John Lovett Exercise – Landscape 2


I’m moving on through John Lovett’s second watercolor book and now we’re onto exercises for the reader!   He gives a set of photos at the end of each chapter and we have to go away and paint them using the techniques we’ve learned.    Here’s the first photo :


Not very inspiring but let’s see what we can do.   First a sketch:


Seems like a good plan to me.   Keep all the interest across the middle band,   plain sky and distant mountains, and nice and loose in the foreground.   Pretty much like we did yesterday but this time we’re on our own for the details.  

Ok off we go :


Amazingly I managed to screw up the sky again the first time round so I went back with a different brush and evened out the wash somewhat.   Distant mountains in with a little more color variation than yesterday.   So far so good.    

Now the foreground.


I think we’re still all right here.   Making good use of my trusty 1/2″ bristle brush and keeping some variation in the washes but not making it too dark.

Now the scary bit – trees!   


The middle distance trees are pretty simple and the darks and contrast kept for the middle center of interest trees.   Still happy.

Now for gussying up the center of interest and adding in some detail to finish it off.


Phew!   Not too bad at all.   Didn’t overdo the detail which turned out to be a good thing and added in a few splashes of red in the middle panel.    The final part was to put clear water on the river piece and drop in some color for reflections.   It all came together well in the end.

Now at the end of the book Mr Lovett shows us his take on the pictures (I didn’t peek honest).  Here’s his version :


Ooooh!   Now his version bears even less resemblance to the photo than mine and he’s obviously got a lot more contrast and simplified the shapes more.   Maybe tomorrow I’ll risk some glazing on each side on my version to see what happens.

John Lovett Exercise – Landscape


I was rooting around on the bookshelf this morning and came across one of my favorite watercolor books:  John Lovett’s Textures, Techniques and Special Effects for Watercolor.


Now I think the title is a bit misleading as it’s a first rate instruction book for watercolor full stop.   Never mind the special effects.     As i was feeling a little jaded I thought I’d start at the beginning and go straight through the book doing all the exercises.    It’ll keep me in practice but without troubling the brain cells too much.   And frankly it’s too hot for the brain cells to do anything anyway.

First up – landscapes.     Start with a loose drawing :


No problem here.   Trying to keep the shapes interesting and uneven without sacrificing what the subject it.

Next the sky wash :


Yeah.    This was meant to be an even wash over the whole sky and I screwed this up royally.    I should have my watercolorist badge stripped from me for this.   But never mind.  Onwards.


Light washes over the foreground to indicate some foliage and a little detail around the road (or is it a river?).    Remembered to keep things pretty light and used my 1/2″ bristle brush to keep the edges scruffy.    Pretty happy so far.


Distant hills in a slightly greyed purple.   Nothing fancy here and it’ll be mostly covered by trees anyway.


Now the trees.   It’s amazing how hard I have to try to keep the trees uneven.   It’s almost as if the brush has a will of its own and physically resists me.    I’m also building up the foreground a little here – again with the 1/2″ bristle brush.


We’re actually almost there now.   Amazing how quickly things come together.   A little shadow detail on the houses followed by some dark doors and windows.    The foreground has yet another layer of detail.  This time some red for interest and some dark lines for fences/grass.   


The only remaining thing was to *very* delicately put in some white lines for branches in the trees.    So easy to ruin everything here with some clumsy marks so less is more.

I’m liking the foreground very much.    Feels good.

Cheeky Giraffe

Cheeky giraffe.   Michele Clamp watercolor.   11″x14″

I had a new batch of Fabriano Artistico paper delivered today which I’ve been waiting for as paper supplies have run low.    After unpacking the goodies, however, I was sitting around procrastinating and being indecisive about what to paint.    I couldn’t face yet another Lake Bled fiasco (I have yet another one that I couldn’t face posting) but then remembered it is the start of a new month and wetcanvas.com would have a new challenge.

And a rather fine challenge it was.   Enormous fun to paint this.    Lots of lovely purples in the shadows which you wouldn’t expect at first sight.   Turns out giraffes have very strange faces but it came out extremely well.   Hooray for Fabriano Artistico and wetcanvas.com