"Art students should be aware that they can demand to be taught to paint and draw." (Jeane Duffey)
painting features a statue at the top of a column on a 1930s Civil
Service building. The noble-looking figure, holding a boat, represents the
Government’s role in sustaining the nation’s fishing industry.
interpretation will be half-realistic, half-abstract, with heightened colours
and a simplified background.
140 lb (300gsm)
watercolour paper, ‘not’ surface, pre-stretched on a board
(Winsor & Newton): New Gamboge, Raw Sienna, Gold Ochre, Indanthrene Blue,
Cobalt Blue, Neutral Tint, Burnt Umber
Brushes: large round
brush, medium round brush, fine round brush
a 2B pencil, draw the statue. Use a ruler for the straight lines. Do not extend
the drawing right to the edges of the paper, as the subject is to be ‘vignetted’.
Vignetting is a method of fading out surrounding detail, which helps to soften
a static subject like this one.
this stage you can have some fun, letting paint mix, move and run on the paper.
prepare separate puddles of New Gamboge, Raw Sienna and Gold Ochre, but make
them weak. With your large brush, dampen parts of the paper with clean water while
leaving other parts dry. Using all 3 colours, mixing them randomly, brush paint
around the figure’s head and shoulders and down the column. In damp areas, paint
will spread beyond the pencil outlines – just let this happen.
the initial washes are dry, use the same colours to establish features and
shadow areas on the statue. For the masonry to the sides, apply a stronger mix
of Gold Ochre, but fade it out with clean water just short of the edges of the
areas of the statue and the masonry with more Gold Ochre.
Indanthrene Blue, Cobalt Blue, a touch of Neutral Tint and plenty of water, introduce
a loose, light wash around the head. Apply the same mix to areas below the
statue, where there are metal-framed windows.
the board vertically by the top to cause a few paint runs. These will emphasise
the linear character of the subject.
more Indanthrene Blue pigment to the mix. Build up layers on the window glass
and allow to dry.
a mix of Indanthrene Blue and Neutral Tint in equal measures.
clean water around the figure’s head and shoulders. Drop some of the mix onto
the wet paper, particularly in the top right corner, and let it spread out.
the wet sheen starts to leave the paper, sprinkle just a few grains of salt in
the top right corner. These will absorb paint, creating a mottled effect that
suggests pitted stone. (This may take a minute or two to happen – be patient!)
to dry. Then gently remove the grains of salt.
to the medium brush. Work down from the top of the paper. Be slow and
methodical in your approach.
the Indanthrene Blue/Neutral Tint mix from Stage 4, paint the shadowed parts of
the figure’s head and shoulders. Allow to dry and then darken if necessary.
onto the boat, hands and the upper column, using the same approach. Where the
blue mix glazes areas that were earlier painted yellow, the greenish result
suggests mosses and lichens on the stone. Allow to dry and then re-paint the areas
which are darkest.
a fine brush, paint in the vertical lines on the column and the metal window
frames. It will help if you turn the painting on its side to do this.
Burnt Umber to the blue mix. Apply shadows and grooves on the horizontal
masonry behind the statue.
touches of Gold Ochre to small parts of the statue.
this point the painting is almost complete. Allow to dry. Finally, add paint to
any areas that still require darkening or touching up.