Intermediate Watercolor Jan 24 – Session 2

Thursday Jan 4th 2024 – 1pm-3pm EST

Zoom link

This is a fantastic scene to paint. Again we’ll be focusing on the big shapes and values. Getting the silhouette of the boats and foreground against the water and sky makes a fabulous painting.

I will record the drawing ahead of time and send out a link to it (it will also be on the youtube playlist too). If you want to do the drawing ahead of time please go ahead. I know that often people want to take time over this.

(All session materials are linked off the main page)


  • Student paper for mixing color swatches
  • 100% cotton paper for the full painting (I’ll be using 10″x14″ but 9″x12″ is a good size too)
  • Value scale (See the Useful Tools page)
  • Pencil/Paint/Palette/Water/Paper towels/masking tape
  • Brushes: A larger brush for the sky and foreground washes. A slightly smaller (10 or 12) for the trees and more detailed areas.
  • Colors: Cobalt blue, Ultramarine, Burnt sienna, Vermillion/napthol/cad red (orangey red), Cad lemon/hansa yellow (greenish yellow), yellow ochre, black.

Reference Photo (click to enlarge and right click to download)

Fishing Boats

Reference Photo with grid

Fishing boats with grid
Fishing boats with grid

My Version (unfinished)

Fishing boats - Michele Clamp
Fishing boats – Michele Clamp

This isn’t quite finished. I wanted to show you the version before the final twiddly bit go in to show you how the big shapes work.

Drawing Video:

YouTube player

The Drawing:

Class Video:

YouTube player

(All Videos)

17 thoughts on “Intermediate Watercolor Jan 24 – Session 2

  1. Enjoyed this class despite complicated technical difficulties! Your process really helps me organize my thoughts. Looking forward to the boat …

    1. Really lovely Liz. Good shapes and just the right amount of detail. One thing – if it were me I might be tempted to glaze over the orange grasses just to narrow the value range in there. But that’s a quibble. It might also make the contrast with the water too great. I sometimes import the photo of a painting into sketchbook on my ipad and adjust it there to see what would happen.

      1. Thanks for your feed back. I so appreciate it. I agree the value range could use some smoothing out. I do not have an iPad at the moment. Is sketchbook a specific app or does it come with? Maybe I can do it on my iPhone?

        1. It’s an app and I think it’s free although there are others that do much the same thing. I don’t like using my phone for this – the screen is just too small for me. But then I have the smallest iphone so not surprising.

    1. I think it has a really nice calm feel to it. Your values are pretty close together but it works. I would say that the hull of the front boat could go down a step or so in value. It would help tie that big foreground shape together.

      But a great job – and your foreground graduated water wash is to die for.

  2. I can see I may need to go darker in some places, and tone down the nets.
    Enjoyed painting all the midtones in one shape … A little scary but it’s something I have been wanting to try. Thank you.

    1. Lovely Laura. I was wondering what you would make of this as the scene is pretty low chroma and I know you naturally tend towards the other direction. But it really works as the values are good. That sky has a wonderful glow to it and the cloud reflections work too.

      You could probably go a little darker in the foreground. It would make that sky really sing out.

  3. I think this is a bit overworked. I found the hull of the main boat quite challenging in terms of producing that beautiful fluidity of the dark bottom in both directions — the shadow below the water line and the weathered boat boards above the water line. All in all, a both fun and challening.

    1. Yes that dark shadow and reflection can be tricky. You can always go in multiple layers to build it up if you need to. But it’s a really nice painting. Beautiful muted colors without being too gray. Again I wonder if the hull and interior of that front boat could go slightly darker. Probably only needs half a step or so.

  4. This was a fun and challenging picture to paint! Learned a lot, especially about painting value shapes. I have always painted things in the past. I am happy with the overall results.

    1. Michele, I am glad it turned out as well as it did, but I am open to any and all suggestions. I know I fussed a lot with it in the end. And the area of reflection does not read well. Enjoyed your class. Carol

      1. I think it looks great. You have captured that slightly lighter area of the sun which works really well. And I rather like the reflection. Fantastic job.

  5. Despite my many mistakes and the power cut that we had whilst i was darkening the water – it is done!

    I’m sure I could and will do better so I will try it again. All feedback welcomed!

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