Let the games begin….Warming up, loosening up and colour….

Suggestion to all who are participating. 

Along with comments on this blog, I  have two WhattsApp groups commenting, plus FB and Twitter.    It would be lovely if people could share any thoughts, questions  and comments here on my blog so that everyone else can learn and benefit from them.   

10911289_10153000981200396_7641824883260633009_oAfter a good nights sleep and a delicious breakfast courtesy Joanna, it is now time to warm up and start throwing some paint around.

Please feel free to copy any images on this blog.  Use them as a jumping off point.   They do not have to look exactly like my examples…..Being spontaneous, loose and playful is the name of the game…..geraniums in courtyard


Before we begin, I would like everyone to find a spot in the studio and. make it their own for the week.   Bring all art supplies from your respective rooms and keep them there. This will prevent fragmentation – which is important to avoid.   A good tip to remember when working at home……


Today’s Programme.   –

After Breakfast we meet in the Olive Tree courtyard for demonstrations and warm up exercises.      We paint all morning followed by  Lunch at 1 p.m. in the School.          After lunch a two hour free period for either a siesta or a wander around the old town….where you can sit in one of the. many cafes and sketch…or do whatever else floats your boat.    Maybe some delicious ice cream by the water. (everything including the water and boats are a gentle walk  from the School)

Around 4 p.m. (now that we are all  warmed up and feeling comfortable) we will wander around the town as a group with our sketch books and pen.   This is primarily for you to make observations both with images and writing – like a daily diary.      

Back to the School around 6 p.m. for freshening up, wine and evening meal at one of the wonderful family restaurants in town.   

20191003_193109quick sketch of the little tree close to the Stork Hotel – watercolour and Tombow water based pen.20191028_105016Previous group sketching in one of the town squares, very close to the school. 20191003_172009

I begin this workshop as if none of us know anything…..

Please IGNORE ANY CHATTERING MONKEYS, those pesky little demons that float around in our minds telling us why we can’t or shouldn’t do something.        Push them aside and remember it’s only paper….and ENJOY. 

Sketch books will be a vital part of the workshop…and so I would suggest ‘grounding’ putting colour on some pages of your sketch books.       This is a good way to use. up paint on your palette and to warm up.20200414_122237I often use cadmium orange as a ground, however, other colours can be used.

As you can see I did this quick sketch of the olive tree trunk on a piece of stained paper…20200414_123439Allowing the stains to show through can often make for an interesting image.   I am using a mix of Prussian blue and burnt Sienna for the dark trunk…and scraping out with my little knife. 20200415_121958

Here I am working on white paper.    All the whites you see in this image are dry white paper.       The darks are a  mix of Prussian blue, burnt Sienna and any green that’s on my palette:).     Purple for the shadow play. 

To really observe this tree from every angle and different time of the day would be an exciting project unto itself.    Don’t just look at what’s in front of you…look up, down..around, everywhere.  20200416_081702Warming up on newspaper, envelopes, inexpensive wallpaper lining and those old sketches that you were about to discard… is a great way to start the day.

The whole point of warming up is to release anxiety/fear and replace it with positive energy.  

Hummingbirds painted on newspaper…watercolour/gouache  20200326_092931

When in a studio setting, I suggest having a minimum of four containers of water.  When out and about carry a bottle of water – sketch book and one brush.      

Work on at least two images at a time. – which allows for flexibility.    Don’t make the mistake of getting stuck on one image.

The following is a very simple quick exercise…excellent for warming up.

Working from an orange ground…using a large wet brush I add Alizirin crimson and then a little purple.   I allow areas of the dry orange ground to show through…20200415_120513I then add the purple/crimson mix at the bottom of the image.     There is no right or wrong to this…allow yourself to PLAY and ENJOY.      By moving colour around the image we bring a sense of. harmony and balance. 20200415_120602Using my little knife that I found in a friend’s kitchen when painting in Brittany last year…I scrape out some. paint while it’s wet.       Work on several pieces at the same time.    Use different colours…be creative…and playful……an excellent way to get the juices flowing. 20200415_120629

Watercolour papers come in Cold Pressed – Hot Pressed and NOT – all extremely confusing to those who are just starting out.

Paper is. purchased by weight.    I recommend lb140 weight paper which means that the ream of paper (500 sheets) weighs lb140.    again very confusing if you are just starting out.      I also recommend ordering sample packs of paper which allow you to play on the different surfaces.   Ken Bromley sells an excellent pack, reasonably priced. 

I suggest you use NOT to start out with.   Cold Pressed is a rougher surface and hot pressed very smooth.   NOT is somewhere in the middle.   Here is a list of  recommended materials.         Re__Algarve_workshop

Materials used for these demos and sketching. 20200416_082048

Tomorrow, we will be going to Armona Island part of the Ria Formosa National Park. which is a real treat.       All we need to take are basic sketch materials….like the little palette shown here, plus one brush, a pen….containers for water (use empty yogurt pots from Breakfast)  and that’s it.        Armona has lovely beaches…and good for swimming. 

Please feel free to ask questions and leave comments on the blog.  I will get back to you.

Most importantly enjoy another glorious day in Olhao and happy painting/sketching.

See you tomorrow at Breakfast and then we are off to catch the boat to Armona,,,,,,,only 15 minutes away. 











20 thoughts on “Let the games begin….Warming up, loosening up and colour….

  1. Liz Grant

    Brilliant blog! I’m there already! Will you share a “Cataplana” fish stew with me this evening for supper? xx

  2. Heather Tyekiff

    It’s raining cats and dogs here so I think we’ll have to work in the studio today!!!! (Enjoying your blog and fond memories of my week with you in Olhao in 2016] Kindest regards, Heather Tyekiff – holed up here in our villa in Almancil until who knows when!

    Sent from my iPad


    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Hi Dear Heather…I did check the weather…but given that this is a virtual holiday I am opting for lots of sunshine and azure skies:) I remember you so well…we did have a lot of fun. Hopefully while you holed up in Almancil you will be able to do a lot of painting. Stay well..Janet XX

      1. janetweightreed10 Post author

        I spent a month painting in Brittany last May…and found this lovely little knife in the kitchen drawer of the cottage I was staying in. I love it. So good to see you here TimiXXX

  3. America On Coffee

    I wish I could but painting is not my expertise. Your are an excellent online (no doubt offline too) art instructor. I love the places and the art. What a fun retreat!❤️❤️☕️☕️❤️❤️

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you – it helps me a great deal to know that people are enjoying this. When teaching off line, it is much easier for me to demonstrate different techniques….I am hoping that I will master ‘videoing myself’ soon…watch this space:) Janet:)XX


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