Step by step watercolour demonstration
Painting a harbour at low tide in Watercolour.
A step-by-step demonstration.
Below is a step-by-step painting demonstration of a marine painting in watercolour.

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.
St Ives, Cornwall - Copyright - Alistair Butt plus other companies - reproduced here with written consent
Stage One:
I first did a pencil drawing onto watercolour paper which had been previously stretched. The first wash was to establish the sky.

The overcast sky was painted onto wet paper (clean water) using washes of greys to create the clouds. As this was drying I painted in the underlying colours for the buildings and boats being careful that no run back happened.
Stage Two:
Then next stage is to paint the background buildings and harbour wall. This started with a light grey mixed in places with either more blue or brown over most of the building or harbour wall area leaving areas of highlight (e.g. the top edge of harbour wall).

Next followed the painting of the roofs of each building, then adding details like the windows/chimneys etc before moving down to paint the wall using three washes (light to dark) to created the texture and stone pattern.

The final part for this stage was a light blue/grey shadow wash (even though the sky was overcast the light/shade difference needs to be established) covering all the buildings/wall apart from the highlight areas.
Stage Three:
This stage involves painting the area of dry sand and distant boats. The sand was two or three washes followed by adding some detail (previous high tide line), chains etc.

The boats were painted using mixes of the correct colour and tone (sometimes more that one wash) to create the shape. Again a light blue/grey (for shadow) wash covered all the sand/boats apart from highlight areas.
Stage Four:
The middle distant boats were painted using a series of washes. Anything from one to five washes is used to create the shape and colour of each boat. I usually work on one at a time doing inside - cabin etc (if seen) then the hull.

More detail was added to these boats than those painted in the previous stage. Again a shadow wash of light blue/grey covered these boats apart from highlight areas, this colour was also painted all over the area of wet sand/shallow water in the foreground and would become the highlights on the water for the next stage.
Stage Five:
To save time while painting the water, reflections and wet sand, I masked all the highlights using Winsor & Newton Colourless Masking Fluid.

A series of light to dark washes of the correct colour for the reflections were then painted.

Followed by the areas of sand above the water and then adding the details (ropes, buoys, gulls etc).

The masking fluid was the removed before another blue/grey wash was applied to the whole area.
Stage Six:
The last part to paint was the foreground boat. Like the other boats this one was painted using a series of washes (light to dark) to create the shape or colour of each section of the boat, I starting with the inside, then worked on the hull.

While the correct colour was on the brush the reflection was also painted plus adding details like the chains seen through the water. The level of detail on this boat was increased e.g. ropes, names etc. Like the other stages for this painting a blue/grey wash over the foreground boat completed the stage and the painting.

Copyright:
Alistair Butt and third parties have reproduction rights.
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