From Photograph to Painting
with Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer takes the next step From Photograph to Painting with Matthew Palmer
- from sketch to painting

Drawing a pencil outline To begin, I drew a crisp drawing on my watercolour paper using a 2B pencil, based on the original 'rough sketch'. Notice how I have not added any tonal work, just a basic outline of the important objects.

To keep the cottages and wall clean, masking fluid has been added to the inner edge of the cottages and across the wall.

Tip: use soap to coat the bristles of your masking fluid brush - this acts as a barrier and lets the masking fluid wash off much easier.

Masking flid on a pencil drawing Once the masking is dry away we go! Painting a wet-into-wet sky, I wet the sky area first using a large size 20 SAA Gold brush and then added a very pale Natural Yellow to the bottom third of the sky and with a clean brush painted the blue area using my Natural Blue - perfect for a blue sky - note how this blends into the Yellow. My Natural Grey is used to add the shadows to the bottom of the clouds. These are just two or three horizontal lines - the wet paper carries the paint off the brush so you don't need a lot of colour on your brush.

I simply used a tiny ball of kitchen paper to roll out the clouds. This was done above the grey shadows.

starting to use watercolurs on the pencil drawing Once dry I painted in the distant hills and mountains, using the basic watercolour rule: "paler or lighter colours in the distance and stronger, deeper colours in the foreground". The distant hills are pale Natural Grey. Notice three layers to the hills - each one was painted on and then left to dry before the next layer was added. Notice how the colours become warmer towards the foreground - I simply added a touch of Alizarin Crimson to the Natural Grey as I got closer. See how the hills pale off at the bottom - this is to create a misty feeling and is achieved by using a damp (not wet) brush to lift out some highlights while the hills are still damp.

watercolor painting fields and grass I created a similar effect with the bottom left fields, making the green slightly warmer as I painted towards the bottom of the paper. The green is a mixture of Aureolin and my Natural Blue. Once all this was dry I spent a few minutes adding extra detail to the mountains and hills, adding more grey to the right side of the hills. I separated the foreground fields from the distant ones with a colder green by adding more blue to the mixture. This gives a definite effect of the sun shining from the left hand side. This of course needs to be maintained through the whole painting.

To create the mid-ground fields, I used one of my small tree and texture brushes and a straight card edge to create the fields. The green is a mixture of Aureolin and Natural Blue. Notice how the colour of the hedgerows and bushes gets deeper as they get closer. To enhance this effect I added a touch of Burnt Sienna while stippling the paint on the paper - don't have too much paint on the brush.

Tip: paint the hedgerows and fields larger as they get closer.

medium tree and texture brushes to paint trees and cottages
To paint the tree at the back of the cottages I used one of my medium tree and texture brushes and a mix of Burnt Sienna and my Natural Grey (mixing the colour with the brush ensured I mixed enough paint for the task). Again just stipple the paint on the paper, think of the tree shape and add more Natural Grey as you drop lower.

I used my little fingernail to scratch out some tree branches. If this doesn't work for you, allow the paint to dry a touch more and try again.

watercolurs - painting trees

The large trees were painted using a medium no. 6 brush and a rigger or detailer for the trunk and branches with a dark mixture of Natural Grey and Burnt Sienna.

Study the photograph and notice the direction of the branches and how they fall. My small tree and texture brush is perfect for the foliage, using a strong mixture of Aureolin and Natural Blue - just tap, tap the foliage on. Again use the photograph for reference.

painting shadows using watercolour
The next job was to paint the building and its shadows using the no. 6 brush. Remember the light is shining from the left, so the right side of the buildings will be slightly darker. My Natural Grey is perfect for this task, the colour is a unique mix of all three primary colours, giving you a perfect shadow colour. First I removed the masking fluid.

Tip: notice the shadow under the eaves - this is blended down with a damp brush.

The small building on the left is not white, so have a go at mixing up a stone colour. I used my Natural Yellow for this.

I finished off this section by using the medium tree and texture brush to paint the foreground trees and bushes using a deep green.

using the medium tree and texture brush to paint the foreground trees and bushes using a deep green.

As always detail is the key and it's the finishing touches to an area that really make a painting come alive! Notice I have added a lot of detail to the open fields on the right. This is because the composition of the scene draws people across to this area and has wonderful depth.

To finish off the painting I added a lot of detail to the house - using tones of Natural Grey I painted the windows and doorways, and the rooftops with lines for tiles to complete it. The birds are Natural Grey with a touch of Alizarin Crimson, this colour was also used for painting the wall. Natural Grey is used for adding some shadows to the wall.

I sprinkled some household salt on the wall, while the paint was still damp - once dry I just brushed away the salt to give a wonderful texture effect.

Notice how the cottages really stand out, this is because the surrounding trees are nice and dark.

Tip: walk away from your work regularly - when you re-visit it you will notice things you can do to improve the scene.

Matthew is available for art group demonstrations.
Tel: 01623 742567 Email: info@mattartist.co.uk

All Matthew's workshops are listed at www.mattartist.co.uk


From Photograph to Painting
with Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer

Matthew Palmer takes the next step From Photograph to Painting with Matthew Palmer
- from sketch to painting

Drawing a pencil outline To begin, I drew a crisp drawing on my watercolour paper using a 2B pencil, based on the original 'rough sketch'. Notice how I have not added any tonal work, just a basic outline of the important objects.

To keep the cottages and wall clean, masking fluid has been added to the inner edge of the cottages and across the wall.

Tip: use soap to coat the bristles of your masking fluid brush - this acts as a barrier and lets the masking fluid wash off much easier.

Masking flid on a pencil drawing Once the masking is dry away we go! Painting a wet-into-wet sky, I wet the sky area first using a large size 20 SAA Gold brush and then added a very pale Natural Yellow to the bottom third of the sky and with a clean brush painted the blue area using my Natural Blue - perfect for a blue sky - note how this blends into the Yellow. My Natural Grey is used to add the shadows to the bottom of the clouds. These are just two or three horizontal lines - the wet paper carries the paint off the brush so you don't need a lot of colour on your brush.

 

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