Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Art Masterclass - 86


November 2013


From The Leisure Painter, the monthly magazine for amateur and semi-professional painters, giving practical instruction in painting and drawing in watercolour, pastels and oils, as well as news of art events, exhibitions and competitions open to leisure artists; to Paint Autumn Landscapes in Watercolour

Wendy Jelbert - Posted on 02 Oct 2013

During the autumn months, views of the riverside simply encompass the essence of this colourful season. It is an artist’s dream: an area of water edged in gold with glowing splashes of scarlet, ochres, vivid yellows, oranges and bronzes.
In early autumn, the river edges are adorned with an abundance of nuts, fruits and seeds; these are a real challenge to the painter, and now is the time to produce small informative sketches of hidden corners or single features (such as Spider's Web 2, right), in the hope they will prove valuable for adding to your future paintings.

This watercolour, Autumn Glory (above), was painted from sketches, colour notes and a photograph. It captures all the techniques that are needed to portray this season so beautifully!

Care was needed to contrast bright and radiant colours, so necessary for enhancing their differences, either with the contrasts in the backgrounds or in the nearby areas. Here I used the bright yellow sunlit leaves against the blue-violet background trees, partly in the distance and partly reflected in the water below.

By using the darkest tone against the lightest area I created a sense of drama, and gave the feeling of intense light, which is always found on water. If needs be, the painter must overemphasise this point so that it gives life to the whole event.

Always add some variation to the texturing of the trees, plants and grasses found on your water banks. Use dots and dashes, varying thicknesses, and arched and tapering brushstrokes. If you keep using the same routine, the painting will be dull. Here, the opposites of the colour are in full play: reds near green, violet against yellows,


This was a special soft and gentle morning, with the September sun rising in a misty haze among the spikey rushes and grasses.


You will need:

  • Watercolour paper (25.5x30.5cm)
  • Watercolour
  • Naples yellow
  • Cobalt blue
  • Burnt sienna
  • Violet
  • Miscellaneous
  • Masking fluid
  • Fine sepia waterproof pen for the reed detail

    Step 1

    1. Draw the main features of the sun shape, the horizon line, grasses and reeds in pencil. Draw a circle of masking fluid for the sun’s sphere and reflection, and a few reeds in the front.
    2. Paint an underwash of pale Naples yellow, covering the river behind the reeds and into the sky. Intensify the yellow around the sun, and diffuse the edges into the surrounding area.


    Step 2

    1. Re-wash the whole sky and distance and add distant trees and reflections in a mixture of cobalt and touches of sienna.
    2. Paint pale blue and violet reeds for the middle distance and foreground.


    Step 3

    The finished painting: Morning Glory, watercolour, (25.5x30.5cm)

    1. Lift off the masking fluid and slightly diffuse the edges with a tissue that has been dipped in water.
    2. Lift off a light line across the horizon, defining the distant riverbank.
    3. Using a mixture of cobalt, sienna and violet, paint carefully an assortment of grasses and reeds in the foreground and middle distance.
    4. Detail several plants with the sepia pen to complete the picture.

    Wendy Jelbert
    Wendy’s courses, foreign trips, exhibitions, brushes and DVDs are all featured on her website. Visit or telephone 01794 518211

    This step-by-step demonstration is an extract taken from the full feature by Wendy, which can be found in the November 2013 issue of Leisure Painter



      Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

      Subscribe to our free monthly email newsletters for the latest articles, offers and events. You can unsubscribe at any time should you want to.


    Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this


    Tell us your hobby experiences

    Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

    Then visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and create a new topic or add your views to an existing one. 

    feeling Good

    Feeling Good

    The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

    It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

    Looking to the future

    Looking to the future

    Tell us about what you would like to see here on in the future or any changes you would like to see. Just email

    Latest articles

    To view indexes to previous articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top right of the page.
    Back to Laterlife Today

    Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


    Advertise on