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 A Norfolk Wherry


I have decided on oils and one of my favourite areas in the country, Norfolk. I have to admit Iím working from photographs. They were taken about a year ago when I had the privilege of doing a painting holiday on two of the four existing Norfolk wherries.

Essential Supplies

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

Oil Paint

Cobalt blue
Titanium white
Payne's grey
Naple's yellow
Hooker's green
Burnt sienna
Raw sienna
Raw umber
Cadmium red

No.18 wash brush
No.10 filbert
No.12 filbert

No.3 bristlewhite

Oil Painting Medium


As you can see from my outline drawing I havenít used any charcoal or under painting, just a normal pencil. Not too heavy a weight so that it doesnít spread and make mud on my canvas when I put my sky wash on. For the sky wash I have firstly gone into the bottom area with a little bit of Naples yellow, thinly applied, followed by cobalt blue mixed with titanium white, again thinly applied. Now just a few touches of titanium white here and there and for all of this I have used my No.12 filbert brush.

Now with a piece of old rag, drag the colours together like so. And there we go a nice little sky, not too dramatic because I donít want this to be the main focus of attention.



When I paint oils there are not loads of paraphernalia, I only use two things to mix my oils into, firstly low odour thinners, so you donít get a horrible overpowering smell or a headache, and secondly oil painting medium. As most of you know, all the equipment I use is Daler-Rowney and the painting medium is a mixture of various concoctions and oils, but it just means you donít have to think about all the other stuff you need for oil painting. So I just quickly dip my brush into the oil painting medium for every mix I do.

And so now speedily into the trees.

I started off in the trees with a mixture of Hooker's green and burnt sienna. I am using a No.3 bristlewhite chisel edged brush, this gives some lovely control, you can get some nice sharp edges here and there. All I am doing is stippling on with the edge of the brush, carefully going around any areas that I still want to see afterwards. Now on top of this green I am dropping on a little bit of Naples yellow here and there. Now if you look at this next image, yes they are ok, but I need a little bit more depth as all these trees come to the base. For this added depth, still using the same brush, I am dropping in with a little bit of cobalt blue into the base areas of the trees especially either side of the main wherry as this will push the wherry further forward.



Now straight into the boats, I am first doing the moored up boat on the left. I am starting off with my rigger brush, with a mixture of raw umber and burnt sienna. For this the mahlstick comes in handy because this helps to rest the hand without touching the painting. With a single stroke straight downwards, fill in the mast. Donít hover about and donít fiddle, a straight stroke downwards, because otherwise you will end up with a broken or jagged line.

Add a little bit of white on top and down the left-hand side here and there, just to capture a little bit of light. I donít use manufactured black and there is a little patch of black in the middle of this mast, so I am mixing Payne's grey with raw umber. For the rest of the boat, most of it is canopy and so I have a little bit of titanium white mixed with Naples yellow because I donít want it pure white. Now fill in the outer edges of the canopy or the lighter bits. A little bit of cobalt blue into the white for the inner parts of the canopy. For the boat itself titanium white and then a little bit of raw umber mixed with burnt sienna for the wooden parts of the boat. The tender is done in exactly the same way with the same brown and the same white. For the flag a hint of cadmium red. All of this I did with my No.3 rigger. Whilst Iím over that side with that boat, I am going to add a little bit of my grasses coming up from the side of my river, which is kind of cut up in front of the boat, slightly down to the base of where the river will be. Now that makes some sense of where that boat is. Just add a little bit of white to that and again Iím adding a touch of Naples yellow.
Now it's time for the main boat. On a wherry you have one huge sail on a single mast. And no wherry would be complete without its pennant which are very noticeable because they are very large. For the sail itself, I donít want to paint perfectly white, because of course canvas sails are not perfectly white, so



Iím a mixing a tiny touch of Naples yellow into my titanium white followed by a tiny touch of cobalt blue into my canvas mix, then paint into my sail to give shadow. Also a tint of slightly different coloured canvas here and there in strips.
For the rest of the boat, for the top part of the cabins Iíve got raw umber mixed with a touch of Naples yellow. I am using my No.3 rigger, this is for the light part of the cabin, the top bit. For the darker areas I am using my raw umber and burnt sienna mix. To darken off the brown that I used for the cabins Iím adding a tiny touch of Payne's grey. And of course Iíve got windows, but donít start painting sash windows, just a little blob of Payne's grey here and there. For the top part of the cabins Iíve got a little bit of cobalt blue mixed with titanium white and these represent Perspex window bits.

Then we have the impression of a few people on the boat. One has a blue shirt, a bit of cobalt blue mixed with titanium white. Another has a reddy coloured shirt, I am using my cadmium red mixed with titanium white. A bright red shirt a bit of cadmium red, and finally a brown shirt, a bit of raw umber nice and strong. Donít forget some hair, some raw sienna with titanium white, so supposedly that person is blond. Also a bit of black and raw umber. Next we need a bit of flesh tone, Naples yellow mixed with burnt sienna.



Add a bit of rope coming up from the base of the sail, for this I am using raw sienna with a tiny touch of my black mix to one side.

Now for the main body of the boat. I am starting off with a little bit of titanium white and cobalt blue mixed, because obviously white in shadow is not white, it has a kind of blueish tint to it. The other thing about painting oils on canvas is never leave white canvas showing, it looks unnatural, paint your white on. For the dark end of the boat I am putting a little bit of Payne's grey into the last mix.

For the tenders on the back of the boat, keep these simple they are not the main part of the picture. Iíve got a little bit of titanium white followed by titanium white mixed with Payne's grey for the rear ends. And a few touches of titanium white here and there, just add a little bit of light captured on top of the boats. Donít forget a little bit of shadow in between them which of course is Payne's grey mixed with titanium white.

Now it's time for the water, and you know what, Iím sitting here looking at the photograph of the water, and this really is what painting does for you, because as I look at my painting at this stage and the photograph in front of me, I really can take myself back to that day remembering the sights, sounds and smells, the general feeling of freshness and the creaking of that lovely old boat. Less reminiscing, into the water.

For the water Iíve started off with cobalt blue and Payne's grey with a tiny touch of titanium white, using my No.12 filbert to start off with, then with my No.3 chisel edged bristlewhite, start off with a few dark green reflections here and there. Followed by a few reflections of titanium white. Now also some reflections of raw umber mixed with burnt sienna and Payne's grey mixed with a touch of cobalt blue for the reflection of the darker areas of the boats. Now to darken my blue here and there, cobalt blue and Payne's grey and a few strokes amongst the other reflections.

And there we go, a lovely painting of a wherry in Norfolk.