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 Norfolk Boats


I recently spent a lovely holiday at the Broadlands Art Centre in Dilham, Norfolk. Here is a painting that we did on location as a group.

Essential Supplies

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

Watercolour Paint

Raw Umber
Cobalt Blue
Hooker's Green
Burnt Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Alizarin Crimson
Light Red
Ultramarine Blue

1.5" Wash brush
3/4" Wash brush
No.8 Round
No.3 Rigger


Youíll see that I have done a fairly basic outline drawing followed by my sky wash. I firstly pre wet the entire sky area using my 1.5" wash brush. I dropped in a little bit of yellow ochre, mixed with a touch of light red into the bottom area of the sky followed by cobalt blue from the top all the way to the bottom of the sky. Then wash out my 1.5" brush, squeeze it out and suck out some clouds.

For the cloud shadow I have put a little bit of light red into my cobalt blue and just dropped a little bit of it into the base of the clouds.

Now whilst my sky was still slightly damp, using my No.8 round brush, I firstly dropped in a little bit of cobalt blue mixed with a tiny bit of light red to represent some distant trees. Then on top of this here and there a little bit of Hooker's green mixed with burnt sienna. Then a few touches of just cobalt blue in the base of these. If you do all of this whilst your sky is still slightly wet, then you are going to get a softening to the tops of the trees, which gives you a more distant hazy effect.

For the bigger chunkier trees to the right, I have used firstly yellow ochre with my ĺ" wash brush, simply drop it on nice and wet. Then some Hooker's green and burnt sienna on top of this leaving the yellow ochre showing through. Then some cobalt blue in the base areas of these trees to give a little bit of depth. Underneath the trees and a quick swath of yellow ochre, this is my grasses on the bank. For these distant boats I have used cobalt blue for the top parts and my No.8 round brush, but you will notice that the white hulls of the boats are not just left white.

I have washed over with a mixture of cobalt blue and burnt sienna, really weak, to give a bit of shadow. The boat to the extreme left corner is a mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, to give a nice deep blue. For the mast I have again used cobalt blue and light red but this time my No.3 rigger brush, and one quick stroke downwards. Donít hover about and be scared about this kind of thing; the more you deliberate the more chance you have of making a wiggly line rather than a straight one.



In this next image I have used exactly the same colours for the boats, but with my ĺ" wash brush to create a few broken reflections. This I before I have even started the water properly. There is a little bit of a jetty poking out from the left-hand side, this was done with a mixture of raw umber and burnt sienna, and with my ĺ" wash brush a few strokes, again donít fiddle with this but stick the reflection on underneath with the same colour.
For the tree to the left-hand side, I have done a few boughs sticking out here and there so that when I leave some gaps in the trees I will see some tree trunk through it, this was done with my No.8 round brush and a little bit of raw umber mixed with cobalt blue. For the foliage itself, with my ĺ" wash brush, tap on with some yellow ochre nice and wet, whilst it's still wet, some Hooker's green and burnt sienna mixed.

I am using the side of my brush and daubing on rather than using my brush solidly, because this way you get a ragged edge on your trees rather than a sharp edge. The same colours but a lot lighter in the base areas of these trees for my grasses. Whilst Iím using my Hooker's green and burnt sienna mixture, I stuck a heck of a lot more water into it and very loosely washed over the water areas in the middle distance to give effect of reflections of the trees.



For the two boats with covers on, over on the left-hand side, the one furthest away was painted with a mixture of cobalt blue and light red and I used my No.8 round brush. But then whilst this was still wet using my ĺ" wash brush suck out a few lighter areas here and there as light catches the cover. The foreground one is done using exactly the same process but using the Charles Evans sand colour with a tiny bit of raw umber into it. Over to the right-hand side, you will see that I have painted that little bit of jetty just hanging out. This was done with my No.8 round brush again, a little bit of yellow ochre and raw umber mixed, nice and weak, on the top part. Then just raw umber down the side.

A few flicks of Hooker's green and burnt sienna using my ĺ" wash brush gives me the grasses around the side of this. Now for the big boat's cabin, this was a rusty old looking thing, but it was quite bright. I have used yellow ochre mixed with light red. Remember, donít paint the windows you will need to see through those and for those I have used a little bit of cobalt blue and Hooker's green in it, nice and weak. The hull of this boat was painted black, but of course I never use a manufactured black, make your black instead. For this one, it's ultramarine blue with burnt sienna, about equal quantities.

 The brown boat in front of this was painted using my No.8 round brush and raw umber mixed with a touch of burnt sienna. Once we have painted the whole thing we need to get some shadow in the inside. My mixture for this is cobalt blue, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna.

Whilst Iím painting the shadows on the bank, chuck a few shadows on the jetty using the same colours mixed. The boat with the cover in front of this one was painted exactly the same as the two over the other side. But this time you will notice a little bit of the white hull showing at the rear. Wash into this with a very weak mix of cobalt blue and light red.



And now it's time for the water. I have got a weak mix of cobalt blue and light red so it's slightly greyer. With my 3/4" wash brush very simply just fill it in leaving just a few bits of white paper showing here and there. For the lily pads I used my No.8 round brush and sucked out a few bits here and there, so that I could have some light left around the areas where I dropped in a mixture of Hooker's green and yellow ochre.

Donít forget to put a few bits of this into the water as well for a little bit of reflection. At this stage I am using my ĺ" wash brush slightly damp, sucking out a few strands of paint in the by now dried water, which we painted earlier. This gives a bit of reflection from the masts in the distance.
Now it's time for the foreground grasses. Donít fiddle about with these. I'm using my ĺ" wash brush and firstly whack on some yellow ochre, fairly strong. Followed by Hooker's green and burnt sienna and then some cobalt blue here and there.

I then went in with my finger nails and scraped out some lighter grasses before finally adding a few touches of light red here and there with the corner of my brush. Then I added a few little bits of alizarin crimson. The most difficult part of the scene is painting quickly or certainly more speedily than you would at home because everything is drying so much quicker on you.

Hope you enjoyed this one. Now go on location and give it a go yourself.