I uploaded a blog recently about using colours that I wouldn't ordinarily use in my work, and I chose 3 colours from the SAA range and see how they combined to make a painting. I do this occasionally to expand my understanding of colours and how they work together when mixed.

You will see on my website ( www.thepaintings.co.uk ) that I like to use a wide tonal range and strong colours.

In the 30 or so years that I have been painting, this is the first time I have selected these 3 colours from the broad SAA range of watercolours to create an image, although it’s quite common for me to use a limited palette.

The colours I’ve chosen to use are as follows :  Rose Madder, Quinacridone Gold and Translucent Grey.

The challenge I set myself is to select 3 tubes of paint that I don't normally use, then decide what I might paint with them. Having selected the colours, I realised they are ideal for creating a transparent and colourful sky.

The first thing I did was to wet the whole sheet of watercolour paper with an SAA 1inch flat brush loaded with clean water.


You can see from the picture that I used quite a weak mix of each colour to add horizontal lines across the paper using the same 1inch brush. The top two thirds is sky area, whilst the bottom third will be a large lake and so need to reflect the sky colours. I didn’t mix the colours together, but just allowed them to merge on the wet paper. Then, while the sky was still damp I added some weak Translucent Grey to create the cloud formations, and their reflections in the water area. I didn’t brush the cloud too much, just placed the colour into the area and let it soften and merge.

It’s the first time I’ve used Translucent Grey to paint clouds, but I must say it works rather well.

I needed to add some dark areas now, but also needed to have a little colour and misty light areas. With a strong Translucent Grey I added just the peaks of the distant mountains and then quickly used a wet brush with a very weak Quinacridone Gold in places to create the mist down to the water’s edge. Whilst the mountain slopes were still wet I used the point of the SAA 1inch flat to add a few grey trees along the far shoreline, and applied a little clean water with the same brush underneath the trees to create reflections in the lake.



For the dark foreground areas on either side I used a strong Translucent Grey and added a litlle Rose Madder to warm the grey. The Quinacridoe Gold was used to create the sandy look beneath the darks either side.

I was quite please how vibrant the colours were, and the strength of the dark that I could create. The image appears almost three dimensional.


Now I changed brush to the SAA Rigger and added the trees and posts. Using the side of the rigger I can create quite wide marks, and then working my way outwards from the tree paint some thin ends to the long branches using the tip of the Rigger.

I felt the beach area looked empty and decided to use the same rigger to put in a romantic couple and their dog standing admiring the beautiful view.


The finished painting – hope you like it.

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it and that you feel inspired to try a few different colours from the wide range available from the SAA.

Please visit my SAA Webpage or my website www.thepaintings.co.uk where you will find more details about classes, courses, kits and downloadable painting guides. There are some exiting classes and workshops in wonderful locations coming up.

If you are a member of a group and would like a workshop or demonstration please get in touch..

[email protected]   or Call me on 07572 33 44 77

my website www.thepaintings.co.uk  or why not find me on FaceBook.


Happy Painting !


Bill Lupton

SAA Ambassador and Tutor