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Planning Retirement Online

Leisure Painter       February 2006

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



Let's Start with Art

This month:


On the marshes


Stage 1

Using ink, map out the main forms with dots and dashes at the key points. The whole purpose of this initial stage is to place your composition as accurately as as possible on the paper.



                                          Step 1

TIP: The first marks you make can determine whether the process is going to be a pleasure or an ordeal, so get the horizon at the right heightand the proportions of the large forms correct by measuring one against the other.

Stage 2

Once you are confident that all the key forms are in the right place, you can start to paint. (I refer to this stage as painting rather than drawing, because you are beginning to emphasise lines and shade in areas, rather than just outlining.)



                  Step 2


Remember to use form lines where you are indicating the solidity of your subject. You will see some direction lines in the foreground marshes to help point towards the centre of interest. Work from left to right if you are right-handed to avoid smudging the wet ink. When finished, leave to dry.

TIP: You will notice that I have added a tree above the left-hand building where I smudged the roof. (I wish I took the advice I give!). Unless an accident happens in the sky it is usually possible with a bit of imagination to overcome minor ink smears.


Stage 3

Starting out with the sky, wash a warm grey (ultramarine blue and light red – the mixture won’t look grey until it is diluted with water) in the central area working towards the light. Then quickly drop very dilute raw sienna in the upper left and equally dilute light red nearer the horizon. Paint over the trees but around the buildings. (Don’t use Prussian blue in the sky.)









Step 3

The marshes are a flush of raw sienna and Prussian blue. Before that dries add a wash of grey, again made from ultramarine blue and light red, for the wet mud. This surface reflects the sky. The darker greens in the trees came from Prussian blue, raw sienna and a touch of burnt umber. The cabin is dilute burnt umber and the shadows on the walls ultramarine and light red.

TIP: The beauty of using ink is that you can carry on painting before a wash has necessarily dried because the ink work will always assert itself through the watercolour to make the division between two adjacent passages.


Stage 4

In the final stage, add combinations of light red and burnt umber to the roofs and chimney. The boat’s hull is ultramarine and burnt umber with a dash of light red for the antifouling along the bottom.









Step 4


TIP: Remember, the aim is to touch the paper just once to deliver the paint to the surface. However, I don’t always achieve this aim so, on this occasion, I had to do a little over-painting in the mud. I think I have got away with it and not lost any of the freshness that is so important.

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