Tag Archives: playing with paint

Wednesday Warm up landscape

When I returned to the UK from the States in 1993, I moved to Crickhowell (the Magical Town of Crickadoon)  in Wales.

Crickhowell, sits in the beautiful Usk Valley where the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons meet.

Having living and worked in the States for 28 years, I needed a place where I could immerse myself in nature and get back to basics.

The following landscape exercise reminds me of the surrounding hills where I walked just about every day that I lived there.

I start out by painting over an old sketch….I am using a mix of watercolour and gouache to give necessary coverage.     


Using Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache, Permanent White,  I indicate the sky next to the mountains.

When I first arrived in Wales, I didn’t consider myself to be a landscape painter, however the drama of light play against the hills was far too exciting for me not to record it.

Note that some of the underlying original sketch is showing through….this helps to give the image a sense of luminosity, and depth.


I now add some darker clouds and blue into the sky and add the same colours into the foreground.

Moving colour around an image, brings a sense of balance and harmony.


Using a wash brush, I drag some of the white from the sky into the mountain area.    This is a spontaneous watercolour and so this is done while the paint is still wet.

I use a smaller brush to indicate the sun’s rays over the dark hills.    Note that the underlying original sketch is showing throughout the painting….just hints of it, but enough to give the desired effect.


Remember to allow your brush to dance across the image.    This is all about warming up and PLAY. 

Here’s a Magical Hummingbird for the day.




A Bientôt

Tutorial 14 – Luscious colour

This quick warm up exercise is all about colour…..wonderful, luscious colour:)



Here’s what to do.

Frame 1.

I have Applied some glorious violet to the paper….Note that I have left a white area….and then while the paint is still very wet, I have allowed  some Permanent White Gouache to bleed into the wet paint, which provides a lovely fuzzy edge. 



Frame 2.


I add some strong pigment into the wet violet paint and allowing it to bleed and do its own thing…..Any colours can be used. 



Frame 3. 

I now add some more crimson into the mix. 




Frame 4.

Note that I am using Daniel Smith watercolours for this particular warm up.    They are more expensive, and in this case prove that you get what you pay for…..superb pigments, however any pigments and colours can be used for this exercise…




Frame 5

When I am testing new colours and pigments, I allow myself to PLAY….which unto itself makes for a superb warm up exercise. 



Happy Wednesday and happy painting.

A Bientôt

Tutorial 6 – Moving colour around the painting.

Frame 1.

I am using another calla lily for this demonstration, and once again will be focusing on the negative space, and the importance of moving colour around a painting. 

I am working on a white surface, and have sketched out the lily using a watercolour pencil.     By adding a little water to the pencil mark, the line bleeds.

I then apply juicy paint around the lily, and then immediately start pulling the colour to the edge of the paper using a clean, wet brush.  It is important to note that several pots of clean water should be available at all times.


Frame 2.

In this frame I have covered all of the negative space, using a mix of Winsor & Newton Cotman series – Burnt Umber, Turquoise Blue and Dioxazine Violet.     Any colours can be used.

In an ideal world it’s best to work on two or three images at one time.      When you get to the point with one image where you don’t know what to do next….do nothing, and move onto the next one.    By the time you return to the original image, the answers will  be there for you.


Frame 3.

The only tool I use other than a brush, is a knife.    In this frame after the paint has dried a little, I have scraped out areas of the negative space.      This breaks up the area, and at the same time brings back some light areas, which help to balance the image.  A credit card also works quite well.


Frame 4.

I now begin to add small amounts of colour to the lily.    I am using Winsor & Newton Green Gold, plus some of the turquoise which is in the background.  I am also using Cotman series, Cadmium Orange and burnt sienna.     Moving colour around the image brings balance and a sense of integration.


Frame 5.

In this final frame, I have applied some Gold Green, Turqoise and Cadmium Orange to the areas where I have scraped out with the knife.    As I work any image, whether a small watercolour or a huge oil painting,  I am always aware of the whole, and am constantly moving colour around to achieve a sense of balance in the overall composition.


‘Play is the highest form of research’   Albert Einstein. 

More about some basic materials tomorrow.

A Bientôt

Tutorial 4. Establishing consistency to work.

Throughout my years of painting and teaching, I have heard many times the frustration of those who would like to explore their creativity, but seem unable to establish consistency in their work.

Remember it’s better to do a quick warm up exercise for fifteen minutes a day than to have marathon painting sessions twice a year!

I would suggest three elements be put into place to do this exercise.

1) Pick the same 15 minutes every day – make sure it’s a time that works for you.
2) Set up a small table, such as a card table, which doesn’t have to be moved or cleared.
3) Turn off mobiles, or any other potential distractions.

It takes 28 days to form a new habit. If you follow this simple format three things will occur….
Consistency, technical skills, and most importantly observational skills will improve.

You can read more about this in my book ‘The Apple Exercise’ which can be found on the products page of my website at http://www.janetweightreed.co.uk

In this one minute video, I am playing with paint….I am using white paper, however newspaper or anything else will be fine.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama.

I came up with the ‘Apple Exercise’ over 30 years ago because in principle it is very simple and effective.

A Bientôt