Friday, 25 October 2013

Nigel Street - landscape in watercolour

On Tuesday I enjoyed a morning with Hereford Art Group watching Nigel Street demonstrate how he paints landscapes in watercolour. Although at the end of the session he had not quite finished, we gained a clear idea of where he was going and picked up some useful tips along the way.
Not quite finished

Having taken part in one of Nigel's Understanding Watercolour weekends a year ago, it was good to get some reminders even though I have a slightly guilty conscience about how little watercolour painting I've done in the last year. For more information on his courses visit Nigel's website.

Hereford Art Group paint most Tuesdays and only have a couple of demonstrators a year: very different from Ledbury Art Society where demonstrations and occasional workshops are the normal pattern.

Nigel's standard landscape palette is worth a mention. He uses plastic palettes with deep wells set out in a 6x2 grid. In the two wells furthest from him he puts pigments useful for atmosphere and distance: cobalt blue light and raw umber (insoluble opaque). The soluble transparent colours are arranged on the left so coming forward from the cobalt blue he has phthalo blue, sap green (which is an optional addition to the basic palette), primary yellow and alazarin crimson or permanent dark red. Notice how the order takes you from background to foreground. At the very front of the palette he has French ultramarine and burnt sienna (insoluble and dense). Yellow ochre is an optional addition which he places to the right of the primary yellow. This is insoluble and opaque and is a good carrier of colour.

The images that follow show the development of the painting.
water added to the sky ready for washes

picking up a bead of paint with a flat brush

flat brushes are great for edges

roofs well underway

timber framing was added with a half-inch flat

steady hand needed

bridge reflected and bricks partially suggested

Palette on left, mixing palette next to it. Nigel is left-handed. Note the white tile and scrap of paper for testing.

Fence by house added with flat brush. Thin card scrap used to mask area below.

similar approach on canal sides

brick/stone work only hinted at by with small flat brush then blurred with wet brush. Work on small areas at a time.

Trees added behind. More intense colour as you come forward.

Grass is green added over orange and yellow

Working on the trees

Notice how the branches of the trees on right have been scraped out of wet paint

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