A Passion for Watercolour Painting
with Dermot Cavanagh
Dermot Cavanagh offers helpful advice on mixing the perfect colours for this tranquil landscape
I've been addicted to painting for as long as I can remember and I'm lucky that I've been able to turn my passion into a successful career. I've painted in all mediums and most subjects, written books and produced videos and made 74 BBC TV programmes about teaching others to paint, and after forty years of organising workshops, courses and painting holidays I still love to paint.
If you're reading this then you must have caught the same painting bug I have, and understand how I feel. If you have taken up painting recently and feel a bit intimidated... don't! If you've got the interest and a desire to paint, then you're well on your way, the rest you can easily learn.
Last July I was invited by the SAA to demonstrate at 'It's all about Art' in Islington, I have no doubt that the success of the event was due to the number of excellent demonstrators and the quality of the demonstrations. I was asked to perform seven 45 minute painting demos on each of the three days, no pressure! It was the first time I'd ever tried anything so intense. But I firmly believe that the knack of being a good demonstrator is not so much in showing how good a painter you are but in being a great teacher and passing on your techniques clearly and simply.
The SAA have kindly asked me back again so knowing what to expect I have planned a series of simple but effective demos, all of which can be done in about 30 minutes, which leaves ample time for questions and answers after each session. To give you a taste and flavour of these one is featured here. Why not have a go and I look forward to seeing you at 'It's all about Art'.
|Where accurate product matches are not possible we have selected the closest match|
*** = lots of colour
** = medium amount
* = small amount
Premix three sky washes:
1. Mid-bodied CB *** and Winsor Blue**
2. Dilute LR*
3. Full-bodied CB*** and NT**
After wetting the paper with water apply wash 2 in the lower part of the sky letting it bleed into the wet surface (don't worry if you paint over the mountains but stay clear of the house). Then apply wash 1 starting in the top corners and then closing off the centre while creating irregular shapes of negative light areas. While the sky is still damp bleed in the thicker darker wash 3, creating cloud shapes where required. Finally dry off the 3/4" flat and blend and soften some of the cloud edges.
While waiting for the sky to dry use a
No.8 to mix three mountain washes:
1. Dilute blue/grey wash of FU** and LR*
2. A mid-bodied light green wash of WY*** and WD*
3. A full-bodied wash of FU*** and LR**
Pre-wet the mountain area with water then apply wash 1 over the entire area working quickly and cutting around the house - while this is wet bleed in wash 2 from about 2/3 the way up the mountain pulling in the direction of the fall, note that this changes as you go. While all is still wet apply wash 3 sparingly picking out the summit and pulling slightly along the rim and then down to indicate contours. Speed is of the essence as all washes must be completed before any are dry. Drying the brush, blend and soften with directional strokes. Finally add WY** to wash 3 and bleed a dark tree line along the bottom edge of the mountains.
For the foreground grass using the
No. 8, pre-mix three washes:
1. Mid-bodied WY*** and WB*
2. Mid-bodied LR**
3. Full-bodied WY*** and FU***
Paint each area independently by prewetting the area then bleeding in the light green wash 1 before sparingly feeding in some wash 2 and finally dibbling in dark green wash 3 especially along the edges where the grass meets the rocks, always noting the direction of the brush strokes.
For the wet sand and sea use a No. 8 to pre-mix two washes of similar strength
1. Mid-bodied CB** and NT*
2. RS** and LR*
Apply wash 1 to dry paper starting just below the mountain using horizontal strokes. Try to leave some white flecks between the strokes to represent waves. When you get to the gap between the rocks switch to the 3/4" flat and apply some wash 2 leaving spaces into which you can apply wash 1, then blend and soften slightly using horizontal strokes.
Next paint the house. All washes are mixed and applied with a No.5.
For the roof mix two mid-bodied washes:
1. CB** and AC*
2. and bleeding in a little WY** and FU* at the bottom to indicate moss and texture
For the door and rim of the flat roofs, use mid-bodied LR** and WR**. The terracotta ridge tiles and the chimney pot are mid-bodied LR**.
Create shadows from a dilute FU** and LR* and the window pane washes are made by making this wash full-bodied FU*** and LR**. The later wash is also used for the dark emphasising lines on the house, applied with the rigger.
To paint the rocks pre-mix with the
No. 8 two washes:
1. Mid-bodied LR** and NT*
2. Full-bodied LR*** and NT**
Only paint one section of rocks at a time. Apply wash 1 quickly and then immediately bleed wash 2 lavishly into it but don't create a puddle. Then use a plastic credit card to scrape off some of the washes starting at the top of the rocks and pulling in the direction of the fall to create texture and contours. The amount of pressure you apply to the card and the area of the card that is in contact with the paper will determine how much of the colour is scratched back. When all the rocks have been treated in this way use some of the darker washes from your palette to indicate reflections on the water and wet sand in the foreground e.g. dark blue/grey, green and brown.
Lots of other online video tutorials are available on Dermot's website along with details of his classes, painting holidays and demonstrations. Visit www.awashontheweb.com
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