Step by step watercolour demonstration
Painting a marine subject in Watercolour with small fishing boats in a harbour. A step-by-step demonstration.
Below is a step-by-step painting demonstration of a marine painting in watercolour.

The copyright of this image is also owned by a third party with world wide reproduction rights - do not copy - save etc, or reproduce (repost, put in blog etc) this for 'any' reason.
Woodbridge - Copyright - Alistair Butt plus other companies - reproduced here with written consent
Stage One:
Two detailed drawings along with some pre 'layout' sketches were used as reference and a detailed drawing produced on a piece of stretched watercolour paper.

By no means an 'easy' subject but that makes it even more enjoyable. 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 sky and get some background colour (using loose washes) into the other areas as the water dried.
Stage Two:
The distant hill, which was mostly made up of buildings, was painted next. Each roof shape was painted, followed by the walls and then the trees/bushes and grass areas.

The colour was varied to relate to each roof/building before a darkening shadow wash was applied to all areas in shadow. Gaps were left for the pale masts etc from the boats.

Finally, some softening of the distant hill, along the top edge, with clear water.
Stage Three:
Moving forward, the main group of buildings on the left were then painted. These were all painted using the same method.

The main areas (walls, roof etc) are painted first using a base colour followed by washes of mid and/or dark colour's if needed for added detail or texture (stones/bricks etc). The details like windows, chimneys etc are then painted before the shadow wash or washes give the shapes more form.

The same method is used for the small boats in front of the buildings. The final part of this stage was painting the bridge with the main objective being getting the relationship (in tone) between the bridge and background correct.

The bridge was painted using three dark washes leaving gaps for the masts and other equipment attached to them.
Stage Four:
Each building on the right had its base colour painted first. This was followed by any detailing to the main area then the detail of the windows, signs, railings, people etc were painted.

The dark wooden posts attached to the harbour wall were next using three washes with small lighter areas left (edges catching more light) to give some shape. The whole area was then give one or more shadow washes being careful not to paint areas in sunlight like the front railings, the line of white bulbs etc.

The last part before moving onto the boats was to paint the water which was painted using the same colour as the sky but slightly darker followed by some dry brush texture to add some ripples to the water and shadow/reflection by the bridge.
Stage Five:
The next few stages follow the same pattern. For painting the boats the usual three washes are used on each part or section building up until the whole is complete.

The base colour (lightest colour of the object/section), followed by mid colour (of the object/section) for shape or texture then finally the dark colour (of the object) for additional shape/texture.

Note that within these washes the colour will be varied and /or adjusted to suit the object being painted or to add contrast. While the boat was being painted the reflection was also done.
Stage Six:
The second boat was painted using the same methods as stage five but had more detail due to its angle and the added problem of the light metal framework.

The boat was split in sections so that as one was drying another could be worked on. The cabin with mast etc and inside of the back areas were painted first (painting around the metal framework) using a number of washes, detailing and then shadow wash. The mid and dark colour for the framework completed the upper section.

The buoys and their reflections can next followed by three dark washes for the hull (plus reflection's) of the boat painting around the lettering on the side. A shadow wash over the stern and that cast from the boat to the right completed this boat.
Stage Seven:
This stage involved the painting of the middle distant boats and the flight of steps.

The painting of the boats, fishermen, flags etc was a series of small shapes painted in the correct colour made up from a number of washes. The areas in shadow were give a shadow wash.

The steps had the main colour painted first followed by the dark of each step and wooded blocks (in places two washes) plus some reflection in the water.

Next the area in shadow was given a shadow wash.
Stage Eight:
The last boat to be painted was again broken down into sections. Like in stage six the cabin and masts were painted first followed by the hull.

All the reflections were painted before the whole of the foreground water was given a wash of sky colour but slightly darker than that used for the middle distant water.

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
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