5-4-1 Prep for Assignment 5

For this project develop a series of five pictures using methods and a subject of your own choice.  For your paintings you will need to establish the aspects of the work that links them.

Review the techniques and materials used so far on the course and consider which could be useful to you now.

Once you have identified a subject area you will need to collect visual material. Concentrate on observation – getting to know as much of the character of your subject as you possibly can. You can draw, paint, photograph, collect objects and describe your subject verbally. Do some colour and composition studies in your sketchbooks.

Try out different approaches in small and larger sketchbooks. Work with different materials in a provisional way. Feel free to change your methods as your ideas change and develop.

Techniques and Materials used on Course

There has been a great variety of materials and techniques used by me during this course.  Some I had used previously but others were ‘found’ during my investigations into watercolour painting and research in books and on-line.

The techniques included the following:

  • Wet into wet and Wet into dry
  • Washes – flat wash, graduated wash, variegated wash
  • Colour blending and mixing – on the paper, on the palette
  • Layering colours / tones and Glazing
  • Textures – using the paper (including toothbrush), the brush and colour/tone
  • Using brushes – soft watercolour brushes, stiff acrylic brushes
  • Pen and wash, Mixed media
  • Splattering, Scumbling
  • Scumbling
  • Lifting colour and Dropping in colour
  • Scratching
  • Dry brush
  • Reserving highlights and lights areas by planning and careful painting (as opposed to reserving using resists)
  • Negative and positive painting
  • Using Opaque and transparent paint
  • Working from light to dark (quite different to how I usually work in other media.
  • Using toned grounds to set a mood and utilising this ground as a mid-tone.

The materials used included following:

  • Artists quality watercolour paints
  • Student quality paints in tubes / pans, plus a travel set of for outdoor use.
  • Oil pastels, soft pastels, ink, pencil, charcoal, acrylic paints, gouache
  • Brushes : Watercolour brushes, acrylic brushes, toothbrush
  • Resists : masking fluid, wax, gum Arabic, crayons and oil pastels
  • Papers: watercolour papers, coloured paper, cartridge paper, cardboard
  • Granulating fluid
  • Spray for wetting paper and to introduce random mixing
  • Using salt
  • Using sponges and other materials to introduce texture (wood, stone)
  • Cling film to introduce abstract textures
  • Watercolour pencils and water-soluble crayons and graphite pencils

For this series of paintings I think the main techniques should be mainly pure watercolour painting without some of the gimmick techniques such as plastic film texturing, salt etc.  For many of the sketches the use of pen and wash will help me get the idea down on paper quickly along with colour tone etc.

Much of the preparation work for this assignment is done in the visual diary I kept during and after the holiday.  There are three sketchbooks with drawings and colour sketches mostly done on the spot in Wales at the end of the summer.  I even managed to get a couple of sketches done in the hospital before I got dosed up and taken to op theatre.  It helped focus on anything but what was happening!

The Subject of the Series of Painting

This final Assignment, is a series of five paintings on a theme.  The theme I choose for the subject matter was my August holiday in Wales.  This was a memorable holiday for several reasons not least I am still off work several months after an accident I had during the holiday.

An innocuous walk in woods resulted in a serious leg injury, a stay in hospital, an operation and many months of recovery and rehab.  Hopefully back to work at the start of January after 5 months off rehabilitating.

My lovely wife drove me to locations for sketching and painting during the remainder of our holiday and ever since.  At least being on crutches and in plaster gave me an excuse to sit and draw etc.

One of the main results of my enforced inactivity and reduced mobility was that I by necessity became and observer rather than a participant in most activities.  This meant I had to look more that doing and for an artist this is one of the most important aspects of working.  I think my observational skills have improved as a result.  It also meant I was less conspicuous as a watcher as I was ‘stuck’ on a bench with my leg popped out in front in plaster and a set of crutches beside me.  The plastered leg and crutches became others focal point rather than my sketch book or paints.

There are many aspects to this theme and it will be based upon my recollections from the time, my visual diary and sketchbook and photos etc.

Before starting on this exercise and assignment I sat down and noted everything I could recollect from the holiday as a word list.  I then used this list along with my visual diary from the holiday and the holiday photos as the starting point for the works.

Word list – summer holiday in Wales


Beach – looking down on the beach from above, views along the beach

Meals – mussels, local cheeses

Places – beaches – Aberaeron, New Quay, Aberarth etc.

Views – the harbours, town centre –Aberaeron, church, wooden bridge

People – people in the pub, people walking down the street or around the harbour, crabbing and fishing

Pubs       Shopping             Markets – Cardiff

Sunsets / Sunrises – misty, reds, yellows, drama

Harbour and quay side

Pastel painted houses in a multitude of colours. (a view along a street is like looking at a paint box)

I had the intention to do some of the paintings on the beach but after the disastrous start to the holiday I could not get to the beach.  This series of paintings of necessity were produced from more stable ground

I did a great many sketches for the various paintings and I have selected several below for each of the paintings in the series.  There are also some ideas for paints that did not develop and a couple of other paintings which did not make the cut with the five selected for the series.

Prep sketches below:

5-4-1-6b  1-002



5-4-1-1e  5-4-1-5c

5-4-1-2a 5-4-1-2c


























5-4-1-3b 5-4-1-3d






5-4-1-4b  5-4-1-4a

5-4-1-4c   5-4-1-4d