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  • We have had floods over the last couple of days

  • so the weather isn't good enough for outdoor painting

  • but we can paint from a sketch indoors.

  • This is a pencil sketch of Holywood, near to my home in Belfast

  • I plan to paint a simple watercolour in around 15 minutes or so

  • I prefer working from sketches

  • Photographs can't show you what you saw in a subject

  • A sketch can show the tonal differences better than a photograph

  • We'll start off with a nice sky wash

  • using cobalt blue

  • Not too weak. If the first wash is too weak

  • it can affect everything else later on.

  • I'm using a size 12 soft mop to create the sky

  • leaving an edge for the clouds

  • I'll use raw sienna for the actual clouds

  • and go into the edge of the blue for softness

  • Don't worry if it turns slightly green

  • I'll leave some edges hard for variety

  • With some extra cobalt, I'll bring the sky down to the horizon.

  • Below the horizon I'll change to green for the grass

  • For green I'll mix a cold yellow with French Ultramarine

  • Cold yellows include Winsor Yellow, Lemon Yellow and Aureolin

  • For sand I'll use burnt sienna

  • Let the colours run together in the first wash

  • That's stage one and we can relax. (10 minute drying time)

  • We'll continue by painting the parts of the subject furthest back

  • I'll use the green I used for the grass with some cobalt to cool it down

  • I leave it slightly unmixed on the palette, allowing it to mix on the paper

  • I'll add extra cobalt to cool it more

  • It is a little too much the same

  • so I'll use some pure cobalt

  • The trees need to be much darker than the background

  • For a warm green, use viridian

  • with burnt sienna

  • Burnt sienna warms up the cold viridian

  • Using the side of the brush, I suggest the trees

  • There is a second group of trees

  • Painting these trees also paints the side of the building

  • Phthalo blue and alizarin crimson make a good purple / gray

  • but take care with the proportions to avoid too much colour bias

  • With the same mix I will suggest the windows

  • Just little lines - the windows are too far away to show detail

  • There are perhaps too many similar windows

  • so I'll use my finger to smudge them a little

  • Never underestimate using your finger as an extra brush

  • I need to darken the chimneys so that they are visible against the sky

  • I'll use a weak gray

  • Ultramarine and burnt sienna

  • I'm trying for a gray slightly biased towards warm

  • I don't want it to be too neutral

  • Too dark

  • Probably just too much paint on the brush

  • Still too dark - so I'll remove some of the paint

  • I'm going to start making excuses here

  • Because the camera is in front of the paper

  • it is tricky to manage some of the finer details

  • It is always important to have excuses as a painter!!

  • I'll use the same phthalo / alizarin mix for the other building

  • I should really have painted this before the trees

  • but things don't always go to plan

  • Behind the trees we have some more distant trees

  • I'll use a cooler green for them

  • Cobalt and raw sienna

  • produce a dull green ideal for distance

  • I need to darken the nearer trees

  • so that the lighter hedge can be seen against them

  • Viridian + burnt sienna + ultramarine produces a good dark green

  • Because the tree wash is still wet

  • the dark merges nicely

  • I'm not really painting trees

  • They are really just blobs - too far away for detail

  • For sea I'll use a gray / blue

  • Ultramarine and burnt sienna again

  • Some darker green for hedges

  • Again I'll use the viridian / burnt sienna mix

  • with a little ultramarine

  • I leave a gap for a lighter hedge

  • I'll put that in later

  • The wall is also ultramarine / burnt sienna

  • Just a simple stroke across the paper

  • and down here too

  • Some hedge colour has run into the wall

  • but that's not important

  • More sea

  • Best to let it dry (10 minute drying time)

  • I'll paint the lighter hedge

  • using a warmer green by adding some raw sienna to the green mix

  • There are two walls

  • the sea wall and the wall behind the path

  • I'll darken to top wall slightly

  • It must be dark against the sea

  • but lighter against the dark trees

  • I'll clean and almost dry my brush

  • and this allows me to lighten the wall wash

  • I'll put some rocks in at the bottom of the sea wall

  • and some marks on the wall to show the slope

  • We'll need to darken the grass in part

  • You can't see the difference between the sand and the grass

  • but that is ok so I need to keep that as it is

  • I'll dampen the top of the grass

  • and use a darker grass mix of cool yellow and ultramarine

  • The darker mix will merge with the damp grass

  • Use drybrush for the foreground grass

  • It is all to do with tone

  • we can see the difference between the grass and the beach

  • The beach and wall are a little too similar in tone

  • so I'll add some more rocks

  • There is a little ship out here

  • I'll put it in very simply

  • As a simple sketch this is probably ok

  • It could be enhance here and there

  • We could put a little shadow under the eaves

  • and on the front of the chimneys

  • That one is a little too obvious

  • I think, as a sketch

  • that is probably fine.

  • I'll leave it as it is

We have had floods over the last couple of days

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B1 sienna ultramarine grass cobalt burnt green

Painting Holywood in Watercolour by Grahame Booth www.grahamebooth.com

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    TT posted on 2013/12/30
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