Step by step watercolour demonstration
Painting a fishermen and boat in Watercolour.
A step-by-step demonstration.
Below is a demonstration of a two fishermen alongside a boat at hastings.

Please do not copy or reproduce (repost, put in blog etc) this demonstration for 'any' reason.
Copyright: Alistair Butt and third parties have reproduction rights.
Hastings, Sussex - Copyright - Alistair Butt plus other companies - reproduced here with written consent
Stage One:
The landing of these wonderful old wooden boats (sadly getting fewer in number) takes between one and two minutes to haul up the beach so I positioned myself on the best side (for the light at the time) and took a few reference pictures as the boat was pulled up the beach.

Afterwards a drawing was done of the boat in its final position with some positional notes of the figure as he quickly cleaned one of the nets before taking the catch for sale. The drawing and one photograph (for the other figure) were used as reference and a drawing produced on a piece of stretched watercolour paper.

As with most of my paintings, all the white parts of the painting are masked (I use the colourless masking fluid from Winsor & Newton). The first wash was to establish the light grey sky and get some background colour (using loose washes) into the other areas as the water dried.
Stage Two:
For most of my paintings the working from background to foreground rule applies, this was abandoned for this painting. To speed up the working of the next washes a line of masking fluid was applied to the edge of the figures and the boat plus the highlights on the surf and beach. (Note: This did not cover the whole area as the masking fluid can sometimes lift the surface of the paper).

Three washes of increasing tone and colour produced the sea. Some of these colours were brought down into the beach area to give the damp look. The harbour wall was painted next with two wet into wet washes and the edges softened.

The next area to be painted was that of the foreground, at this time a mixture of sand and pebbles (after every storm it changes). This was painted in a series of different colours using small bobs, patches with the brush to represent the pebbles, taking care not to paint areas with no pebbles. The rubber boots and planks of wood (used to slide the boat on) were painted next followed by the deep shadows from the figures and under the boat.
Stage Three:
I then moved to the lower section of the hull. The main thing to get right was the correct tonal difference between the hull and the sea and the hull and the foreground. Three background (mid tone washes) washes established the main colour and shadow areas.

Before the pencil lines (draw for the planks) disappeared I painted these in using a dark shadow and then used a series of dry washes using different colours/tones to obtain the texture of the planks and shape to the hull. By looking through the photos compared with the drawing I noticed the reflection of the left hand fisherman in the then still wet boat, so I include that and positioned the figure correctly (this was done in the planning stage, before the painting was started).
Stage Four:
This stage is almost a repeat of Stage Three using the three base washes to establish the colour and shape of the hull followed by painting the lines between the planks. Instead of going darker, as for the lower section of hull, the next process was to paint the chipped red paint on the hull.

Two or three dry washes with some added detail in brown/black created the correct effect. The areas is shadow received a further wash to bring them out more.
Stage Five:
The following two stages are relatively simple and alike. Each of the elements: plastic containers, poles, flags etc were painted using three washes: a light, mid and dark of the correct colour.

While painting the plastic containers the tonal difference between these and the sea wall (the most distant object) had to be correct to establish any distance/recession within the painting.

This was followed by a single shadow wash to all areas in shadow. I then added a bit more tone into shadow areas on the hull sides around the boat number.
Stage Six:
Like Stage Five, three washes established the cabin (light, mid, dark), with further detail washes for the window frames and adding some texture to the front and side panels. A single shadow wash was added to give more form.
Stage Seven:
The final areas to paint were the two figures. Individual areas were painted, like the jacket then trousers of the right hand figure using up to three or four washes to create form within the clothing.

When both figures and the fishing net were complete, all areas in shadow were given one or two more washes.

Copyright:
Alistair Butt and third parties have reproduction rights.
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Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration Copyright 2012 - Alistair Butt - click for watercolour demonstration