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Paul Talbot Greaves Watercolour demonstration

In May 2008 professional artist and tutor Paul Talbot-Greaves provided a watercolour demonstration of a fishing boat scene from Staithes.

Paul had sketched the scene beforehand which required thinking and planning rather than painting. This prep work focussed on the composition; deciding what to leave out of the photo and using masking fluid for the boat.

Rather than building up layers of paint, Paul puts tones of foliage on from the beginning. More detail will be put on the foliage later to make it more 3 dimensional.

Using raw sienna and cobalt blue Paul puts in light sections of the rocks before ading darker shadows. He leaves some white paper where the light is intense, and uses a stronger mix for the darker rocks. Changing some of the paint proportions adds interest to the image.

Modelling in the shape of the rocks helps to brighten the picture and shows us what is happening in terms of light direction. Expressive brush strokes are used to show the direction of the rocks.

Using Alizarin Crimson and touch of lemon yellow Paul paints the boat. Sap green creates the reflection on the boat and Burnt Sienna and Paynes Grey is used for the bottom.


Soft highlights are created on the boat using a clean brush and tissue. Paul likes to finish off everything above the water first so that he knows what reflections he will include.


The supports along the banking will create nice reflections. Sap green and burnt sienna are used for the water. Paul also makes sure he has the reflection colours mixed in order to drop these into the wet paint.

The cab is white but in shadow and requires some subtle shading. White paper is left to show strong light. Paul ensures the colours are kept clean and fresh. Notice the different tones on the windows.

The ropes on the boat are created by painting the edge of card with thick white paint, bending it and then placing the edge carefully to create the curved image of the rope on the painting.


Paul uses a hairdryer to warm up the masking tape and as it is lifted off it comes off cleanly.


For the light on the water Paul uses a clean brush and makes vertical strokes.

After 2.5 hours Paul is pleased with the result and the art group members have had an enjoyable and informative afternoon.



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