Interest to the artist when they are new but after some i ime exposed to the weather they show sicns of decay and can provide fascina i ing subects

Burnt sienna

Cobalt blue

The ridges of corrugated iron are best recorded as highlights. This will help you to avoid making the picture too dark by trying to paint

Burnt umber (added for strength of tone)

Burnt sienna

Cobalt blue

The ridges of corrugated iron are best recorded as highlights. This will help you to avoid making the picture too dark by trying to paint

Burnt umber (added for strength of tone)

The cold feel which is often required when painting steel or metal is best achieved by using cobalt blue as the chief mixer

A raw sienna underwash will enhance the warmth of rust colours and works particularly well with burnt sienna

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Project: Australian Shack

Raw sienna

Burnt sienna

Burnt sienna


Cobalt blue

Burnt umber


Cobalt blue

Sap green

A mixture of warm and cold colours were chosen for this painting. Warm greens and ultramarine for the lush foliage and cobalt blue for the cold steel and sharp sky

Having made a quick pencil sketch of this simple box-like shack (see pages 22/23), the first step was to create the overall mood of the day. A strong, clear, cloudless sky will always give strong, clearly defined shadows on a building, whereas a softer, cloudv skv

O » < i will often result in more diffused, softer shading within the structures you are painting. If you establish the colours and tones of the background first, this will make it much easier to establish the colours and tones within the buildings.

The background colours chosen were raw sienna, sap green and cobalt blue. First, a wash of thin cobalt blue was painted onto dry paper using a large brush, representing the gaps between the clouds where the sky could be seen. Very quickly, before the paint dried, the areas around the edge of the wash were blotted with a sheet of scrunched-up kitchen paper to create the feeling of softness around the edges of the clouds. Then, to prevent the clouds from looking pure white, an extremely watery wash of raw sienna (chosen for its warmth of tone) was pulled upwards from the far horizon on the left-hand side in a diagonal sweep, towards the tops of the clouds and, again, the edges were blotted, enhancing the softness.

The trees on the far horizon were painted with a dominant blue tint, reinforcing the effect of distance. This time a medium-size brush was introduced as a little more control was required over where the paint went. The colours used for the meadow that swept down to the shack were sap green with a touch of cobalt blue. These were painted with a medium brush, using a single sweeping brushstroke which was left to dry to a smooth finish, untouched by subsequent applications of paint.

I The sky was painted using a large brush. A watery mix of cobalt blue was washed diagonally from left to right and then blotted around the edges. A thin wash of raw sienna was applied to the clouds. Background colours were created with cobalt blue as the base colour.


2 An underwash was applied to dry paper using a medium brush: burnt sienna for the roof and raw sienna for the walls. Both colours were painted freely using a lot of water. The new roof panels were left unpainted.

3 The iron roof was developed by applying a second, thicker coat of burnt sienna, using a small brush. Before it dried, clear water was dropped onto the paint to create runs and bleeds. A thin wash of cobalt blue was applied to some roof panels. Shadows were created by mixing burnt sienna and burnt umber, applying them with a small brush and pulling downwards while the wash was still wet.

Having established the mood through the use of soft shapes in the sky and background, the next stage was to paint the actual building. As the shacks were built largely of stone and corrugated iron, the choice of colours for underwashes was clear: raw sienna and burnt sienna. They were applied with much water and vigorous brushstrokes to create bleeds and patchy texture.

As the underwash was drying, 1 decided to work on the roof, recording the textures of the rusty old iron. For this section I chose a small brush, not to record details, but to allow a little more control over exactly where I dropped the water. Most areas required burnt sienna, w hich was washed on in the appropriate places. While it was drying, a few drops of clear water were dripped from the small brush and allowed to bleed freely.

only occasionally being helped to flow in the right direction.

When this had dried, the shadows underneath the metal sheets were picked out using a mixture of burnt sienna and burnt umber. Using a medium-size brush, raw sienna was applied chiefly to the stone walls, w hile the burnt sienna was washed across the roof.

The final stage for the roof was to apply a little watery cobalt blue to the less stained sheets of iron, leaving some fine lines of pure w hite paper to suggest highlights. Some of the panels on the roof w ere left more or less unpainted at this stage (a few bleeds and overlapping brushstrokes would not have mattered) as they were replacement sheets and did not look so stained by rust and so appeared to be lighter than the sky against w hich thcv were viewed.

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As the completed roof was drying. I began to organize my colours for the stone walls. As these were really only one colour, only one base colour was required. But as the old weathered stone held a wealth of tones, several additions would clearly be needed.

The underwash 011 the walls had long since dried, so it was possible to use this to its fullest potential and to work 011 top of it. using it to represent the lightest tones. The first stage was to create the shadows underneath the old wood and iron awning. The colours mixed for this were burnt umber and ultramarine (which is a stronger blue than cobalt, and results in a deeper tone). Using a medium brush, this paint was applied directly underneath the awning and pulled downwards (in a similar way to the early treatment of the sky), creating .1 soft gradation within the shading. So as to enhance the softness, a watery wash of raw sienna was dropped onto the bottom sections of the wall before the shadow paint had time to dry. The two washes met and bled freely, once again creating a patchy texture as they dried. This technique was continued around the stone walls.

The penultimate stage was to complete the woodwork using a watery mixture of burnt umber and cobalt blue, and to paint the shadows of the windows (or where they once were) using the deepest of tones, which were created by mixing only burnt umber and ultramarine and very little water. As with all the shadows in this scene, they were painted with the deepest tone at the top of the window and this was pulled downwards, with the addition of a little water at the base to lighten it.

4 The colours for the stone walls were painted onto the underwash. Burnt umber and ultramarine were used for the shadows. This mixture was painted directly underneath the awning and pulled downwards to achieve gradation of shadow. A watery mix of raw sienna was dropped on using a small brush and allowed to bleed and dry freely.

5 Shadows in the windows were created using the same mixture as the wall shadows, but with less water. A small brush was used to draw the water butt indents and ridges onto a watery undercoat of cobalt blue. Pure burnt sienna was dropped onto the base while it was still wet.

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The corrugated iron water butt also had to be included at this stage, using the same colours as the root, but a different technique: the circular shape required a more clearly defined application of paint. Firstly, using a medium brush, a thin, watery mix of cobalt blue was painted onto the butt, making sure that a line running from top to bottom was left unpainted to act as a reflection. When this underwash had dried, a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna was added, using a small brush to pick out some of the ridges and indents, but leav ing the underwash to act as the raised highlighted areas. While this was still wet, some pure burnt sienna was dropped in. to suggest the rust tones.

The final stage was to unify the w hole vT* J

scene by painting the foreground. This required a careful choice of colours — especially the base colour, which would bind all the colours and tones together, making sure that 110 colour was out of place. As I had used so much raw sienna in the building, and some in the sky, this was an obvious choice for a base colour. To prevent the background and foreground looking as if they were parts of two separate pictures, 1 pulled a very thin and w atery wash of pure raw sienna across the field painted in stage I. I could then begin to paint the foreground, using a series of mixtures of sap green, raw sienna and ultramarine for the deeper tones, confident that it would match up with those sections already painted.

Traditionally, artists have used the foreground of a painting to elaborate on detail. This is dangerous w hen painting grass and mud: mud has little detail, only colour: and clumps of grass can easily become too detailed and end up as fancy distractions at the front of your picture. I find that the best solution to this problem is to combine a suggestion of detail with the introduction of variety (and contrast) of tone. On the right-hand side of the building I have ensured that the tone of the stone wall is darker than the grass, making the grass appear to be a very

Raw sienna was dropped onto the clouded area of the sky to reduce the glare of the white paper

Raw sienna was also used as a base colour for the tree and grass to create a more unified feel

Much of the three-dimensional appearance of the painting has been created by the highlights: the fine lines and areas of unpainted, white paper that suggest that light is bouncing off raised areas v x ■M

light tone. On the left-hand side under the awning, a touch of ultramarine has been added to the sap green and raw sienna mix, strengthening the colour. This produced some grass tones that were a contrast to the lighter tones around the corner, providing visual variety rather than detailed clutter.

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Australian Outback Shack

The painting was completed by adding the tree that leaned out of the composition This was painted using a mixture of all the colours used elsewhere, as. like buildings, trees should never be painted using a single colour - they, too, reflect the colours and mood of" the day.

Some buildings were originally little more than outbuildings have been built onto, extended, and eventually absorbed into the urban environment that has grown up around them.

While always a jittlc more than a shack, the bar 'Au Lapin Agile' in Montmartre, Paris, has maintained its rural turn-of-thc-century charm despite being dwarfed by-blocks of residential apartments. Its green shutters, creeping ivy. and the shock of bright yellow broom in the front garden all stand witness to its rural past. One particularly appealing feature was the old metal sign with its rust bleeds and typical Parisian blue colouring - best achieved by adding a touch of burnt umber to a very strong ultramarine paint.

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