‘The Arty Bit’

Changing Trends, With Barry Whitehouse

Instead of using the more traditional methods of creating art such as oils, gouache, or acrylics, many artists are taking to the pen! Not just traditional pen and ink, there is now a growing number of graphics based marker pens being released into the art market.

Pens such as the alcohol based ‘Promarker’, or ‘Copic Ciao’ pen have been around for some years but in the past 12 months many art companies have released their own markers. Winsor & Newton now have ‘Watercolour Markers’ which are basically watercolours in pen form that when wet give the look of watercolours. They have also released a range of pigment markers said to be lightfast for 100 years!

Why are so many artists turning to this marker based way of creating work?

One reason may be that in this fast paced, modern world the marker pen gives instant colour and doesn’t take time to set up. They are highly portable and can be used on the move, and are bright, vibrant and scan well, meaning they can be easily added to any digital art work.

Traditional art mediums will never leave us, but it doesn’t mean that new ways of creating should be dismissed. It was feared that digital art would take over, but these new art trends help enhance the ‘handmade’ feel and can strengthen digital based art work.

The Art Surgery

A simple rose in watercolour

What you will need:

  • A4 300gsm watercolour paper with a cold pressed surface
  • Viridian and permanent rose watercolour paint
  • A large round and a small detail round brush
  • A mixing tile

This rose exercise is a great way for someone to make a start in art as it uses only two brushes and two colours, and requires no drawing whatsoever! It helps with understanding how colours work and mix, and how to achieve depth without the use of black. When you limit your palette you instantly start looking at how many colours and shades can be created from the small amount of colours that you are using. The painting also has a greater sense of colour harmony due to all colours being made from just a few.

Step 1 Begin by wetting your paper all over. You may wish to tape it down to stop it from cockling. Dip the brush in the permanent rose paint and dab it in the middle of the paper. If the wetness of the paint and paper is correct then the paint with spread a little giving fuzzy edges, and may create shapes.

Step 2.  While the paper is still wet, add the viridian green around the edges of the pink ‘splodge’. Mix together the permanent rose and the viridian in varying quantities to give lots of tones of green and greys, and add them in places to the background. Allow the paper to dry.

Step 3.   Use the smaller brush and add more permanent rose in semi circles in the centre of the ‘splodge’ getting wider as you move towards the outside edge.

Step 4. With the smaller brush, make it a little damp and begin by lifting out the highlight on the petals. It may take a while for the colour to begin to lift. If it doesn’t lift off well, dampen the area a little, leave it for a few seconds then go back into it with a clean, almost dry brush.

Step 5 Continue this for all the petals. As you do this, you will find that the paint that has been lifted gets moved towards the edge of the petal and will give an outline of it.

Step 6. Mix together the permanent rose with a little viridian to make a pinky-purple. Use this to outline the petals and blend this colour down into the body of the rose.

Step 7. Mix a stronger mix of viridian and permanent rose to make a darker tone and go back into the darker areas and blend it up and out.

Step 8. Now for some ‘edge blending’. Make a very dark mix of the rose and viridian. Paint a little around the edge of the petal where it meets the background, and with a clean damp brush blend it out into the rest of the background. Do this all around the flower.

Step 9. With this dark colour, paint the shapes of leaves near the rose, and again blend it out into the background. This will make a negative shape of the leaf, which you can add veins into should you wish, or just leave them blank. This helps give scale and a sense of a bigger picture to the rose, showing it isn’t on its own. Add a little more rose to the mix, and just paint in the darker detailed areas of the petals to make them stand out a little more.

























The Final image













This method works really well for any type of flower painting except for white flowers. It is possible to do a white flower in this technique, but you just miss out Step 1. And paint the background leaving an area of white paper for the flower.