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 Autumn Time


Autumn is such a lovely time of year when the colours are almost magical and you still have some nice warm days so itís a perfect time to get out and paint. 

This scene is fairly local to me in north Northumberland, in fact, just a couple of fields away. 

Essential Supplies

The items you will need to complete this scene are as follows:-

Watercolour Paint
Burnt Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Raw Umber
Cobalt Blue
Charles Evans Sand
Light Red
Ultramarine Blue
1.5" Wash brush
3/4" Wash brush
No.8 Round
No.3 Rigger




As you can see from my outline drawing it's not too detailed, just an old farmhouse, with a couple of outbuildings attached.  Like I say, it's an old farmhouse, therefore I donít want perfect straight lines. Iím not building a Barratt house. 

I mentioned the strength of colours in an autumn scene, so I want to start to build up the feel of those colours straightaway starting with the sky wash.  As usual loads and loads of water first, then drop in a little bit of yellow ochre followed by a touch of burnt sienna. Then a mixture of cobalt blue and light red mixed.  Donít be afraid of the strength of this, remember it's going to dry 50 per cent lighter. For my clouds as usual Iím just squeezing out my brush and sucking out a few clouds here and there.



Whilst the sky is still ever so slightly damp Iíve changed to a No.8 round brush, and still my cobalt blue and light red dropped in a tiny little bit on the horizon line to give a feeling of some bushy trees a long way off. Now back to my ĺ" wash brush which is also the brush I did the sky with. Add a tiny touch of yellow ochre underneath this.  There you go, my distance and middle distance dropped in very very simply.

Now for once to a small brush and this is my No.3 rigger. I have some slightly more prominent trees again in the middle distance. And a little building in the middle distance which is very simply a block of cobalt blue with a little bit of burnt sienna on the top for the roof. For the trees in the middle distance, once I have filled in the few sticks that represent the tree trunks, I then very simply tapped on with the flat of my ĺ" wash brush giving the impression of a canopy, rather than painting individual leaves on twigs.  This was all done with cobalt blue and light red.

 To the left of the house I have a few similar trees the same kind of distance but this time just one extra colour added, mainly a little bit of yellow ochre to the right-hand side of the tree trunks again using my rigger brush. Also when I put the canopy in, still using the same methods with my ĺ" wash brush, I add a touch of yellow ochre before going on with the cobalt mixture.




For the building Iím using a mixture of raw umber a touch of a new colour which is called the Charles Evans sand. These are the colours I specially developed earlier in the year for when Iím running my painting holidays, people really have a problem getting the colour of the sea and the sand. The thing is once I have formulated these colours I found to my own surprise that the sand in particular has a lot more uses than just painting beaches. It's also fabulous for stonework.  

Once I have put the washes on the building, notice that one side is darker than the other. Just a little bit more raw umber of the dark side gives more depth to the building.  Then the indication of a few bits of stonework, just a bit dibs and daubs here and there.  For the roof of the building a tiny touch of raw umber into burnt sienna. 

For the windows just a  couple of blobs of my cobalt blue and light red mix using my No.8 round, leaving a little touch of white in between each blob, this gives the feel of some windows.  Very simple, donít fiddle and the shadow is going to give it the feel and depth in a few minutes

Whilst the house is drying let's do the trees.  These are all fairly close up, so there is a little bit more detail in them.  With my rigger brush and a little bit of yellow ochre. Whilst this is still wet get in there with a little bit of raw umber to the right-hand side of the yellow ochre, because as you will have gathered by now, with the different tones on the house the light is coming from the left.  Now whilst it is still wet a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna to make a black. Put this to the extreme right-hand side of the trees. Notice Iím not making lots of twigs because there is going to be a big canopy of autumnal foliage, so if I'd painted thousands of twigs I would have wasted my time, because I would have covered them with foliage.  Have a little bit of rough growth coming out from the sides of the trees, this again was still with my rigger brush. 

For the foliage I go back to my ĺ" wash brush and with the full length of the hair, tap on with a touch of yellow ochre then a bit of burnt sienna then a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. 




Now back to the house. Still with my mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, let's have some nice strong shadows where the roof joins the building and also one building casting a little bit of shadow on the smaller building behind. Also a little bit of shadow down one side of the building. All with my No.8 round brush.

For the foreground, donít fiddle about. Starting off with a big easy wash of yellow ochre with a touch of burnt sienna mixed into it.  Notice because I use a nice rough surface paper where the brush doesnít go into the indentations Iím leaving plenty of white sparkly bits showing through. Leave this to settle for a few seconds  before going in with the final shadows,  which gives me a little bit of time to add a few bushy bits here and there -  notably either side of the house just peeping out around the corner.

Now for the scary shadows and Iím again using a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna and my ĺ" wash brush.

With this very dark mixture just stroke across, being brave at this time really does count. Notice for instance Iíve invented something out of shot over to the left, in order to cast a big shadow right across the centre.   A few posts add a little bit more recession, just make sure the general trend is getting shorter as they go further away. Hey Presto, autumn in watercolours. Now that wasn't too difficult now was it?