Watercolour Landscapes Workshop, with Shelley Prior


Notes from Shelley:

Here are the progress photos that I took in class on Friday. I hope you find them useful. Happy painting!!

I used Arches 140lb rough paper for my demonstration.

Pre-stretch the paper. Soak both sides until totally saturated and limp. Gently place on board and quickly staple all around before the buckling starts. It gets worse but leave overnight to dry.

By morning the paper is completely dry and flat again. Use 3M general purpose masking tape to tape over the staples to prevent paint from seeping underneath and to give your painting a nice clean edge.

Draw the scene making pencil lines fairly dark so they won’t disappear as we paint. Mix large puddles of colour before wetting the paper.
Coral colour – orange-red (scarlet lake) and raw sienna
Denim blue colour – cobalt mixed with coral colour added
Wet the entire surface very well with a large brush. Apply the colours, tilting the board to help blend the flowing colours and to prevent any buildup in the valleys as the paper buckled again somewhat. Twist some clean paper towels into a loose ‘rope’ and lightly press into the sky for clouds.

When the first layer is dry, re-dampen (not as wet this time) the sky area. With a blotted brush and just a little of the coral colour add to the lower side of the clouds. This is a good time to apply more colour to the initial washes if they dried lighter than you had hoped.

When the paper is dry mix a warm black for the trees. I used Payne’s grey mixed with the coral colour that was in the mist. Make a big puddle of moderately rich colour – not too watery. You may wish to have a bit of colour ready to add for fall trees also – red, orange, yellow
I placed a roll of paper towel under the top part of my board to tilt it. This allows a bead of wet paint to form along the lower edge of where I’m working. Have some clean water and your 2” brush handy. A spray bottle can be very useful also. Prepare and plan to work quickly.
You may pre-wet the mist area under the trees. Now start painting the trees and allow the colour to blend into the wet area below. Use the spray mister to help if the paint doesn’t flow well enough. Drawing the 2” brush across will also work but it’s best not to touch this too much!! Let it flow naturally. While this rich colour is still wet feel free to add some red, orange, yellow on top (with a blotted brush). It will blend into the dark colour and be very muted.

The reflection is done in the same manner – just turn your board upside down.

While you are waiting for the washes to dry you may add little lines of diluted blue on the surface of the water. You can also start adding small grasses and reflections in the water too with the warm black colour – diluted.
The distant rocks can be also added with diluted warm black.
Begin the foreground area with the darkest mix of warm black – you need a large puddle of rich colour for this. As I painted this section I added cobalt blue for mist colour in the shadow.

I left the small deciduous tree for last. Painted with a script liner. I added dashes of white to the water as well.