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.
Valerie de Rozarieux
Love your loose colorful style!
Thank you very much – it’s fun to do .
Wow, I really like Valaries work!!
Thank you – that so good to hear.
What wonderful drawings and a lovely expression of colour choices Valerie. Bravo!
Thank you so much Ian- I don’t think I will ever tire of playing with colours.
Valerie, your style is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing your process. I would like to try some of your techniques.
It would be great if you had a go Laura-and share some of your results !
Fantastic work! Have followed on IG
Thank you so much and thank you for the follow 😊
I found your article excellent especially use of colors in a fantastic way thanks
Wonderful paintings, Valerie! I love that you let the watercolors play and thanks for sharing your story with us!
Thank you so much Karen- glad you enjoyed reading about my process.
Your work is beautiful!
Thank you so much.
Your art is so lovely and inspiring!!! I love the loose style most. 😀 It is wonderful you came back to watercolors such a wonderful way to create. 🙂
Thank you so much – that’s very kind. Watercolours can be a bit unforgiving but I think it’s good to embrace the unpredictability!
Your art is beautiful and such an inspiration!!! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for saying so !
I love your really wonderful drawings and paintings of animals. Thank you for sharing your story and your work.
Thank you so much for your kind words.
Wonderful I loved it!!
Thank you- so good to hear.
Wow! Your work is amazing and beautiful. I love how you let the watercolors do their thing. So mesmerizing. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for your kind comments- so glad you like them.
Beautiful work of art!
Thank you so much
I’m so curious how you achieve that effect. Do you put the puddles of color on the paper first, and then draw and paint the animal over the top? or does the extra color surrounding the animals come at the end? I have tried the latter, and managed to muddy things up a bit when I went over what I had previously painted…
When I first adopted this approach I applied paint first – splashes and lots of water on to dry paper- and decided where to place animal after- with a vague composition in mind- that way I was painting my background and animal at the same time ( I often find backgrounds difficult and experienced issues as you describe)- then I “ refined” my approach so that I outlined my composition in fine pen and the splashed/applied paint as before,allowing the paint to go outside of the inked image. If I like passages of paint and it works in the image then those parts may only have the initial application. Other ares I build up with light washes to bring the animal out and emphasise certain areas. Hope that makes sense?
Thank you for this explanation. I was wondering the same thing. Your work is beautiful and exciting. When I look at it I can’t help but feel happy…you are so right about that blue… You are an amazing artist. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your inspiring artwork.
Thank you so much Lin- I think that must be one of the nicest comments I have ever had! You’ve made my day! Watercolours can be exciting and they don’t deserve the wishy- washy reputation they often have…
Yes, thank you! That does make sense. When I tried doing it afterwards, it just looked like I had made a mistake by running over my initial painting of the bird with some of the color from the background—not pleasing at all. Yours are so beautiful. The fox and the otter are my faves, but the way the colors interact on/around the duck are lovely, and the thing you did next to the ram that kind of conveys sheep’s wool but also serves as background is really amazing.
So glad you like them- it is quite a hit and miss technique I suppose- but I think that’s where the love of the colour comes first- actually liking the passages of paint for their aesthetics rather than if they look like something- the forming of an image comes after. I look at work of others which I think is beautiful- but I can’t seem to paint that way even if I try! We all have a different approach- just keep enjoying!
Maravilloso mundo..de la acuarela…felicitaciones y publiquen mas
Thank you- I hope to many more!
Thank you so much .
Valerie, I so enjoyed this post. I’m new to painting, having just started in April for the first time in my life. Painting looser is my goal, and I think this is going to help me. I’ve added it to my favorites. I sometimes pop a little painting into a post on my food blog (whether it’s relevant or not!).
Thank you Jean- I’m delighted you think it might be helpful. I can imagine little watercolour sketches alongside your blog would look wonderful!
Thank you for sharing your art. I love it! 🙂
Thank you- that’s lovely to hear.
Valerie, being a “fox,” I have seen your watery fox shown in this collection on Pinterest (I’m sure it’s on my “foxy things” board). I love the ethereal and creative qualities of your work. I’m a big fan of England, have visited twice, and would love to see more of your work.
Hi Sally, I have only just seen this message (04/18/20). Thanks so much for your kind comments- I really appreciate it.
I do have this fox on Pinterest but haven’t added to that for a while, as I opened an Instagram account:@vmderoz if you want to have a look. I have never visited the US- it is such a vast country with infinite variety!