Watercolour demo…..

Along with workshops, I also like to give watercolour demonstrations.    This is an excellent way to give people a taster of what watercolour painting can be.

It’s always important to remember that my demo might be very different from other artists.    What I say and do isn’t necessarily what others might agree with, or indeed people wishing to learn about watercolour painting might wish to follow.    It’s just another way of approaching the medium.

Red landscape – A very simple watercolour exercise….perfect for beginners. 

P1100748I gave a demonstration on Monday at The Hurlingham Club in London, but as I haven’t had time to unpack my bag yet, I am using an example I have on file.

In this frame I wet the ‘sky’ area of the painting – dropped some colour into it and allow the paint to bleed (run)……..It’s important to note that at this point the bottom part of the paper is kept as dry white paper.


This next technique is possibly one of the most important – it allows for the avoidance of Mud!!    The enemy of any watercolorist….

I have taken a clean, wet brush and gently teased the paint from the sky area, which is still wet, and pulled the colour down.     Note I have left some dry white paper at the horizon line.

Always have several pots of clean water available….again this helps in the avoidance of mud.


Working on dry paper, is called ‘dry brush’ which can be very confusing given that the brush always has to have some wetness to it.    Like all things there’s all sorts of jargon which can bamboozle someone knew to the game!

In this frame, using a mix of purple and burnt sienna…I have indicated dark areas in the foreground – consciously leaving a lot of dry white paper.    I have also allowed the same colour mix to bleed up into the skyline….giving the illusion of trees on the horizon line.


And finally the finished image.      Note the areas where I have left – dry white paper’  (this gives the sparkle to watercolour painting) – and also that I have allowed the paint to run….and do its own thing….which I find is one of the  great joys of watercolour painting…..plus an excellent lesson in ‘letting go of control’.

Finally I took a knife and scraped out a few lines in the foreground, indicating reeds/grasses.

The exercise is a great one to PLAY with….the importance of which I can never emphasise enough.       I find that tube paints allow me to work with juicier colours……again if just starting out, purchase in expensive set of paintings to PLAY with……


And of course I must finish with a magical hummingbird.           They do seem to  be weaving their magic at the moment:)

Here is the l link to my new ‘Hummingbird page’ – http://www.zazzle.com/janet+weight+reed+gifts     


Enjoy a lovely weekend….

A Bientôt


65 thoughts on “Watercolour demo…..

  1. ourfrenchoasis

    It is at times like this when I look at your photos that I am so sad I never inherited a single artistic gene from either of my parents, instead they bypassed me entirely and went straight down to our children, all of whom are very artistic and laugh at my meagre efforts! Your biggest fan is now our 16 year old and I can’t wait to show her this latest post when she comes home from school today. As for me, I am simply in love with the hummingbird. Xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning and thank you for such a lovely comment. It always pleases me when a younger person is interested in what I do and more importantly in following their creative bliss. You might find that if you allowed yourself to play, especially with watercolour, that something stirs within:) Over the years I have had many a person arrive at a workshop – saying I can’t do anything – and they end surprising themselves. Wishing you and your daughter a happy and creative weekend….Janet:)xx

  2. Margaret Parker Brown

    Wonderful post illustrating that watercolor can be fun….also your emphasis to let watercolor do its thing. I silently applauded when you mentioned that it is important to purchase artist quality paints, yes! It astounds me and irritates me to no end when people start out with poor quality paints! Love your landscape and the hummingbird. You are not afraid of color…..love it!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Margaret…thank you so much for this comment…I sometimes find that intense colour is similar to enjoying a superb meal….:) Happy painting to you this weekend….I will be reading and commenting on yours and other blogs on Sunday…Janet:)

  3. Timi Townsend

    Quite educational and inspiring as usual, Janet! 🙂 I think one of my biggest “mud-traps” comes from mixing colors on my physical palette, which is a fairly small circular one. Would you recommend something else, perhaps? Or do I just need to be more careful?

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Timi – I do mix colours on my palette, however, I use a large round palette with deep wells and a big central area… Next time I post one of these tutorial pieces, probably in two weeks, I will show a photograph of my palette and talk about the issue of mixing colour. The most important tip in this post, is about ‘using a wet clean brush to pull out existing paint on the paper’ People tend to add more paint when all they need is the clean wet brush……. Hope you enjoy a lovely weekend…happy painting…Janet:)

  4. olganm

    Just reading your post is inspiring, Janet. I can’t imagine what it must be like to attend one of your workshops live. Beautiful images and explanations that go much further than just images. Letting go of control…. Thanks for the magic!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Olga….thank you so much – one of these days I hope you get to experience one of my painting sessions….it is fun:) Meanwhile may you enjoy a very creative weekend..janet:)x

  5. Teagan Geneviene

    Dear Janet, I’m utterly fascinated. I always love your demo posts; the paintings are beautiful, but you explain it so well. So may I ask one question? I visualize “running” paint moving vertically. But the shapes are horizontal… So how is your paper positioned? Is it flat on a table? Or on an easel?
    I wish I had time to just find out for myself. However, your magical hummingbirds may have sent a little magic my way. I won’t know the outcome for a couple of months though. Mega hugs my friend.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Teagan…and what a great observation….Yes, I always work on a flat table when using watercolour, and sometimes I will pick the paper up allowing the paint to bleed (run) in ever which direction….this is always fun:) I had been thinking about you a great deal and so am delighted if the magical hummers are working around you….I will continue to send the magic…and wish you a beautiful and creative weekend my friend…janet. xx

      1. Teagan Geneviene

        Thanks for your kind thoughts (and humming birds). I don’t post it on my blog — I keep personal and work things out of my blog, in case anyone from work looks. But I signed a contract on a home in AZ. The inspection and appraisal is today (the loan and everything depends on the outcome of those 2 things). So taking a deep breath. And waiting… More hugs.

      2. janetweightreed10 Post author

        Oh Teagan….I am sending magical hummingbirds in force…..This is such wonderful news. Please do let me know when you hear….meanwhile, I will keep all fingers and toes crossed – oh I am so excited for you…..Janet. xxxxx

      3. Teagan Geneviene

        Well… I guess the hummers were protectors. My inspector sent back a 70 page report of problems with the condo…too many big problems. I just cancelled the contract… Very discouraged… Thank you for your kind wishes and good thoughts. Hugs. ❤

      4. janetweightreed10 Post author

        I just caught this before leaving for an exhibition…I am very sorry this didn’t work out, but also very glad that you found out problems sooner rather than later! I have nephews in the southwest (Scottsdale/southern california)who deal in real estate….I would be happy to pass on their information if you are interested. They are really lovely people and I am sure would help you a lot….because they do love their Aunt Janet:):) Don’t let this get you down…you are moving forward and it will happen. I wont check emails till tomorrow now…janet. xxx

  6. Carol Balawyder

    Janet, I love, love, love the oranges in your watercolors! I’m trying to decide what these paintings evoke in me and it’s a mixture of harmony, clarity, balance, beauty, inspiring and awe…Just to name a few very positive emotions! 🙂 xxx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Carol….I see you are wearing orange in your profile pic:) Thank you so much for such a lovely comment…it means a great deal to me….hope you enjoy a peaceful, and creative weekend…janet. xxx

  7. Jet Eliot

    Your intimacy with this process, Janet, your experience, is a true joy to see here. The mud, clean and wet brushes, teasing the paint, utilizing the paper’s wet and dry parts. I can imagine your classes are not only instructive, but uplifting and fun too. A perfectly delightful post~~

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Jet….and yes I am told that my classes are fun:) The creative process for me, even in my very serious moments, a very joyful experience and I hope that I impart this to people when they attend my workshops. I wish you a beautiful autumn weekend. janet:)

  8. Pingback: Sharing: Watercolour demo….. — My Life as an Artist (2) « Spey Art Group

  9. Pingback: Watercolour demo….. — My Life as an Artist (2) – learn earnmore

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