30×30 Direct Watercolour Challenge Part 1.

30×30 Direct Watercolour Challenge Part 1.

Every year in June, there is a challenge you can take part in to help improve your watercolour skills, the hashtag is #30x30directwatercolour. Last year I saw one of my Sketchbook Skool fellow scholar, Chaos Puzzler taking part, and was really inspired by him to give it a try. For one reason or another (mostly the lack of skill and the disappointment in my results!) I never finished the challenge, but this year I have been giving it my best shot.

The challenge of trying to find the time in my day has been the biggest barrier, as I am still supporting two of my boys with their home learning, plus the weather has been pretty wet! I always prefer sketching in peace, and outside in the shade of the sun 🙂

That all said, I have been trying to keep going – I haven’t managed a daily watercolour sketch (or even a daily sketch of any kind this week), but I am still hopeful I may complete 30 paintings, or at least maybe half this year, and go for it fully next year! Oh, and July is World Watercolour Month, so maybe I should treat this as a warm up 😉

Fig Tree

The process of applying the watercolour first, rather than using a pen to outline the sketch, is really awkward to me. I am so used to looking and drawing the outlines, and shading with crosshatching, or colour, that my brain really has to wrestle with itself! I do enjoy the challenge though.

It is also forcing me to mix colour to try and show the light and dark. With the fig tree I played around using a purple for the shadow areas, which I think works well.

Trying to master the brush to make marks is also a learning curve. I am switching between a big #10 round brush, and my trusty and rather worn Pentel waterbrush, and it is fun trying to see what I can achieve with them.

Flat Iron Building

The image of the Flat Iron building in Manhattan, was drawn in Danny Gregory’s weekly ‘Draw with Me’ Live stream on YouTube. It was fun watching him and the great Ian Fennelly approach this scene with different tools and interpretations. Danny used diluted ink, and Ian used grey brush markers. I used my watercolour – payne’s grey, and tried to paint it using different shades to show light and dark… I was not overly happy with the result, but it was a fun session, and as always, I learned something from the process!

sketching tools and wine

In the sketching tools and wine painting I feel some things went well, and others did not! I was happy with my use of the brush to ‘draw’ the objects, but I was very unhappy with the shadows and the overworked feel it all has! I had to go in with a white gel pen to try and rescue the highlights on the spray mister bottle, and the glass of wine. But again, as horrid as it is to share a picture I am not happy with, I think it is good to share and learn. It’s actually not as bad as I thought now I look on it a few days later 😉

Rose Arch

A relaxing sketch in the garden, trying some wet in wet techniques to add shadow. Overall I feel it lacks contrast and dimension though.

Sitting room window

I sketched our sitting room window in the early evening before putting the children to bed, and I remember not having a huge amount of time to do it, but I think that might help add to the looseness! Again I have played with a bit of purple for the shadows, and enjoyed trying to pick out window, stone, brick and leaf shapes with the brush.


Now this one I not only really enjoyed painting, I feel like I am starting to make some headway! Yay! I made an effort to be loose and give it a splashy feel, and really tried not to overwork it! I lifted out some of the paint on the rose petals with a paper towel, as I had forgotten to leave some white for the highlights, and I think the effect worked well 🙂

So that’s the first part of my challenge, I’m going to try and attempt a daily sketch this week and update with 7 paintings next Saturday! There isn’t much left of June!

Have a good week, and happy sketching 🙂

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