Roy Holding Watercolours

Wednesday Jul 24, 2019

This was a one-day workshop with the highly regarded artist Roy Holding organised by Irene Foster of Woburn Gallery, and held in Little Brickhill Village Hall.

For his demo, Roy used Arches paper (300lb aka 540gsm) – available in big sizes from Jackson Art Supplies – the smaller sheets we used were £7.50 each, which I still think were underpriced.

The sky/mountain line was drawn in pencil (2B), along with other significant details and then masking tape applied. This was then cut out with a scalpel, to mask the sky so that texture could be applied to the mountains. This is how my work started off.

This texture was applied with a palette knife using a 2:1 mixture of Golden Moulding Paste (2) :
Golden Course Pumice (1). Also, a small amount of Gesso was added to this before applying, to reduce its absorbency on the paper—gesso afterwards affects the texture of the (very expensive and delicious) paper itself.

The general rule being to work top-down with mountains, and also to reinforce the lines which guide the eyes.

When dry, the paint was applied (very washy) with a 2” brush… although Roy also spattered some masking fluid in the foreground to pick out highlights, too. NB The masking tape was removed before the ‘texture’ was allowed to dry.

And Roy’s palette was very tight: raw umber, burnt sienna and Payne’s Grey, with some ultramarine, too. …Even if he did use a massive tray!

My attempts in a similar style, then, complete with a go of the big brush. Thank you Roy!

Also helpful is the realisation that I can add the texture I often crave using these techniques as well as the paper-and-glue-collage styles I’ve previously attempted (after Gerald Brommer, who Roy even knew when he was based in the USA). This sort of thing, anyway, and now I want to dive in with some pumice gel, too.

And I’d never even heard of John Blockley (or his daughter, Ann), so I’m glad their respective styles were mentioned throughout the day, too.