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Leisure Painter         

June 2007

Each month presents a feature from either The Artist or its sister publication, Leisure Painter.        

Leisure Painter inspires, guides and encourages beginners and improvers with step-by-step instruction, as well as general advice on ways to develop and progress. Experienced and popular tutors set projects, describe their own working methods and offer helpful tips and ideas







Paint a sunny June landscape of farm buildings in Kent with Ray Campbell Smith






Compositional balance is helped here by placing the group of farm buildings on the left, while most of the clouds are positioned towards the right, assisted by the two trees below.





As similar types of cloud are normally at similar altitudes, perspective indicates that the more distant ones will appear lower in the sky and, of course, smaller. We must avoid making them too similar in shape or too regularly spaced and so will sketch them with some variety.


Step 1

1. Transfer the main lines of your preliminary sketch to a sheet of watercolour paper. Try to draw with a small brush and yellow ochre acrylic paint rather than a pencil, as the graphite tends to sully slightly the lighter acrylic colours.

2. Paint the sky.

3. When the sky is dry, you may need to repaint some of the construction lines that have been partly covered by the lower sky paint.


Step 2

1. Begin blocking in the main features of the subject using mixtures of alizarin crimson and cadmium yellow for the rich colours of the Wealden roof tiles and the brickwork, adding ultramarine and a little more crimson for the shadows.




2. Paint the distant downs in ultramarine and a little alizarin crimson, while the grassy foreground is yellow ochre with just a touch of phthalo green.

3. Paint the trees in yellow ochre and phthalo green, with ultramarine added for the shadowed areas. (For one of the trees and the hedge I used the same blend plus a little more yellow ochre.)

4. Use yellow ochre, a little alizarin crimson and a touch of ultramarine for the tree on the left.

5. Add a little texturing and broken shadows for the trees and the grass


Step 3

1. Increase still further the amount of texturing, varying a little the mixtures already prepared, paying particular attention to the roofs and walls of the farm buildings.





2. Add a few details such as the farm gate and the wind vanes of the oast cowls.

3. Use a little yellow ochre with a touch of phthalo green for the lower courses of the roof tiles to suggest moss and algae.


Step 4

All that remains now is the farm pond. It is always a good plan to leave foreground water until last so that you know exactly what is being reflected. As the subject is fairly complex, paint soft-edged reflections rather than the hard edged, mirror image variety.




1. Prepare liquid washes of the colours of the reflections, which should be rather paler than the objects above.

2. Moisten the whole of the pond surface with clean water and apply the prepared washes with vertical strokes of a large brush, allowing them to blend softly together.



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