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 Northumberland Moor Watercolour Pencils


This one is quite a famous picture really, the original was the main story for a couple of episodes of 'Emmerdale' a few years ago. The original was a watercolour painting and it's an old shepherdís cottage high on the moors in Northumberland, a place called Elsdon.

Essential Supplies

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

Watercolour Paint
Watercolour Pencil x24

3/4" Wash brush
No.8 Round



As you can see yet again a very simple outline drawing using my cool grey. All Iíve got is the cottage, a couple of dry-stone walls, one either side, the patch creating the recession, into this end the path must be much wider in the foreground than it is in the middle distance where it vanishes to reappear again as a couple of little squiggly lines in the middle distance, followed by a few middle distance hills and the grasses underneath the building which again are a couple of squiggly lines.
This time slightly differently I am going to do the sky first. I want a slightly darker sky on this one as well. I am using a little bit of indigo taking the paint off the pencil using my ĺ" wash brush. As in any watercolour you need to be fairly quick with this bit, because it is drying on you the moment you start to paint. You can add one or two darker clouds by taking more paint off the pencil.
This time Iím going to wash out my paint and just as in a watercolour sky, suck out some clouds on top of the darker bits that I have just added. There we go a fairly big impressive sky with the minimum of effort.



Now with a tiny touch of French ultramarine blue, again stroking the paint off the pencil using my ĺ" wash brush, simply fill in the first distant hill, making sure this is not too dark otherwise youíll bring it further forward and remember, leave a few light areas to give you a little bit of undulation so it's not lying flat.

For the next hill I am actually drawing on a little bit of indigo, which is of course the blue that I used in the sky.





Simply squiggling filling the nearer distant hill, but this time Iíve left a little bit of white paper so that now I can stroke in with a touch of raw sienna which at the moment looks really patchy until of course I stroke over with my No.8 round brush, plenty of water and merge these colours together and now we have a hill slightly darker in tone meaning slightly nearer, but the raw sienna catching a little hint of light in the top, quite convincingly.

Remember the more you mess about with this painting the tighter and stiffer with less movement and softness, keep it simple in other words. Also notice at this stage I'm building this picture up slightly differently using drawing on techniques and washing on techniques coming slightly further foreword and adding the water as I go rather than just adding the water to a completed drawing.



Now for the cottage and I am using Vandyke brown for the darker sides just filling in, scribbling in. Remember there are rough grasses as the base of the cottage and the dry-stone wall, so donít worry about having a sharp base or a sharp edge to your cottage. Speaking of a dry-stone wall, if you are up on the moors and youíve got a dry-stone wall next to an old stone cottage, it is more than likely that they are made of the same stone, so keep the colours the same, Iím just blocking in the cottage and the wall with Vandyke brown to start with. Notice however in this picture that I have left the right-hand side of the cottage uncoloured as also with the chimney. Notice also that I have left the tops of the dry-stone wall with white paper showing on the top. This is going to help me capture a little bit of light eventually. Remember watercolours, there is no purer white than the white in the paper.

The reason why I have left these areas uncoloured is because now I am filling in with raw sienna and a tiny touch of the Vandyke brown on top of that. This will give me a lighter brown for the light side of the cottage.
Now with my No.8 round brush wet the colours. I'm stroking in from the cottage into the dry-stone wall as well. Remember at this stage you are painting this not building it, so donít do it stone-by-stone, you give the impression of stonework in a few minutes.

Whilst Iím wetting this still with my No.8 round brush, I take a little bit of blue-grey off the pencil to fill in the roof of the building. And again I have left a few tiny touches of the white paper showing through here and there.



Now to the middle distance hills and Iím using a little bit of Hooker's green dark, scribbling it in with a few touches of raw sienna here and there to highlight. Notice that Iím leaving the path in the distance uncoloured. Now with my No.8 round brush simply stipple on so that there are a few bits left unpainted. Giving a feeling of a little bit more undulation and to create a little bit of recession, simply wash out the brush, squeeze out and take a little strip of paint out on the top line to give a little bit more light.
Now taking a little touch of blue-grey on the point of my No.8 round brush a couple of dots here and there to represent windows and a door for my building. And also a couple of strokes on top of the chimneys with the same colours which are my chimney pots. Now for a little bit of blue-grey mixed with light red, Iím taking this off the pencil with my wet brush and Iím mixing this on the paintbrush changing from one pencil to the other and then simply stipple onto the side wall of the cottage giving the effect of stonework, but it is also quite a nice warm colour also a little bit of this into the dry-stone wall. At this stage, a few diagonal strokes with the point of my round brush on top of the dry-stone wall, will give me my coping stones. Remember you have got two dry-stone walls, so the same effect on the other side of the path.

Now for the first time a little bit of black and I'm putting a big dark line underneath the roof where it joins the building. Also a couple of little touches underneath the top parts of the chimney stacks, basically wherever you may have an overhang.



Whilst Iím in with the black, a few sticks on top of the dry-stone wall getting shorter as they go further away will aid my recession and for this again I have used black.

So now into the foreground areas starting with the path, firstly into the path I am just squiggling in with a bit of raw sienna followed by a little bit of my blue-grey on top of the burnt sienna, lightly colouring using the side of the pencil. But notice at this stage I havenít painted in the path in the far distance. Also into the grassy areas with these two colours, starting off with a little bit of raw sienna



Now into these same grass areas with a bit of my Hooker's green dark and a few touches of light red here and there. Good and strong remembering again that because this is a pencil the harder you press on the stronger the colours are going to be. The light red is always going to warm up areas and remembering itís a very strong colour, it's easier to put more in afterwards than try and take it out, so add carefully.

Now it's time for the magic of the water again, firstly stroking in the pathway and Iím leaving a few touches unpainted without water, giving a little bit more texture to the path. When it comes to wetting the green areas, rather than painting on the water solidly I'm stippling on, this is leaving a few tiny touches of white paper here and there. Iím leaving some of the colours standing out, giving me a much more grassy feel. For all of this I am using my No.8 round brush.



Now for a few hard solid bits here and there. Firstly, in the path once it has dried Iím just going on with my black pencil with a few squiggly lines here and there. This will give the effect of stones or pebbles or whatever in the path, followed by a few sharp edges of Hooker's green here and there in the grass areas. Also a little bit of my purple-grey here and there for a few sharp bits. For the path in the distance if I paint over with a distinct colour I will lose it at that kind of distance, so just with a wet brush stroke over picking up a touch other than the initial wash that I put in that area, which is of course long since dried. This will give a slight tint to the path. Finally, using my black pencil a tick in the sky will give us a buzzard, and hey presto 'Emmerdale' recreated.