Good tip! To save some scrolling push the F11 key, a much better view of the page.
Materials used: French Ultramarine, Light Red, Naples Yellow, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Umber, Prussian Blue and Cadmium Yellow.
The Watercolour paper I used here is Schut Noblesse 140lb not surface. The paper size is 14×10 inches and it has been stretched onto a ply board.
It is unfortunate that Schut Noblesse seems to be no longer available, I would now use Arches 140lb not surface.
I have painted this picture for a couple of reasons first is because it is so remote and yet not five miles from the nearest town, it is a fantastic part of Mid Wales that my wife and I love very much. It is a place that lends itself to the artist very much.
First of all I apply some masking fluid to the cottage then I sort of flick my brush loaded with masking fluid so that it lands on the paper randomly. I will leave this until the painting is finished, this then leaves the selected areas of the painting pure white.
Then when the masking fluid is dry I wet the whole sheet of paper and as the water settles in I drop weak mixtures of Naples Yellow and Cobalt Blue into the center and gently work the colour away to the sides of the sketch adding a little Light Red to the blue as I reach the edges. Just drop this colour in gently so as to avoid the pigment going ‘muddy’.
This is the point where I say the kettle needs boiling because to go on would start to make ‘muddy’ colours, my wife says any excuse will do! but the paper needs to be left to dry now or the pigment of the paint will start to go muddy. Dirty tide marks can also form which I hate because they look awful.
Now everything is dry I can start to add some stronger colour to the outside of the painting. This will get darker as I reach the edges of the sketch.
The colour I choose for this is Naples Yellow, I feel the painting just needs a little more colour. I have decided that the sky is okay so I shall leave it alone.
I now want some warmth so I shall use a wash of Light Red and French Ultramarine with just a small amount of Burnt Umber added to increase the warmth. As the paper is almost dry I drop some Light Red into the field, and I think the painting needs a tiny amount of stronger yellow. I now change my mind and decide that the sky is in need of more colour so to do this I rewet the central area and gently drop some strong Naples Yellow on to the paper, I then leave it to dry.
Once dry I now re-wet all of the paper, with the exception of the sky and I apply a wash of Prussian Blue. Although it is a blue pigment it makes a nice cool green when mixed with a touch of yellow, any yellow is fine but Cadmium Yellow mixes well.
On its own Prussian Blue is nice pale greeny blue colour, add Burnt Umber to it and it then takes on a nice warm green.
Because I am looking down and there is no immediate detail to guide me it is a little difficult to gauge distance, paintings tend to work better if there is something close at hand ie: a tree, building, ditch, hedge, whatever, it gives a sense of distance to the composition. So I am going to focus any detail that there is into the center of the painting.
Now at this point of the painting I need a to give the depth and contrast a little more thought. I begin by adding some strength to the dark parts of the painting, the hedge lines and the fences need a bit of lifting as well because I could finish up with a very flat picture.
I mix some Prussian Blue with some Light Red being careful not to overdo the water, I then apply the resulting mix to the stronger parts of the painting. As that begins to dry I add some Burnt Umber to the blue and red mix to make it darker, now I use even less water to avoid the awful tide marks that I mentioned earlier. When that has dried I now rub off some of the speckles of masking fluid and apply a weak wash of Cadmium Yellow to the main areas.
I take care not to rub the masking fluid off the fences because I want to keep some of them a nice clean white as this will enable me to create a strong contrast. In fact I will do the dark parts now so that the paint will be dry when I come to rub the masking fluid off.
At this point I think the house needs to be established with some very careful brush strokes I highlight the edge of the roof and the gable end, the windows done I think the whole painting is still to weak so when everything is dry I shall add strong colour to all of it.
OK lets get and finish it, I mix a decent size wash using Light Red and Cadmium Yellow. I then wet all of the paper including the sky the way I do this without spoiling the painting is to hold the painting over the sink or take it outside, then I pour a glass of clean water over it.
Once the excess water has run off I drop my colour mixture into various parts of the scene. As that settles I add more stronger colour trying to remind myself that it will dry lighter than it looks when it is wet.
When all of this is dry I rub off the remaining masking fluid and add slight shadow to the speckles this is to give an impression of loose stones. The fence now needs a bit of definition, again with a dark mix of the colour I add some shadow. It is time now to let the whole painting dry so that I can give the old house some detail.
Because I have left the house until now I can add highlights without overdoing it. I feel the painting needs leaving now or else it could well get spoiled, it is so easy to ‘over-paint’ and you finish up with a mess.
The thing to notice here is that I have created a painting that is very rich with colour and depth but because I have painted the house as it is, the eye of the viewer is drawn in towards the center. I am happy with the result so I will say goodbye.
The thing to remember now is that you began with a piece of white paper, you now have a work of art, you did it and if it’s looked after it will last longer than you! That’s a thought isn’t it.