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BIG BLUE SKY A CONTEMPORARY ATTITUDE Craig Penny Contemporary Watercolour & Acrylics Artist
WORDS AND PHOTOS: Glen - Painting Holidays Asia
Color, and an approach that is as expressive as it is representational are key ingredients in Craig’s award winning paintings and watercolours. An unconventional approach that is both direct and effective have students clamouring for spaces in Craig’s classes and workshops both at home and overseas.
Birdsville Pub in outback Australia has a rugged charm captured in the strong shadows and afternoon light (above) enhanced by Craig’s use of a limited palette of colors. With the aid of a good eye for color Craig captures these outback scenes effortlessly it seems using his preferred mediums of acrylics or watercolour.
Outback Australia’s expanse of blue skies and warm days are a joy and Craig’s paintings a tribute to his skill in capturing these vistas.
In our last overseas workshop holiday Craig demonstrated in his Master class just how versatile and immediate you can be with acrylics and watercolours by creating a wonderful painting of a local market in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Craig takes Painting Holidays to Angkor Wat temples and this area is full of scenery worthy of the brush.
“Angkor Wat temples are such a surprise and joy I can hardly wait to go back...” We are going back to explore more of Angkor Wat in November 2013 and January and July 2014. You should consider joining us . The resort style boutique accommodation like The RiverGarden hotel in Siem Reap has lush tropical gardens and is a short walk to the township, local villages and so much more. Join us for a holiday you won’t forget! Craig is represented by galleries throughout Australia, Singapore and the USA.
10 days from 990GBP*
$1550 USD *Twin share
Accommodation in Boutique Resort style Hotels and Resorts. Single Suppliments, Upgrade options and EARLY BIRD Discounts are available.
Visit Craig’s website at
Let’s Paint! The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd. Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee House, London SW3 3TQ Telephone: (020) 7349 3700 Fax: (020) 7349 3701 www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk
We hope you enjoy this fourth instalment of our Let’s Paint! series. A trio of top UK artists have put together three easyto-follow painting demonstrations on summery subjects. Let’s Paint! is designed to help you improve your confidence and skill. So, whether you are at the start of your artistic journey or looking for a refresher, we hope there will be plenty to learn from it. Enjoy!
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WITH THANKS TO
Richard Bolton, Rob Dudley, Julia McDonald and Janet Whittle
MAIN COVER IMAGE
Summer Afternoon by Richard Bolton
4 HOW TO PAINT… A RUSTIC WINDOW 8 HOW TO PAINT… SUMMER FLOWERS 12 HOW TO PAINT… A SUNNY AFTERNOON
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how to paint… a rustic window
How to paint…
A Rustic Window o b Du d l ey By R
Watercolour has been my preferred medium for as long as I have been painting. I really enjoy what it can do – the way it moves, mixes and settles, it is the most exciting of mediums to work with. Likewise, it is the rolling landscapes of Devon, the estuaries at low tide and the wide-open seascapes that are my preferred subjects and I find them equally exciting. Recently, however, I have been focussing my attention not on the large but on the small; the more intimate fragments of landscape, both natural and manmade, that I come across while out on my drawing trips. Barns and old farmyards provide a rich source of subject matter and, with the variety of textures and materials they present, a wonderful opportunity to develop a series of watercolour paintings that give full rein to a range of watercolour techniques.
Wet into wet, wet on dry, drybrush, flicks and masking are all methods employed to capture the textures found on my travels. The rich variation in the textures of stone, brick and flaky paintwork offer a wealth of interest to the painter and can create interest within paintings. The further I develop this series, the more I’ve realised that the process of watercolour is as important as the subject matter itself. So although the paintings are figurative, I don’t want them to become so realistic that they lose the beauty of what they are – namely, studies in what watercolour effects can achieve for the artist.
You will need
• Paper Stretched Bockingford 140lb NOT watercolour paper • Watercolour paints Permanent Rose, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Red, Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow, Green Gold, Winsor Green (Blue Shade), Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Transparent Oxide Brown, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna and Ivory Black • Brushes Size 4 wash brush, size 4 and 10 round brushes, a cheap stencil brush (available from DIY stores) • Masking fluid • 2B pencil • Sketching paper • Colour shaper • Kitchen roll
After reviewing the information gathered from my reference drawings and photographs, make some small thumbnail sketches to decide on composition and tone. Draw up your composition on the stretched paper using a 2B pencil. Although the drawing is important at this stage and allows you to place key features, as the painting grows the drawing becomes less important, allowing for the paint effects to indicate the direction the painting will take. With masking fluid, brush some of the window frame and splatter between some of the larger stones.
HOW TO PAINT… A RUSTIC WINDOW
With a mix of Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Raw Sienna, wash in a base colour. Vary the mix by adding more of each colour to the wash. Keep the colours pale, as these will eventually indicate the mortar between the stones. Watch how the colours mix, merge and granulate – this will all add to the eventual texture of the painting. Keep the board flat.
Using a slightly stronger mix of the same colours with the addition of Ivory Black, paint in the under wash to the main stonework of the barn. Add further wet into wet washes once the first wash is dry – this will increase the depth of colour and add texture. Be careful not to go in with the colours too strongly or too soon, as this may result in a flat, lifeless painting.
To increase the range of textures on the mortar, add a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna with a stencil brush. The paint mix will need to be thick for the effect to work; too thin and the marks will run together. Allow to dry. Add water to the mix and add some splatters to the gaps between the stones, protecting the window with scrap paper if necessary.
Indicate the direction of light by emphasising the shadow side of the stones with a darkertoned version of the same colour
Continue to build up the texture on the stonework with the Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna mix, this time using the drybrush technique. Remove any excess water with some kitchen roll and test the stroke first on a rough scrap of watercolour paper. Fade out the stonework in the corners of the composition – this focuses more attention toward the centre of interest. Vary the direction of brushstrokes to indicate the cut of the stone.
Mix Permanent Rose, Cobalt Red and Cadmium Red together to paint in the brickwork. Once again, you can alter the amounts of each colour in the wash to add variations in colour and tone. This variety will help to add interest to the finished painting.
HOW TO PAINT… A RUSTIC WINDOW
If you have to paint a detailed area, develop it all in stages. Avoid completing one part at a time, otherwise it can appear disjointed
Suggest the form of the bricks by adding shadows with a mixture of Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Rose and a touch of Ivory Black. Continue to work up the stonework with the Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna mix. Vary the tones and colour as before. It is best to develop the stonework as the painting progresses rather than at one particular stage. That way you can gauge how the painting is developing and avoid any overworking.
Treat each pane of glass in the window separately, with a wash of Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Permanent Rose applied to the upper panes. Allow to dry. Add a loose depiction of reflected trees and other foliage with a mixture of Green Gold, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Blue. With that wash still damp, drop in Lemon Yellow with a touch of Winsor Green (Blue Shade) and let it flow into the other colours. Allow to dry.
Use the size 4 round brush and a mix of Cobalt Blue and Permanent Rose with a little Transparent Oxide Brown to wash in some of the window frame. This will act as an ‘under wash’, allowing for further watercolour effects to be applied on top to create variations in surface textures. As before, vary tone and colour by altering the amounts of each colour.
Wash a mix of Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Rose and Ivory Black over the lower panes. When dry, paint in the frames that can be seen through the barn window. Depicting objects in the interior can help to add depth to the painting. Using the dark window mix from step 10, paint around the frames and drop in the foliage colours to the right, adding more Lemon Yellow this time. Allow to dry.
This is one of the most exciting stages of the painting. Using Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson and touches of Ultramarine Blue, drybrush in the window frame paintwork. This technique helps indicate the texture of the distressed, flaky paintwork. If the brush is skirted across the paper surface, the tooth of the paper often adds to the effect of the woodwork. Be careful not to make the mix too wet, otherwise the effect will be lost.
Remove all masking fluid. Add the dark tree reflection to the top pane with a mix of Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna. Add any additional drybrush work to the frame and touch in the glazing bars. Allow to dry. With the shadow mix from stage 7, wash in some mid-tone darks to the left of the stones. Paint the shadow of the roof’s overhang. Soften the marks with water if too dominant. Avoid overworking any section.
how to paintâ€Ś a rustic window
The final painting
how to paint… summer flowers
How to paint…
Summer Flowers e l t t i h W t an e By J
You will need
• Watercolours Permanent Rose, Quinacridone Pink, Alizarin Crimson, May Green, Helio Green, Cobalt Blue, Aureolin Modern, Quinacridone Gold and Indanthrene Blue • Paper Arches 140lb (300gsm) NOT stretched 41x58cm watercolour paper • Brushes Size 1, 3 and 8 rounds, a large wash, a size 2 acrylic flat for softening edges and an old brush (for masking) • HB Pencil • Plastic eraser
When visiting a friend in France last summer, I noticed these hydrangeas outside a flower shop. The sun was shining on the wonderful eggshell blues and pinks, so I quickly took as many reference photos as possible. I was delighted with the results when I returned home, and believe me it doesn’t always work out that way! These are quite ‘busy’ flowers so I chose a favourite section and made it the focal point, keeping the rest of the painting slightly softer in comparison. Beginning with loose washes helps to unite the colours in the painting, gives me plenty of opportunity for negative shapes and allows these colours to glow through. If you are a beginner, I would suggest starting with a smaller composition and getting to know the flowers by doing a detailed drawing first. I try to ‘let go’ of the reference photos as soon as possible and make my own decisions about the painting and the colours I use. I enjoy the freedom of not being strictly botanical, but botanically correct, and creating the mood of how it feels when you spot a flower that inspires you to paint, so the background and the colours I use are an important part of my paintings.
Draw the outline of the composition with an HB pencil. Mark out the basic shapes of the clusters of florets with a continuous line of masking fluid to separate them from the background, adding a small dab in the middle of the larger flowers to save the centres.
While the masking fluid is drying, mix a selection of greens, yellows, pinks and blues for the background washes. Wet all the background, up to the masking line, then drop in your colours. Tip the board to mix them on the paper and leave them to dry flat. Using the same colours, start to paint the negative shapes in between the leaves and the background flowers. Leave the masked area unpainted.
HOW TO PAINT… SUMMER FLOWERS
Remove all of the masking fluid apart from the middles of the flowers and paint your way through the larger flowers petal by petal. Define them by placing deeper tones towards the centres and leaving the edges lighter or even white. You should remove the pencil lines as soon as possible – if they are painted over too much, they will become difficult to erase.
Paint the larger flowers now, deepening the colour towards the centres. Leave some white areas at the edges to stop them appearing too heavy.
Wet and drop in a pink blush over the area containing the buds and smaller flowers, deepening the colour as you move away from the right-hand light source. Let it dry. Using a mix of greens, carefully paint in the tiny leaf areas in between the central buds and florets.
Concentrate on painting negative spaces around an object. This forces you to really look and paint accurately, not just from memory
Fill in the green negative shapes within the florets and the larger flowers.
HOW TO PAINTâ€Ś SUMMER FLOWERS
Work to deepen and define your composition here, painting mainly behind the main flowers in the spaces between the flower shapes. This pushes the flowers forward and stops you overworking them otherwise they will appear heavy. As pink is a delicate colour, the white you leave will be very important in creating a sense of depth in comparison to the darker areas next to it.
Paint more of the negative spaces with the blue-green colour to define the leaves and stalks, taking care to keep the shapes simple and the colour just a couple of tones darker than the original wash. Using similar techniques, paint the background flowers. This will bring all parts of the painting to a similar level of finish, so you can now stand back and assess where you will need to push and pull tonal values to increase the sense of depth.
Remember to take the occasional step back. Assessing your progress can be as valuable as ploughing on with a painting to get it finished
Adding more stalks and leaves by painting negative shapes within shapes helps to fill out the composition and add more interest. As the composition is complicated already, however, take care to not overdo this.
Various techniques can be used for painting leaves and the veins on them, but again I often paint them as negative shapes, fading the colour out towards the edges to stop them appearing too heavy. If required, you can apply thin glazes of blue to certain areas when they are dry â€“ this will push them back and help things avoid appearing too fussy.
how to paintâ€Ś summer flowers
Continue to glaze deeper colours in the smallest areas to bring out the flowers. It is not necessary to do this all over â€“ some areas can remain softer and out of focus. Every painting is different and often you have to trust your assessment of this last stage as to what the painting needs. Often I glaze the leaves behind the main ones with blues and purples to push them back, as we did with some of the flowers. Whether you need to do this will depend on how deep your initial washes were.
At this stage, you can add a few veins to some of the more prominent flowers should you wish to do so. Again, bear in mind that detail will appear to bring them forward, so not all of them will need it.
The final painting
HOW TO PAINT… A SUNNY AFTERNOON
How to paint…
A Sunny Afternoon d Bolton By Rich ar
I was attracted to this scene by the rosy glow from the sun, picked up on the trunk of the tree. The painting is not an accurate record of the scene: one or two changes have been made to suit my purposes. In particular, some heavy foliage was left out around the base of the tree, in favour of showing more of the woodwork. Detail has been kept to a minimum in favour of a lively approach.
The reference photo This is the photograph of the scene that inspired the painting. I kept it by me during the painting, referring to it for details, colour and tone. However, the finished piece was never intended as a faithful reproduction of the photograph, but as my own interpretation of the scene.
ÚYou will need
• Watercolours Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Naples Yellow, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Emerald Green, Viridian Green, Scarlet Lake and Indian Red • Paper NOT 26x34cm watercolour paper • Brushes Large wash brush, size 6 and size 11 round brushes and an old brush • Candle wax • Masking ﬂuid • Craft knife
The preliminary sketch Time spent on the sketch is never wasted. It is much easier to correct an error at this stage than later on. In particular, check that the scale of the branches and trunk is right – there seems to be a kind of formula to the way branches grow and divide, and it is easy to get the balance wrong. Take a moment to stand back and see if your drawing looks right.
how to paintâ€Ś a sunny afternoon
Rub candle wax onto the tree trunk. This will add to the texture of the bark when it is painted.
Add more Raw Sienna to the wash towards the bottom of the picture, creating an earthy tone in the foreground.
Mix a wash with a little Alizarin Crimson and Ultramarine Blue. Take a large wash brush and wash from the top of the picture down to the horizon line. Add a little more blue just above the horizon line; this will create the illusion of distance. Brush over this with clear water.
Using an old brush, paint masking fluid onto the cow parsley heads. This will preserve the colour of the wash in these areas, even when other colours are painted on top.
Begin to fill in the green of the background fields just below the horizon using Emerald Green and Raw Sienna. Remember that you usually need less green in a mix than you think!
Soften the foreground with clear water. Using a size 11 brush, work on the grass with a mix of Viridian Green, Raw Sienna and Burnt Sienna.
Mix a wash of Naples Yellow and Raw Sienna for the foreground. Wash it on and merge it with the watery edge of the blue.
Brush clear water above the horizon line. Using a size 6 brush, paint in the area of the background trees with Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.
Add more Ultramarine Blue to the green mix to create the lines of the crop in the field. Painting wet into wet, use Burnt Sienna mixed with Emerald Green to paint the distant hedge. Add Scarlet Lake to the mix to deepen the colour of the earth between the hedge and the field.
Fill in the foreground texture of the grass. The green should be stronger and less brown towards the foreground.
how to paintâ€Ś a sunny afternoon
Use the dry brush technique, holding the brush on its side and scuffing it over the surface of the dried earthy wash, to create the foreground grasses.
Detail the shadow at the base of the tree, and under the flower heads, using a mix of Alizarin Crimson and a little Ultramarine Blue.
Develop the colour of the foreground grasses using Emerald Green for the lighter parts and Ultramarine Blue and Viridian Green for the darker parts. Use a craft knife to scratch out a grassy texture.
Continue filling in the finer branches. Vary the strength of the mix, as this will help to suggest the irregular texture of the bark.
Mix Scarlet Lake with Indian Red for a rusty shade of red, and paint the tyre tracks in the mud in the foreground. Add Ultramarine Blue to the mix for the shadow in the bottom right-hand corner.
Using a size 6 brush, begin to fill in the base colour of the tree with a mix of Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna and Scarlet Lake. Soften some areas with water first.
Add Viridian Green to the mix and run it in while the paler paint is still wet, to build up the complexity of colours in the bark. The candle wax will begin to show through, adding texture.
Add the shadow to the side of the tree and soften the line with a wet brush.
Mix Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson to make a purplish red for the dark shadows.
Carry on filling in the different colours and textures of the bark, painting wet into wet.
how to paint… a sunny afternoon
Using a size 11 brush, start to paint the dark area of foliage with a mix of Alizarin Crimson and Viridian Green.
Mix Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Viridian Green and Raw Sienna and paint in the rest of the foliage.
Using very little Viridian Green but lots of Alizarin Crimson, scuff paint on using the dry brush technique to suggest the texture of leaves. Add Burnt Sienna to counteract the mauveness of the foliage that needs to look greener. The split brush technique is used to paint in the finer leaves against the sky.
It is well worth standing back to see how the painting works from a distance. Weaknesses can then be approached and adjustments made. I have also picked out a few details in the finished piece: some shadows among the branches have been emphasised and touches of paint have been added to capture random leaves or twigs. I have overpainted some yellow grasses using opaque Naples Yellow. This article features in Handbook of Watercolour Landscapes – Tips & Techniques by Richard Bolton, Geoff Kersey, Joe Francis Dowden and Janet Whittle, published by Search Press, RRP £12.99. www.searchpress.com
The final painting
Amazing temples, village markets,
wonderful vistas across mighty lakes and rivers. Visit local artist studios, galleries, Night market tours, Temple tours, dine, paint and have time to shop or just relax. Join award winning artists and get support painting plein air or in a Master Class
10 days from $990GBP*
$1550 USD *Twin share
Accommodation in Boutique Resort style Hotels Single Suppliments, Upgrade options and EARLY BIRD Discounts *Air fares are not included
Enquire or email email@example.com Visit Craigâ€™s website at www.craigpennyart.com.au Visit Susanâ€™s website at www.susanobrien.com.au