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Watercolour Step By Step Demonstrations

The Forge / Carlton in Cleveland

As I mentioned on my blog in July 2005, I have been looking for an 'interior' subject to paint for a long time. It was just by chance that I had the opportunity to take photographs of Mr Ward's forge in Carlton in Cleveland, this is the resulting watercolour, I hope you find the following 'step by step' demonstration interesting and helpful?

As in all photographs, the result never matches the initial excitement and atmospheric feel of the subject, so the artist must draw heavily from the inspiration first felt. Don't be afraid to adjust the colour & tonal relationships seen in the photograph and try to achieve colour changes & transparency in all shadow areas.


Step One

I used the photograph as a memory jogger for 'drawing out' and compositional decision making.
The drawing was made using a 2b pencil on Arches 300lb Rough watercolour paper. The highlights were then 'masked out'.



Step Two

I wet the paper thoroughly, using clean water and introduced the colours softly. This stage must be worked quickly with confidence. The colours I used were: Raw Sienna, Permanent Magenta, Burnt Sienna, and Cobalt Blue & Cobalt Violet.

Step Three

With the masking fluid still in place I began to place further 'wet into wet' washes, (this time on dry paper) in an attempt to advance the painting, whilst retaining many soft edges and transitions.


Step Four

I removed some of the masking fluid, and the painting was developed on dry paper using the above colours plus Ultra Marine Blue, which was used in varying strengths with Burnt Sienna, to develop the 'darks'.

Step Five

This stage is a continuation of Step 3, but by now I have begun to strengthen the colour mixers and add 'accents', for example to the red objects on the bench.


Step Six

I finished the painting by developing it further, making sure the tonal balance was retained.

Throughout the painting, I tried to create 'lost & found' edges to give variation and depth, without making it over detailed.

In certain places I used some unifying glazes, which enabled me to 'tie' two or three areas together tonally. For example, the patch of light along the back wall adjacent to the blacksmith's hearth was glazed with pure Raw Sienna and Cobalt Violet.


The Forge / Carlton in Cleveland

(Available as a Limited Edtion Signed Print)

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