Basic Watercolour Techniques

Basic watcrcolour techniques sound about as exciting as playing ludo with a tired kipper The temptation here is to skip over ibis bit and dive into the more interesting chapters. However, without a grounding in the ari of brushwork your landscapes will become glorified mudscapcs, with trees taking on the appearance ol gone-to-seed cabbages. So, to make ibis chapter more attractive I have designed the exercises around extremely simplified compositions. At ibis stage it is of tremendous value 10...

Building up a Painting

The order of working on a waiercolour is an important aspect to consider before starting to paint. Methods vary from artist to artist. Even the usual way of working from light to dark is sometimes ignored, as you will see in various parts of this course. I generally begin with large, flowing, transparent washes across the paper, then insert detailed areas in and around the centre of interest. The large washes accentuate the beauty ol waiercolour - its transparency. The detail provides the...

Demonstration

Ruined Cottage, C vm Silyn, Snowdonia 485x660 mm (19 x 26 in I J Stage 1 To emphasize the imposing background crag I raised it slightly and gave it more impact by throwing warm light across the face. I also decided to include a towering cloud formation to accentuate the feeling of space. The paper used was Saunders Waterford iOO lb Rough. First of all. masking fluid was applied to the parts of the ruin catching the sunlight - the right-hand edges of the walls and chimneys, plus the roof...

Painting in Monochrome

In waicrcolour, because the paints are transparent you have to put on the lightest first, then the darker ones, ending with the very darkest. If you tried to paint a light colour over a dark one it would hardly show up and would be almost guaranteed to end up looking like mud. So at this stage it is important to consider tones. Even students who have been painting for some time find it difficult to come to terms with tone and colour simultaneously. For absolute beginners this can become...

Simplifying the Landscape

If we paint a scene exactly as it is - with every bush, tree, slate, button, pebble, plant and so on in place - we will end up with a pretty boring picture. We might as well take a photograph. Such a scene would also be something of a marathon to paint. By reducing the amount of detail in a scene we not only give the work more impact, but also make it more manageable to paint. In addition, it will be more pleasing to the eye. We will have stamped our own mark of creativity on the painting and...

Materials and Equipment

For those about to embark on the adventure of painting in watercolour, materials can prove to be an expensive outlay. The materials jungle contains a bewildering array of goodies to tempt the unwary, and many presentation boxes produced by manufacturers contain a lot of unnecessary items - for example, tubes or pans of Lamp Black and Chinese White. Some colours may never see the light of your studio, and, in the beginning, having a vast army of colours available to you makes life complicated....

Rescuing Watercolours

Contrary to what many people may imagine, watercolours can be rescued from disaster to a great extent. Some of these rescue techniques not only restore a work, but will also give you confidence as a result of knowing that if you do make an error then ihe chances of recovery are perhaps better than you first thought. That confidence will help your watercolour technique progress considerably. Naturally there is a limit to how far a watercolour can be rescued and many situations are impossible to...

Pastoral Scenes

In ihis chapter various elements arc brought together - fields, trees, hedgerows, farms, cottages, lanes, people and animals - and blended into a cohesive whole. Ai times it is the so-called minor features thai let down the student, rather than the farmhouse or the old oak. How often do we see tufts of grass stretching right across the foreground in battle formation Or hedgerows that appear too artificial Let us have a look ai some of these supporting features and see how to use them to best...

Exploring Colour

If tone sets the image, so colour is the icing on the cake which delights or subdues the eye according to the choice of palette. Before you launch into a full-colour painting it is invaluable 10 try a number of works using only three colours. This will help you lo gel accustomed lo your colours and also achieve a greater sense ol unity in your paintings. Ii also benefits beginners by forcing them to make colour compromises and therefore 10 feel free to alter colours lo a degree. There are a...

Sketching with a Purpose

Closed Cell Foam Pencil

Being able to roam, climb and live wild in the mountains 1 feel privileged, for so many students relate how they are unable to sketch outdoors for various reasons. Nature is the greatest teacher we have and so the ideal situation is to be able to get out into the countryside as often as possible. Direct observation from nature is fundamental to the work of the landscape painter. No tricks of the trade, gimmickry or masking of inadequacies with overbearing techniques will substitute for this...

Creative Composition

Watercolor Landscape Composition

Composition embraces so much within a painting not just the position of the various elements within the framework, but also their treatment in terms ol tones and colour, lighting, emphasis and a host of other considerations. It even affects apparently minor points, such as ensuring thai a cow is looking into the painting and not staring at something out of sight beyond the edges. Intuition plays a significant pari in compositional design the rules cannot be reduced to some simple formulae. Much...

Exercises

Go out and find some puddles where you can also work on reflections, and do a few studies of the water from different angles. If you cannot get out, then set up some reflections indoors, using large howls, a sink or bath and any suitable objects. Try painting a river scene leaving out as much as you dare. See how little Do a painting based on the photograph of Killary harbour, Connemara below , aiming mainly at making a competent portrayal of the reflections. Keep the mountain detail to a...

Painting Interesting Skies

Wet Dry Watercolour Landscapes

As landscape painters we cannot ignore skies for very long. The sky sets the mood and colour temperature, and should relate to the landscape - or rather to the light on the landscape. It would he-good to see more imaginative skies in paintings at exhibitions, instead of so many simple 'play it safe' wet-in-wet ones. Effective skies can be produced fairly simply with a little thought, so do endeavour to be imaginative. In this book you will find many examples of different skies, from the simple...

Trees in the Landscape

To be able to paint trees in a competent manner is essential for the landscape artist. Do not worry if you cannot tell the difference between a redwood and a giant cactus. There is no real need to be able to identify different species of tree in order to paint them, although it is important to portray the chief characteristics of the various types, and in this respect observation is the key. Trees come in all shapes and sizes, alone, in groups or massed. Time spent producing detailed studies of...

Separating Tone and Colour

In this chapter we arc going to paint a picture in three stages, concentrating on jusi the tones at lirst and then laying down colour washes, rather in the manner of early eighteenth-century watercolourists who worked on 'stained drawings'. These works were carried out by washing transparent colours over a monochrome Indian ink underpainting. Here, however, we shall use Karisma waicr-solublc pencils in conjunction with watcrcolour. First, let me introduce you to these fascinating pencils....

Watercolour Landscapes

Simple Watercolour Landscapes

Haweswater, Lake District 240x330 mm 9Kx I 3 in Stage 1 Firstly, masking fluid was painted on tltc birch tree and some of the stones on the right-hand side, and then masking film was placed over the closer rib of the mountain. Low-tack masking film is ideal for covering large areas of paper that you wish to reser 'e and, unlike masking fluid, is effective over painted areas. Because washes would seep under the edge of the film if a rough surface was used, I worked on Saunders Waterford 140 lb...