"Towards Kenbane"

"Towards Kenbane"
Spectacular Irish coastline on a stormy day

Sunday 11 August 2013


"EBB and FLOW" - part II

Due to 'dogs', 'shopping' and just plain 'sitting', I didn't get round to painting yesterday BUT, today is another day...

Further layers and glazes have been laid down in the sea area, using watery mixes of Phthalo Blue and Sap Green.  You will notice that the brush marks are made in the direction of the water - this starts to give the painting the 'movement' that is so important.

This picture starts to show more detail as the layers are built up and will be easier to see as the work progresses:

I also softened some edges with a 'thirsty' brush as well as damp cotton wool [pop the cotton wool into clean water and make sure as much water as possible is squeezed out, otherwise you risk a 'bloom'].  The sea area in the middle has also been underpainted with a watery Verditer Blue and Phthalo Blue mix.

The composition still looks somewhat unbalanced but, as the other rocks below the surface start to appear, things will balance out to ultimately 'frame' the focal point.

The first glaze has also been added on top of the under painting, over some of the rocks.  I used a slightly stronger mix of Indigo and Sap Green and, while the paint was still wet, I dropped in some Burnt Umber mixed with Permanent Rose.  Once the 'shine' left the surface [look at it against the light], I scraped into the paint with a palette knife to start indicating the 'form' of the rocks.  If you do this too soon, the paint will simply creep back.

I have included the next two close up pictures to show the brush strokes in a little more detail.  You can also see the areas which were softened with the damp cotton wool...

TIP:  Damp cotton wool is the best 'tool' to soften edges.  If you do happen to end up with a 'bloom' [like the small one on the rock in the pic above], simply wait for it to dry completely, then soften the hard edges again... ta-da!

"SEA PINKS" - part II:

The rock surface has been glazed again with Indigo, keeping 'rock shapes' in mind.  Again, while the paint was still wet, I dropped in some stronger mixes of Yellow Ochre and Winsor Yellow to indicate where the lichen is growing.  I can see that some of these lichens are a creamy/white colour, so, rather than try and mask them out, I used [and will use again] a 'dry brush' technique.  That way when I lay in subsequent glazes, I can save some of these textured areas.

By the way, I forgot to mention that the paper I am using is 300lb Saunders Waterford NOT.  Paper is a personal choice and very much depends upon your painting style preferences - this is my 'paper of choice' [sometimes I use ROUGH] plus, I hate fiddling around stretching paper.

My brand choices of watercolour paint are Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, Sennelier and, occasionally, M.Graham & Co.;  all are artists' quality.

Friday 9 August 2013


I have finally put brush to paper and started not one but two new watercolours. So, while the paint is drying, I decided it would be a good time to update the Blog and start sharing the painting process.

 PAINTING I "Ebb and Flow"

 This first painting is a SEASCAPE and this is the reference photo I am working with.

You will notice that the painting isn't exactly like the photo - this is because, since I know this area of the coastline so well, I can carry a lot in my head. I have also used some of that magic 'artistic license' to pick out and move around parts of the scene!

 This second pic shows Stage One of the painting process and goes some way to explain how I go about it.

I used a 2B pencil to lightly draw out a few of the key shapes [use a light touch so you do not mark the paper] and then applied a pale 'undercoat'. This was a very watery mixture of Verditer Blue for the sky, then adding Phthalo Blue and Indigo to this, I used a 'hit and miss' technique over the shadow areas of the water. As you will see [or not!], the wash has dried so pale that it is almost impossible to see in the pic!  This is because it is only the first of many glazes which will be added as the painting progresses and will actually work as one of the varied subtle colours of the deeper water and the foam.... keep watching and you will see what I mean!

The rocks were laid down with a watery Yellow Ochre. The reason I chose this as the underpainting is because there is an 'ochrey' tone shining through some of the rocks in this area.  Again, local knowledge and keen observation are key.  I haven't used any masking fluid by the way, although you can if you find that easier.

 PAINTING II "Sea Pinks"

 This second painting is taken from the same area and is of our pretty native flowers, 'Sea Pinks', which bloom during the early summer. The flowers are set against the beautiful grey blue local rocks and are interspersed with bright yellow litchens.

 In order to permit free 'washes' without having to fiddle around small areas, I used masking fluid [I personally like Pebeo Drawing Gum, applied with the tip of a plastic palette knife] to preserve the flowers, stems, grasses and a few other light marks on the rocks. The first pale wash is purely very watery Indigo Blue, and, as the 'shine' leaves the wet paint, I can safely drop in a thicker mix of the same colour to start adding depth.

Tip: do NOT shake your masking fluid before using - you will only add 'bubbles' to your painting surface which will ultimately burst, leaving a weird round masked mark once it's removed.

Both paintings have been left to dry completely overnight. Tomorrow I will continue on both and will post progress.