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Art Masterclass   

                      November 2010

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

Art masterclass            

From The Artist, 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;   





How to Paint Boats Successfuly


reference photo. St Michael's Mount


You will need:


Saunders Waterford watercolour paper, 300lb NOT surface 11x15in. (28x38cm)

Artists’ watercolour:

  • Cobalt blue
  • Raw sienna
  • Sap green
  • Neutral tint
  • Raw umber
  • Cerulean blue
  • Indian red
  • Viridian
  • Payne’s grey
  • Cadmium red


Kolinksy sable pointed Nos 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 12

Masking fluid


Step 1

step 1

1. Draw the subject carefully. Consider the various components in the subject and make sure that you are happy with the balance. It is unnecessary to draw all the detail in the foreground and distance, as these will be defined during the painting process.
2. Apply masking fluid to places that you want to protect from washes, such as the light areas on the boats and houses in the middle distance (although this should be used sparingly).
3. Leave to dry.



Step 2

step 21. Prepare a wash of cobalt blue. Apply the wash across the top of the paper from left to right. Add water to dilute the wash and continue the application. Before reaching the middle distance, apply neat water left to right and upwards until the wash blends with the very dilute cobalt blue. This is a gradated wash.
2. Prepare a dilute wash of raw sienna and apply to the area below the boats and the wall of the inner harbour on the left of the boats.
3. Use cobalt blue in the foreground to create areas of water remaining after the tide – and to the water in the middle distance.
4. Apply sap green wet in wet with the raw sienna to create seaweed.

Step 3

step 31. When dry, prepare a wash of neutral tint and apply to the central dark areas of the boats. Dilute with water to show the reflections on the left-hand side of each vessel.
2. Paint selective stones of the harbour wall using raw umber, some with the addition of Winsor violet to vary the overall colour values.
3. Add further detail to the individual boats, which includes a mixture of Indian red and raw sienna placed on the hull of the left-hand boat and cerulean blue on the right-hand vessel.
4. Apply a wash of Indian red and raw sienna to the top of the right-hand cabin.
5. Place a uniform wash of neutral tint on the upper edge of the left-hand boat.
6. Add a light wash of Payne’s grey for the shadows.
7. Add a wash of sap green to the foliage in the middle distance, and enhance with viridian in selected areas.
8. Paint a light wash of Indian red onto the roofs.



step 4Step 4

1. Apply more washes to the middle distance to establish detail to the foliage and the houses.
2. Place a wash of dilute raw sienna on the hull of the left-hand vessel.
3. Intensify the shadows of both boats with a further wash of neutral tint.
4. Define the areas within both cabins with a light wash of Payne’s grey.





step 5


Step 5

The beach areas in the middle distance are painted with a light wash of a mix of Indian red and raw sienna. Also the shadow within the cabin area is reinforced with Payne’s grey. A wash of sap green defines the foliage on the shore line of the middle distance.



step 6


Step 6

When these washes are dry, remove the masking fluid.





Step 7

1. Add further detail to the harbour wall on the left and to the area in the middle distance and the foreground. Add detail to the mooring lines and the individual boats, including the rigging and masts, using neutral tint.
2. Paint the fenders (buoys to prevent damage to the side of the boats) on the side of each vessel using a dilute wash of cadmium red. Intensify the strength of the pigment to paint the fenders on the far right.


St Michael's Mount

St Michael’s Mount, watercolour, 11x15in. (28x38cm)


The full article by Tony can be read in the November 2010 issue of Leisure Painter.





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