Tag Archives: Daniel Smith extra fine watercolours

Olive tree in Olhao Courtyard


This is one of the series of watercolours I am painting based on the shadow play and the olive tree in the courtyard at the school in Alhao, Portugal.  http://www.artinthealgarve.com

I worked quickly with this painting…and because I had to allow some drying time during the process, I also worked on two other paintings at the same time.     The is the way I choose to work and recommend others to do the same.      This method alleviates over working an image.

Using yellow ochre I sketch out the basis of the composition and add some loose colour in the background  to suggest shadow play,.



I then begin to add strong colour to the olive tree trunk….I am using a mix of Winsor & Newton  Sepia, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, naples yellow and  Daniel Smith Raw Umber Violet.     

The blue in the painting is Winsor & Newton gouache Cobalt turquoise Light. 


It is important to note that I always have the whole painting in my mind’s eye as I work.    Remember everything is interconnected, and so the shadows are of equal importance as the actual olive tree.    One can’t exist without the other.



I have added some of the same blue and some Winsor & Newton Gold Green into the background as well as the trunk of the tree.     This creates harmony, rhythm and balance into a composition.



All the whites are dry, white paper….indicating in this case the white walls of the courtyard….a perfect place to observe shadows.





A Bientôt

Portrait (2) using three colours

Here is another portrait where I have used three colours.  Winsor & Newton – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, and Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolours – Raw Umber Violet.

Once again I am using a photograph of Peter Deunov as my jumping off point.   

Even though the subject’s eyes are closed….I still begin my sketch with the eyes.

ImageNote that all the white in the image is dry, white paper, and again I am using the technique of wet brush no paint….which means that after applying paint to the shadow areas, I then pull the colour out using a clean wet brush. 

ImageObservation is of course key, however, I tend to see the world as a jigsaw puzzle….a kaleidoscope of shadow, light, and colour.  

In her book, Drawing on the Artist Within, Better Edwards, suggested an excellent exercise for those who believe that they can never draw or paint  a face.

Take a portrait – it can be a photograph or painting, and turn it upside down.     Remove the logic of what it is, and just copy the shapes you see.     You will be surprised.

ImageFollow the map of the face. 

ImageWhen tutoring portrait painting workshops, over the years I have seen people get hung up on a nose, regardless of the medium used. They tend to keep adjusting it, adding more colour, and ultimately ending up with a mess….when often all that’s needed is a shadow next to the nose……which points out the importance of always being aware of the whole subject,  not just one portion.   Remember everything is interconnected. 


I am leaving white paper for the beard and hair allowing the viewer fill the gaps in.    Note how the yellow ochre wash to the left of the face, reveals  the highlight on the eyelid, nose and beard. 


Final image.



A Bientôt