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Bill Newton Watercolour Landscape Demonstration
13 July 2007


Based on a painting done at Upshire, Essex, Bill had prepared a fairly detailed pencil drawing on unstretched 300lb Waterford Rough paper.

He had rearranging the proportions to improve the composition. Background trees were "planted" where they would best emphasize the roof shapes of the hamlet.

Bill wetted the paper with a 2" flat brush, but he cut meticulously around the rooftops to leave the buildings (but not the trees) dry.

The sky was started with a darkish grey area to balance the weight of the composition. Leaving some white for the top of the cloud, the rest of the sky was filled with blue, warmed with touches of red. Colour was re-mixed frequently (often on the wet paper) to avoid monotony.

Tone was graduated to leave the lightest areas around the horizon, where the interest was, with darker tones top and bottom. Raw Sienna was the basis of the foreground, right up to the bottom of the buildings.

At this stage everything (except the buildings) was still damp. Using a smaller round brush, trees were gradually created with warmer colours (no greens initially). The detail of the distant horizon was put in with Cobalt Blue - its brightness killed somewhat by the existing Raw Sienna. Roofs, using different mixes of Light Red and Raw Sienna and Raw Umber, were put in with a 3/8" flat brush.

Using what he called "careful carelessness", cooler colours were put to the left and right and warmer ones nearer the centre.

The walls of all but the main white building were done with mixtures of the same colours. By this stage it had become essential to be thinking of consistent shadows: in buildings and trees. Lemon Yellow (sometimes with a little Burnt Sienna), applied over the dirty blue of the trees, greened them very effectively.

Bill used a tiny brush to apply pure Ultramarine shadows under eaves, windows, doorways etc. and under bushes (leave touches of white paper on the tops). For bigger areas of shadow and all sorts of other darks, Burnt Sienna neutralizes the brightness of the Ultra.

Foreground green grass was mostly blue over the dry Raw Sienna, edges picked out with a shadow colour whilst the grass was still wet. Finally, once everything was dry, the extreme foreground was darkened with a transparent glaze.
As detail developed I had noted a few general observations:
* tree trunks are dark against the sky but light against hedges
* put touches of colour for the lights and darks of the trees
* use sky blue in some of the windows (but make them irregular)
* use a small rigger and a ruler for straight lines (e.g. boarding)
* distant hedges have flat bottoms and undulating tops
* put touches of one or two colours all over the picture to pull it together
* understate
* for "rim light", draw the rim in pencil, paint carefully up to the pencil, down to the pencil and finally rub out the pencil
* Pebeo Drawing Gum is better than ordinary masking fluid.
Whilst waiting for the foreground to dry we had an extra short demonstration of a "5 minute tree". Start with Lemon Yellow and Burnt Sienna foliage building up light touches with the side of the brush. Add Ultra and Burnt Sienna wet into wet for darker foliage and, using a No2 rigger, for lost and found branches and trunks. Easy!

Visit Bill at www.williamnewton.com, email williamnewton1@aol.com or call 01708 345742

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