Cromford Canal with Matthew Palmer
Join Matthew Palmer on the banks of the Cromford Canal, Derbyshire
I hope you are tempted to try your hand at painting this scene and look forward to seeing the results.
|SAA Gold Brushes:||SAA Artists' Watercolours:
|All available from SAA Home Shop at members' prices: www.saa.co.uk|
Do a simple outline sketch and add masking fluid to the building, the edge of the large tree and across the horizon line.
Tip: use older brushes or the SAA masking fluid brush set, to prevent the fluid spoiling expensive brushes. I use soap to coat the brush hair first, this acts as a barrier.
While the masking fluid is drying mix up the following washes:
- Natural Blue for a realistic sky
- a pale, watery Natural Yellow for the base of the sky
- a pale watery Natural Grey for the top of the distant trees
- a dark green mixed from 20% Lemon Yellow and 80% Natural Blue, use plenty of water
- a bright green mixed from 50% Lemon Yellow and 50% Natural Blue
- Natural Grey for the misty tree trunks and branches
To start painting, wet the top part of the paper, down to the masking fluid, using the size 14 brush and painting in horizontal strokes, then apply the pale Natural Yellow first in the lower half of the sky, followed by the Natural Blue from the top, working down to meet the Pale Yellow. The trick is to make these colours blend together, creating a gradient sky. At this stage, while it is still wet you could use a piece of kitchen roll to roll out a few clouds.
When dry, use the medium Tree and Texture brush for the distant trees. Note how the trees are grey in the distance, so start with the pale watery grey mixture. Then move into the dark green and finish at the bottom with the bright green.
Tip: when using the Tree and Texture brushes, stipple the paint on the brush by 'bashing' it in the palette then lightly dab the excess paint off on tissue and gentle stipple or tap the paint onto your painting.
Once all the background is dry, using a darker shade of brown and grey, paint in the mid ground trees (a mixture of Natural Grey and Burnt Sienna). Take your time to create layers and layers of different height trees.
Tip: always paint tree trunks and branches in the direction they grow.
Using the smallest Tree and Texture brush, gently stipple a pale mix of 80% Burnt Sienna and 20% Natural Grey, applying gentle pressure to paint in the tree tops and a few bushes, giving extra layers and creating more depth to the scene.
Tip: try to paint plenty of dark colours around the building to help it stand out.
To add detail to the building start with a pale Natural Grey and your size 6 brush to paint the shadow / darker side of the building. Natural Grey is my own pre-mixed shadow colour, Paynes Grey will not have the same effect here.
Take your time adding lots of detail to the building.
Tip: achieve the effect of open doors by painting the top and bottom of the opening darker and blending the watercolour away with a damp brush.
Paint the grassy banking with two strong mixes and a size 6 brush:
Start with the water's edge first, using the darker green and fill the rest of the areas with the bright green.
Use the small Tree and Texture brush to lightly stroke in a few blades of grass - I used a card 'mask' to give a clean edge.
You can add dry brush and darker greens to give texture and depth to the grass.
To paint the water, you are actually painting the reflections because water is transparent.
You should have the colours already in your palette:
Begin by wetting the water area, after all water should be wet!
Paint the sky reflection first, using the size 14 brush and begin from the bottom of the paper, working upwards in horizontal strokes. Try to get this to fade to nothing.
While the paper is still wet, paint in some green, again using horizontal brush strokes at the furthest point of the water and at the front right.
Again, while the paper is still wet, use a smaller brush to paint the building reflection in the Natural Yellow. Loosely try to mirror the building, painting it in the same way you did the building itself, then change to Natural Grey for the shadow side and the doors.
Tip: if the paper is drying on you don't worry, dry it off 100% then re-wet the area. The Fontaine watercolour paper is great at handling this.
Complete this stage by adding random horizontal ripples with Natural Grey to add some movement to your water then leave to dry.
The final stage is my favourite - I love painting trees and adding all the detail, this is when the painting comes alive.
The green for the two large trees is:
Use the large Tree and Texture brush to mix up a lot of this strong mixture, tap off the excess paint from the brush and gently tap or stipple the flat part of the brush onto the painting.
As always, take your time. Keep looking back at the shape of the tree as its composition is everything. Try to blend this into the area where the masking fluid was. I used a damp size 6 brush to do this, just gently blending the paint with a touch of water.
Once this first coat is dry, use the small Tree and Texture brush to add shadows to the tree - note the depth this creates. Use the shadow colour and lightly tap a random wiggly line, then clean the brush in water, and just using it damp very gently tap the shadow green away, moving the brush upwards as you go.
Finally a few finishing touches:
- stipple some neat Lemon Yellow over the large trees for extra detail
- add dark branches to the tree with a Burnt Sienna and Natural Grey mix
- use the Opaque White with a rigger brush to give light to the water, a few ripples and sparkle
- oh and don't forget the birds
For details of Matthew's watercolour workshops visit www.mattartist.co.uk or call 01623 472567
From Photograph to Painting with Matthew Palmer
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Cromford Canal with Matthew Palmer
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