutely. The management of the water, how much is on your paper, how much is on your brush. (Graeme) Tell me the story about the picture Good Dog. (Ann) That fellow was playing with his dog on the beach in Province Town, and I took many, many photographs of the two of them together. And someone who saw that painting has described it in a way to me that I just absolutely love. She said it’s the ultimate expression of poignant affection. So that’s how I see it. It’s just a sweet image of affection. I have the reflection of these rusty streaks on the hull, so here I’m just going to drop this in. And this is one of those cases were you kind of do only get one chance, so here I go. I’m just going to drop that in, that’s fine. Just one, one pass – nothing fancy. And I’m not going to futz with it, because when you do that you’ll get yourself in trouble. (Graeme) When you start futzing that’s it. (Ann) Yeah. So I’m going to leave that for now and let it dry. (Graeme) It’s been fantastic watching you work. (Ann) Thank you. It’s been fun. (Graeme) It really has been. And you’re an amazingly creative woman, and thank you so much for having us in your studio. (Ann) Thank you. My pleasure. (Graeme) All right folks, well what a fantastic day. Ann, that was an absolute pleasure. (Ann) Thank you. My pleasure. (Graeme) It really was. (Ann) Absolutely, wonderful. (Graeme) Yeah, thank you. As you can see, here is the finished piece and it really is beautiful. I mean I just love your work. Ann’s put a little quirky thing in there and she’s turned some of these ripples into fish. So that little bit of an artistic licence in there, branding the situation. (Ann) Couldn’t resist. (Graeme) But fantastic work. Now once again your – the gallery that you deal with here is? (Ann) Gallery Antonia. (Graeme) Yeah, and you can see them online as well; they’ve got a fantastic website. Also, for the workshops that you do, and as I said Ann does some really remarkable work. She’s so diverse and I love the colour and the format that she produces. So I would highly recommend one of her workshops. Your website address is? (Ann) Ann Harts art dot com. (Graeme) So go in there and see her as well. You can come and see us in colour in your life dot com dot au as always. And please come in and subscribe on the YouTube channel as well. We always love to see new subscribers and new fans as well. We’re going to head off, we’re heading up to Maine to film some more people, and it’s been absolutely fantastic at Cape Cod. (Ann) Yes, absolutely. (Graeme) Beautiful place, beautiful people. It really is a lovely area. And until we see you guys again, remember – to make sure you put some colour in your life. We’ll see you again next time. (Ann) Bye. (Graeme) Bye guys.

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