Nasturtium Doodles
use up that greenish yellow paint...

In mid 2018 I started researching watercolour paints, probably because I had by then purchased Billy Showell's superb manual on botanical-style watercolour illustration, and concluded I needed to update my knowledge of the medium, which consisted at that point of my college professors’ advice to ‘buy windsor and newton [professional grade] watercolours and good quality 100% rag paper, 300# if you can afford it’. Since then I had discovered waterbrushes, which are a cheap and marvelous tool, but otherwise hadn't updated my working methods since the early 80s.

To be fair, I'd been pursuing other media[1] , digging out watercolours mostly as a hobby to do while camping.

Sketchbook. watercolours, technical pens and coloured markers on a Japanese diary, 8.25x11.75". 01Sept2020. Photographed with Lumix LX100, unified transform, crop and levels tools applied.

So when I began to travel overseas, I naturally added watercolours to the photography that typically dominates my arty experiences while on vacation; and particularly during a visit to Japan, realized that sketches (especially portraits of my hosts’ [grand]children) made great gifts; IOW, as I did more watercolour, I became more interested in it, a feedback loop. However, unlike the car camping, everything had to fit at minimum into a day-sized backpack and for quick sketchy access, ideally into a small belt purse, which meant I was on the lookout for ever tinier travel kits. —So far my smallest watercolour palette fits in a mini-altoids tin and it really has had only two aggravations: one is that I didn't have any aqua paint, the other is that when I made up the contents, the sour green paint didn't dry as quickly as the others, and flowed into the yellow compartment, contaminating it.

Now I love yellow-green, don't get me wrong; purists don't even bother putting green in minimalist paint kits, preferring to mix their greens with glazes of yellow and blue (how incredibly tedious...)—but I wanted pure yellow. And ever since then, that is, since at least the winter holidays in 2019, when is the latest[2] I would've received the little box and its 3D printed insert, I have been struggling to use up all that contaminating greenish yellow paint sitting atop my the two yellows.[3]

I happen to really like nasturtiums, and they're fun to paint, because their architecture is relatively simple, yet absolutely unique, what with the whiskers on the lower 3 petals, the long spur, and of course those fabulous round leaves, the smoothness of which contrasts so nicely with the slightly crinkled quality of the flowers. And green and orange, one of my favourite colour combos. Besides which, I had a commission in which I was gonna have to paint these flowers, both in a scale and medium with which I'm not terrifically familiar, so I needed to practice: thus the perfect storm to use up that contaminated paint, and get some research out of the way. By the time I finished the lot on the left, in a semi-botanical style, I was getting (mentally) tired, so I reverted to doodles, albeit with some nasturtiums sprinkled in, on the right.

I spent much of 1September painting doodling with watercolours, mostly while listening to youtube deconstructions—this double spread is one of the results, and I wouldn't’ve bothered posting it, except my ex-strudent and art buddy Fran, as well as f2tE, both thought it was cool, the former enough to photograph it.


Into the ravening maw that is the need to post on the website, then.

And it did use up lots of green contaminated watercolour paint in my mini-kit:)

[1]I.e., beadwork in all its glorious formats.

[2]It's possible I received it in ’18, which means I've been on this use-it-up tear for nearly two years!

[3]The mini-altoids tin insert has 8 compartments, and I put 2–3 similar colours in each, as a way to leverage the quantity of colours. I'm not Rembrandt, getting by with just six pigments.