Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Helping out the next generation

his is a slightly off topic post, although it is about creativity.

One of my nephews, Antoine Philippe, expresses his creative side by designing furniture. He currently has two of his prototypes on a site named "L'Usine a Design" where you can vote for them. The site is in French and you have to register to vote...

The DONNA Chair - follow the link to vote.

The ELIPSE table - follow the link to vote.

The website of 1pulsif Design, the company that sells Antoine's creations.

Let's give a helping hand to the next creative generation!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Children more creative than adults

“Many psychologists have concluded that children are more creative than adults. One explanation for this is that the adult is so much more aware of practical constraints. Another explanation, which I believe, is that our culture trains mental playfulness, fantasy, and reflectiveness out of people by placing more stress on the value of channeled mental activities.”

James L. Adams - Conceptual Blockbusting: A Guide to Better Ideas, Fourth Edition


Monday, 20 June 2011

Bike ride in Derby Street

Bike ride in Derby Street - Oil on canvas panel (6" x 8") by Benoit Philippe

I painted "Bike ride in Derby Street" from a reference photograph I took in Berkeley (California – USA) in 2008. 

Although the photograph was taken for the house, I found the passing bike to be a good subject. I always try to see how far I can crop a photograph and how many potential painting subjects I could get out of it.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Dent that line

In the previous post (Lines in watercolour), we looked at different ways to make lines in watercolour.

There is another effective technique: denting the paper. The way it works is simple. The pigments concentration is higher in the depression made by the dent and forms a darker line.

You can use an embossing tool to create dent in the paper, but the tip of a brush handle works well and saves you carrying around yet another tool.

You need a thick paper that you can dent without fearing to go through it. Watercolour papers are in general heavy and therefore suitable for this technique.

I tried to make the dent first on the dry paper and then paint a wash over it. It did not work. The dent disappeared when the paper became moist and there was no line.

The second trial on an almost dry wash was more successful. I dented the paper, added a second wash of Paynes grey and then removed the excess paint with a clean brush. The dent did not disappear this time (probably because the paper had already received a first wash) and the pigment stayed in the groove created by the dent when most of the second wash was removed by the clean brush. The resulting line was soft and would work well for background objects (like poles or boat masts).

The last method yielded the best results. I applied a first wash of blue followed by a second wash of red, wet on wet. I then drew a series of lines with the tip of the brush handle. Purple lines formed immediately. The beauty of this technique is that you can draw any line you want. In addition, once the paper dried, the dent disappeared with the tension on the stretched paper, only leaving the darker lines...

   Technorati Tags    :                 

Monday, 13 June 2011

Lines in watercolour

Free-hand lines

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. My preferred way to draw lines in watercolour is to trace the line lightly with a pencil and a ruler (or the side of a pencil or a brush handle if I don’t have any ruler), then to paint the line free-hand.

I steady my hand by touching the paper with my little finger. I could use a ruling pen, but I find the result too mechanical.

Lines with masking tape

Stick the masking tape where you want the line, paint the line along the masking tape and then remove the tape. It is quick but does not give the best results on rough paper.

This method seems easy because with the masking tape you don’t need to worry about painting a thin line. However, it is not easy to get a regular line because you can’t really see what part of the line goes on the masking tape and what part goes on the watercolour paper.

A word of caution: try sticking the masking tape and removing it on the back of the watercolour paper first to make sure it does not rip-out the surface of the paper.

Printing lines

I tried a simple printing technique: I painted the side of a mount card with paint and use it to print blue lines by pressing it on the paper.

The line on the right is the first one, I then printed several times on the left of the first line without reloading with edge of the card with paint.

The result is more random than with the other techniques, as the quality of the impression depends on giving the paint the right consistence. The watercolour paint dries quickly and it is difficult to control the final result. In addition, the paint is not going in the dips of the rough paper.

Next time, I will look at another interesting technique to draw lines in watercolour.

   Technorati Tags    :             

Friday, 10 June 2011


For my niece's wedding, I was asked to paint a double portrait of the newlyweds. I did it in gouache.

Newlyweds - Gouache by Benoit Philippe

I was not the only one. In fact, we were 16 (uncles, aunts, cousins) to contribute to a patchwork of portraits.

(Click on the image to enlarge)

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Travel to Brive-la-Gaillarde sketches

Last week-end, I went to Brive-la-Gaillarde in France for my niece's wedding. I managed to do a few sketches.

On my way to London. 

People who sleep are always good subjects... The initial drawing was done with  a fine Faber-Castell black pen. I added some grey shading with Faber-Castell grey brush pens. For the colour, I used a selection of Pentel ink pen brushes (see below). Moleskine sketchbooks won't take watercolour washes, but ink brushes work well on this paper. I still need to buy a yellow one.

A sketch done in 2 minutes at Collonges la Rouge - a beautiful medieval village

Breakfast at the Formule 1 hotel