Tag Archives: working on old sketches

Landscape exercise using gouache.

I visited my old school friends Mick and Gail last weekend in Kent, and although quite warm there was a feel of change in the air, and indeed this week all of a sudden autumn is definitely with  us.

I love the subtle change in colour as one season moves to the next, which I recorded in this landscape exercise.


I began by using an old sketch.    Remember this is an excellent way to warm up.   There’s a sense of freedom about working on paper that has already been used.

This was the old sketch, which I turned upside down.   I will use this sketch as I would a colour ground…


I am using Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache for this exercise.    Gouache is opaque which means it can cover strong colours.       With a wet brush I add some Permanent white, and allow the colour underneath to be picked up and mixed with it.


I am working the sky area in an energetic manner – again allowing the colour on the original sketch to blend into the white……


Note the suggestion of blue hills on the right of picture and how I have lightened the sky above the hills and horizon line.

I then add light green and naples yellow into the foreground, and while the paint is wet, indicate dark trees and hedgerows.     There is no detail….it’s an impression, and I am working very quickly.


Given that the sky reflects upon the land, I have taken some of the Naples Yellow into the sky so that the two elements of the picture, sky and land are interconnected.


Final image.


Regardless of my subject matter, or where I am painting, Magical Hummingbirds are always with me.    HummingbirdHQ.com



Have a lovely weekend.



A Bientôt

Using old sketches for warm up exercises


Its important  not to throw away old sketches or for that matter paper which has been marked.

Use throw aways for warm up exercises, which is what I have done in this post.

Frame 1

A piece of old watercolour paper – perfect for warming up.


Frame 2

Using felt tip pen, I sketch a teacup and saucer. This is a fun exercise and so I picked something close at hand with an interesting shape.      It could just as easily have been an apple……..


Frame 3

In frame 3, I add watercolour, treating the subject as I would normally and allowing the marks on the paper to integrate with the whole design.


Artists are like athletes and dancers, needing to warm up each day.    When I give workshops, I encourage participants to use newspaper, wall paper lining or old sketches to start the day.

Because the fear of spoiling a good piece of paper is removed, its often happens that this is when people relax, and do their best work.

Places are still available in the watercolour workshop in April on the Algarve, Portugal.    For more information go to http://www.artinthealgarve.com

A Bientot