#MakeASplash #Watercolour5 Again for this I employed my Wilko gel pens. This time I drew out some imaginary bits and bobs in blue ink. Afterwards I took my masking fluid pen and added in more details or retraced my drawing. I wanted to have the contrast between using blue ink lines and the white of the paper Once the masking fluid was dry I painted over the image very roughly with a large brush.   


This sketch was done using: Wilko gel pens Cass Art Jumbo A4 Pad Watercolours & Brushes What I love about these brightly coloured gel pens (apart from the 80p for five price!) is that they instantly make you smile. I doodled out some squares and rectangles floating in space, then just put a wash over the top. The pens are not waterproof so there was so bleeding. I think this added to the harmony of colours and I would like to develop the gel pen – watercolour combination further.


#MakeASplash #Watercolour3 This was done using a masking out method. I used: One sheet of Cass Art Jumbo watercolour pad paper, A4 size Masking fluid pen Watercolour travel box set (Windosr & Newton) Watercolour brushes I started by quickly drawing the train as it pulled away from Kingston station. I used the masking fluid pen to get the lines down. The only trouble drawing with masking fluid on the go is that it takes a while to dry. If you’ve got ten minutes until your train is due though, it works perfectly. Once the masking fluid was dry I used…


#MakeASplash #Watercolour2 This is my second watercolour sketch from the Cass Art watercolour challenge. It was done using the desk biro and watercolour washes.  I did a quick pen sketch while I was invigilating at RK Burt Gallery, London. Sometimes a simple biro can open up new ideas. I used a quick wash of watercolour to brighten this up a bit.    


The first of 50 watercolour challenge paintings. This paperclip inspired piece was created using some nifty masking techniques. Materials list:  1 sheet of Cass Art Jumbo Watercolour Pad (I used A4) Masking tape Masking fluid Watercolour paints Decorators brush / large watercolour brush     Method: Mask off the edges of the paper using your masking tape. A nice tip here is to use very thick masking tape and tape the sheet down to a board to prevent buckling and frame the image. Using masking fluid draw out the shape of a paper clip. If you’re using masking fluid from…

After Moroni “Portrait of a Gentleman”

The RA Moroni exhibition was an inspiration. London has the best collection of Moroni’s work outside of Italy, he was enormously popular with the Victorians. I’ve learnt so much from looking at his work. Here is my version of his “Portrait of a Gentleman”. I return to Moroni because his work is so compelling. It also a great exercise in tonality as the flesh isn’t the brightest, lightest part of the picture. For more about this portrait the National Gallery website has details.

"White Rose", watercolour on paper, 21x25cm, Charlie Kirkham 2015.

Watercolour White Rose: Demo 

As part of the watercolour course I teach I like to show students how to tackle difficult subjects. One of those is how to deal with white when painting with watercolour. I encourage students not to draw out in pencil. This isn’t because I have a problem with pencil, but because once a graphite line is in students tend to treat it as gospel and be unwilling to rub out. The first step is to make a quick sketch on rough paper or your sketchbook. Use this as a guide for composition and tone. Then, using a neutral, light coloured…

After Veronese, The Vision of St Helene

At the moment room 9 of the National Gallery is even more of a treat than usual. With a host of Veronese pictures hung together, including the four ceiling paintings, it’s worth a lingering visit. Captured by Veronese’s use of anatomical exaggeration to lend theatre to his work, I began sketching “The Vision of Saint Helene”. It’s been a difficult learning curb. Helene’s tilted chin, so artfully painted by the master utterly confounded this student.

"Flowers on Flowers", collage and watercolour on paper, 700x320mm. Charlie Kirkham 2014.

Flowers On Flowers

This collage was based on a still life set up. I did a quick study in watercolour using a limited palette. What appealed to me about this vase was that it reflected everything, in the collage I wanted to get that sense of reflection, and feel as if when you walked in front of the picture you see your self-portrait. I used textured metallic foil (the kind you use on floors) to create the vase. The imagery was a response to the materials. I really liked the vintage feel of the wallpaper with its gold applique and flowers, so it…