Evening Fields

Evening Fields. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

I painted a small sketch of this a while ago and decided to do a larger version for class next week. I usually find that scaling up a painting isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. The washes behave differently and you have to alter your technique to handle the larger areas. But this time it worked out – I think we’ll have a blast doing this on Tuesday.

Edit: The following videos are a short timelapse of the painting and the full 1hr 30min demo with me burbling alongside.


Evening Fields

Evening Fields. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 8”x10”

A change from the value studies today. Yesterday’s scene came out so well I thought I’d risk a little color. I’m still treating the scene pretty much as value but introducing color (and chroma) as well. Nothing fancy here. No thoughts about atmosphere, mood, texture, interesting shapes. themes or anything. Mind was clear of everything and just concentrating on putting the right colors in the right places. It was the most enjoyable painting I’ve done in a long time and it came out well.

Value Study Landscape


Painting is slowly getting easier in that it doesn’t feel like pulling teeth any more. The results may or may not be getting better but at least the process is getting more familiar and I’m getting some enjoyment out of it.

I’m continuing with value studies from my lucky dip photo bag. This one I applied my simplifying technique of stripping everything back to a few value shapes and finally a single detail shape with the bulk of the contrast. This detail shape can be a pretty odd shape and, in this scene, includes the foreground trees as well as the bushes on the other side of the bank. They’re contiguous in 2d if not in 3d.

I think this worked out quite well. It’s not meant to be a finished painting but I think I could work this one up if I wanted to. Onwards!

Boldt Castle and Value Studies

Boldt Castle. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

I always seem to be writing this but I’m trying to get back in the saddle again and finding it hard. I’m out of practice focusing on painting (and it takes a lot of focus) so this was a struggle. Not a pick of mine but one of the WetCanvas watercolor challenges.

After this struggle I decided to go back to some value studies to get my hand back in. I retried the castle at a smaller size (5.5×7) and in monochrome.


Still not much to write home about but I’m feeling a little less rusty.

Next I plucked a photo from my stash of ‘what to paint when I can’t decide’ and it was a rather boring photo of trees. Now sometimes the most boring photo can make for an interesting painting to paint. And so it was in this case. It still doesn’t possess much flair but I could feel myself getting back into intense observation and was really interesting to do. I should do more of these – really contemplative.


The Elusive Zbukvic Touch


Every now and again I torture myself and try and get some insight into Joseph Zbukvic’s technique. I’ve had an inspirational printout of one of his wonderful Venice paintings on my wall for a while and I foolishly wondered if I could learn anything from trying a copy.

Now I wouldn’t recommend this if your ego is not built on rock solid foundations. I’ve tried before with varying degrees of success and didn’t really come away with any lessons learned. This time I made a little headway.

Firstly his values are surprisingly close together. The scene above (his is the bottom one of course) looks as though it has very dramatic value changes but actually they’re almost all about 3 steps apart. The sky especially near the horizon darkens significantly and helps to tie everything together.

Secondly his ‘colors’ are REALLY close to gray. Low chroma in other words. I got the Munsell chips out and had to go to my ‘nearly neutrals’ section to even come close to matching them. It’s really easy to slop far too much bright color in there even when you think you haven’t.

Once I’d got to grips with both those things I didn’t fair too badly. I till could have compressed my value range even more but on the whole this was one of my better attempts.

Here is a preliminary sketch I did before the bigger one.


This was definitely worth doing. Gave me confidence that at least my values were in the right ballpark.

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

What a fun painting to do! Enjoyed all of this and I had the video cameras going too so it will up on youtube in the near future. A lot of careful color mixing which paid off and some nice splattering and wet iin wet color mixing in the castle walls. Very happy with this.

Here is the first part of the video – the planning, color matching and drawing stages.

And here’s the second part – the actual painting.

Paint along with Gary Tucker


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Gary Tucker kindly ran a free online 2 hour workshop today. I found it challenging to say the least. I gained a lot of sympathy for my students as it was difficult to concentrate on what he was doing and his vision and also manage to paint a decent painting myself. Had a lot of fun thought and managed to make some progress with those wretched trees.

Here’s the reference photo. I had to dig deep to get inspired by this – another problem with trying to get inside someone else’s head.


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