My name is Valerie de Rozarieux and I live in the beautiful Peak District, in the UK. I always enjoyed drawing as a child and have dabbled on and off over the years. I am particularly drawn to colour, which has manifested itself over the years in sewing, jewellery making and gardening. They have always been about combining colours for me.
When my eldest child (now 22) was a toddler, I attended an evening class in watercolours. I had no time to practice from one week to the next and made no progress whatsoever! I wasn’t really inspired by the teaching and decided watercolours weren’t for me.
Years passed and my three kids grew up and I decided to play with watercolours again. Over the intervening years, things had changed and a wealth of tutorials were available on YouTube etc. I bought books, DVDs (Jean Haines, Ann Blockley, Shirley Trevenna) and watched oodles of videos. I soon realised that watercolours could do much more than the prescriptive method I had been shown. I explored and used rather a lot of paper until I developed a process I really enjoyed.
I love to let the pigment “do its own thing” on the paper, revelling in the mixing, run backs and granulations, for excitement and textures. I have always had a love of nature and animals and it was only natural for these to be the subject of my paintings. I feel that the spontaneity and fluidity of watercolour paints lend themselves well to capturing the beauty of animals, giving a painting a sense of life.
I like to combine ink lines with loose watercolours, to the point that many passages of paint can be slightly abstract. I also like to play with colours and not necessarily conform to ‘realistic’ colours for the subject. I don’t usually have much of a plan before I start a painting, and even feel that it could lead to my work being too tight.
If I were to analyse it, I would definitely say that colour is my starting point, and I spend some time choosing these beforehand. Once I have found a combination that excites me, then I know they are the right colours. Overall, I am particularly drawn to blue. It is my ‘happy colour’.
As to my process, I generally put down a light ink outline and then apply a loose wash, by splashing paint on and applying lots of water, reacting to what happens on the paper. Once this is thoroughly dry, I apply more paint to build upon the image. Aesthetically, I find that I like to see quite a lot of white paper and not cover it all with a wash.
Recently, I have also started to apply some pastel over the watercolour, as I like the additional texture and depth it adds. I mostly use Pigma Micron 0.05. Winsor & Newton and Daniel Smith are my go to paints as I enjoy the quality of pigments and, particularly with Daniel Smith, the wide range of exciting colours.
I have just been participating in Inktober and decided to follow the prompts, adopting an animal theme. I used fineliners but also experimented with Indian ink and used it a little like watercolour. I couldn’t quite resist all colour and decided to add a blue gouache block, which helped me to consider each image from a design point of view.
Before I knew it, I had a series. My experience with watercolours helped me with the Indian ink, but it does have different properties, particularly drying very quickly and being permanent! Not much margin for error. I shall enjoy going back, after Inktober, to playing with colours.Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in