Tag Archives: Schmincke watercolours

A splash of colour for Wednesday….

Given that it’s August, a month when so many people are on holiday…and life is generally more laid back….this tutorial fits right in.

I am using watercolour on white paper with a touch of designer gouache.    The difference between watercolour and gouache is that Watercolour is a transparent medium, whereas gouache is an opaque medium.        I love the way the transparent and opaque work together.

This image is all about spontaneity and colour, inspired by the beauty of my friend’s garden in Wiltshire.


I first began mixing watercolour and gouache about 16 years ago.   I was in my studio in Wales…facing a bit of block…and so decided to put out several large sheets of paper and PLAY. It was during the PLAYING  process that I discovered how much I enjoyed mixing these two elements.

This image is all about spontaneity and allowing the brush to dance across the paper.

Using white paper, I began by mixing burnt sienna and prussian blue, and then while the paint was still wet I scraped out some of the paint with my knife.


I then added some Winsor & Newton Green Gold – quite an expensive pigment, but a superb addition to anyone’s watercolour palette.   A little goes a long way.


In this frame I have added some Cobalt Turquoise Light gouache to the top of the image….allowing the middle part to stay as dry white paper.    Note I have brought some of the Cobalt Turquoise into the bottom of the painting to bring a sense of harmony and balance to the image.


I now add Opera Rose Gouache, allowing the colour to bleed into the wet blue area.  Again note that I have brought some of the Opera Rose into the bottom of the painting.   The middle of the image is still dry white paper.

Allowing watercolour to bleed and do its own thing is all about letting go


I add some Dioxazine Violet to the middle of image, and a mix of alizarin crimson and violet to the Opera Rose mix….all the whites you see, are dry white paper.

I continue to scrape out paint with my knife, which gives a sense of energy.


To finish, I mix permanent white gouache with gold green to suggest stems and leaves.   I have also added some Schmincke Lasurorange – a wonderful pigment.

The overall effect is an impression of flowers in an English country garden.


There are no wrongs or rights in this exercise…it’s all about spontaneity and playing. 

I could imagine this image on a huge canvas….it would make quite a splash.

Note:   click on each image to see a larger version.

Today’s Magical Hummingbirds.




A Bientôt

Wednesday watercolour tutorial – 13

In this quick landscape exercise, I am using some of the same techniques used in my life paintings.    There are only a few basic techniques in watercolour painting.    The key is to master each technique and this only comes with practise. 


A friend and fellow artist sent me the beautiful gift of Schmincke Aquarelle Lasurorange translucent orange and so I thought I would try it out in this warm up exercise….and it is indeed a beauty. 

Frame 1

In this frame, I have suggested an horizon line and then wet the area above the horizon, leaving the paper beneath the horizon line completely dry. 



Frame 2.

I have loaded my brush with paint and introduced the colour just above the horizon line….allowing the paint to bleed.    For this I am using a mix of Cotman Dioxazine Violet and Alizirin Crimson



Frame 3.

I now introduce some of the Schmincke Lasuroragne and allow it to bleed to the top of the paper.   At the very top I have added a little Naples Yellow, which is a more opaque pigment.    I love the way transparent pigments work next to opaque pigments…again an idea to play with. 



Frame 4.

I now add some more juicy paint  (mix of Violet and Crimson) into the wet area at the horizon line.   Then I take a clean, wet brush and gently pull colour down into the dry area….note that I am leaving some areas of dry white paper next to the horizon line. 

This technique of using a clean, wet brush to pull out paint is possibly one of the best watercolour techniques….It helps to prevent muddiness!



Frame 5.

In this frame, using the violet and crimson mix, I indicate tree lines and field boundaries.     Note that I am leaving a lot of dry white paper.   I also bring some of the violet and crimson mix into the foreground for balance. 

It is also important to note, that I am allowing the paint in the sky to do its own thing at this point….I am not trying to manipulate the paint.  



Frame 6.

I now introduce some of the Schmincke Lasurorange into the foreground….Remember all colour reflects on its surroundings.



Frame 7.

Here are swatches of the colours used in this image.   Cotman series Dioxazine Violet, and Alizirin Crimon.   Schminkcke Lasurorange and Winsor & Newton artists grade Naples Yellow. 



Happy Painting. 

A Bientôt.