Friday, 30 January 2015

Stretching Watercolour paper

How to Stretch Watercolour paper

I'm often getting asked about stretching watercolour paper and I've heard many funny stories about how people have gone about this easy task. So here are a few tips.
To paint on watercolour paper without it lifting or laying in deep ridges you need to stretch paper before applying watercolour paint. Once stretched it should keep flat and tightly stretched making painting much easier.
1. Fill a sink with cold water, immerse the paper totally in the water for approx 2 to 4 minutes.

2. You will need a board  approx 1/2 inch thick, I find MDF board works well. 
You will need some Gumstrip which is bought in a roll.I have found that nothing but Gumstrip works. This brown tape comes on a roll and can be easily torn to the size you will need. Gumstrip has one side sticky and one side paper. The Sticky side is the one that we will dampen with a wet sponge.

3. Take the paper out of the water shake off the excess water. Lay the paper right side facing* on to the board. Dampen the Gumstrip sticky side, with a sponge and fasten down firmly, working one piece at a time working around the board.
4. Leave to dry overnight making sure the board is laid flat.
* Some makes of paper have a right and wrong side to paint on, to tell which is the correct side, hold the paper up to the light and look at a corner for the watermark embossed mark. Bockingford can be painted on both sides.

With your paper stretched your ready to start the Online Watercolour course

Or you can use a paper stretcher which I highly recommend

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Snow scene Demonstration in Watercolour

Robinson from the path to Latrigg
I thoroughly enjoyed painting this beautiful scene to a class of very inspired artists.
Colours used in the recipe are Cerulean, Cobalt and Ultramarine  Blues, Permanent Rose, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow and Cadmium Red and Yellow.
Arches not 140lbs paper stretched
Other techniques used Candle wax, Masking fluid and  palette knife painting.
Fancy joining my online watercolour course

For more details

Monday, 26 January 2015

A walk to Red Tarn

With the snow still on the fells and mild conditions approaching I decided to make a visit to Red Tarn. Number One Art Critic thought we were heading out for a quiet walk, not a true Winter Artic experience. We made out way up the snow covered fells, sometimes waist deep in places. The rescue helicopter was hovering above Helvellyn making you very aware of the dangers ahead.

With winds blowing strongly in our face all the way to the Tarn. I wondered if we may get some shelter there for a sandwich and quick sketch!

The Tarn was nearly fully frozen with temperatures feeling like -10 at least and the wind even stronger, no sketches were going to be done here. But what a stunning wild place to be. It was difficult enough just holding the camera still.

A group deciding to do Swirral Edge, not for us today we are here just for the views

We retreat back to the 'Hole in the wall' but still the wind is strong and snow clouds are rolling in.

Looking back down the valley towards St Sundays Crag, I love the light shinning though the clouds. 
We found the wall hidden in the snow drift and dug our way through.

Out of thee snow level and Ullswater  appeared bathed in Sunshine, Wow what an inspiring walk.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Painting en plein in the Lake District

The bag was packed with Acrylics not Watercolours hoping these would not freeze!
 Hot Chocolate was in the flask and many layers of clothes were added. I was ready. The car temperature gage flashed at 1 degrees. This was hard core painting, but what I love the most. I leapt out of the car and ran around getting the easel ready, found a handy trunk of tree for the palette and brushes to sit on and then just revelled in beautiful stunning scenery. Days like these stay with you for ages, seeing colours of pink, mauve and lilac, the peace and quiet and wildlife all go into a painting. I managed a couple of hours, the clouds kept rolling in over Blencathra and Sharp Edge. Suddenly it would be there bathed in sunshine and then Gone! The joy of en plein

Rolling clouds blocking my view!!

Painted on a peach primed canvas, don't worry I've not gone colour blind.
I doubt very much my June course will be as cold,
 I'm fingers crossed for 20 degrees and  Sunshine.
If you fancy painting en plein in the stunning and Inspiring Lake District
check out my four day course suitable for beginners and Intermediates

Monday, 19 January 2015

Summer Painting course at Grasmere

 I've popped a few photo's to entice on a cold Winter's day.
These are all taken on warm sunny days painting around Grasmere and Rydal water.
If you have always wanted to paint outdoors and would like a few days in The Lake District
I have a Watercolour  course organised from Monday 22nd to Thursday 25th June
Walking to beautiful locations which will include fields full of wild flowers, river banks with Foxgloves, mountain streams and waterfalls and of course Rydal and Grasmere Lake
Monday 22nd  to Thursday 25th June 2015
Staying full board at the Glenthorne with the use of the studio
The course is suitable for beginners and Intermediates and the price is £395.00
This is a truly beautiful time in the Lakes if you would like to book a place just email me
 for more details 

Easedale valley ten minutes walk from the Glenthorne

Grasmere Lake

Foxgloves galore and old stone walls

Painting in the grounds of Glenthorne
Tea garden with a perfect view.

Flower meadows and sunshine

Old packhorse bridge.
 For more details see

Friday, 16 January 2015

Gable from Wastwater

Gable from Wastwater.
Painted in Watercolours
I watched 'Scafell A year of a mountain' and felt I had to paint the next day, Wastwater.
 It was a great film, and worth catching. Watching it on a damp wild damp made me certainly look forward to Spring and getting out on the fells. I have just five Wainwrights left to conquer, One been Yewbarrow the mighty ridge in the painting and another Scafell!
Painted on Arches 140lbs with a mixture of warm colours and a few hairy moments painting the sky!
The joy of watercolours and watching paint move into places while it dies.
I've had some super paintings back this week from my online course, it is a good time of the year to get into painting. If you fancy joining and gaining a few new tips and lots of personal feedback
 To purchase 'Gable from Wastwater' email me at
or follow the link below.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Afternoon Stroll Watercolour

Afternoon Stroll
Painted in Watercolours.
I've painted this scene a few times, but each time it's very different,  I try new approaches and love seeing what the amazing watercolour medium can do. I imagine a couple of friends walking in a woodland, all our friends seem to have dogs. They're having a chat and putting the world to right.
Only primary colours are used, wax, and the water spray also come into action.
I'm using a new Online gallery which has accepted my painting
Here's a link if you fancy taking a look.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Get Inspired to paint watercolours

Winter stream.
This beautiful scene caught my eye and I think it will make an interesting subject to paint.
Where to start? The background a wet in wet wash, maybe a touch of masking fluid in the stream to help to show the direction of the water. Trees painted with a sponge and rigger brush. Lemon Yellow could work for the cool winter grass!!!
Do you start the New Year wondering what to paint, is the blank canvas still blank?
 Grey January days don't always help gain inspiration.
Would you like to paint a view like this but no idea where to start.
No evening or day classes nearby.
Why not join my Online Watercolour course
Six projects in each course with step by step instructions and lots of personal feedback when you get stuck or just have any watercolour questions.
The price is £55.00 which includes sketches,
colour tags for each project and a material list to get you started.
Course One Ideal for Beginners or those getting back into painting.
Price £55.00
Windermere Sunset Course One
Course Two More challenging subjects and new tips along the way.
Price £55.00
Buttermere Course Two

Course Three Ideal  if you are wanting to paint colourful Mediterranean
or Alpine scenes suitable for Intermediate Price £75.00

French Doorway Course Three


Some recent reviews from Online students

Only one more project and I will have completed the course. I have enjoyed it and I have found the techniques and information very helpful. The Sistine chapel next !!! Chris
I do feel through doing these tutorials I am learning things I may not have persevered with so much if I didn't have to send them to you for comment!
Many thanks for you help. Barbara
Yes this course I like very much because every single picture is a challenge on its own and stretches me a bit further.  Maria
 This is going to be a real challenge, all those reflections, masking fluid and Winsor blue also painting from a photo will be great, makes me feel I'm progressing and will soon be able to paint better pictures. Thanks again Margaret
I must admit that I am very impressed with your courses; they are far superior to other courses Keith
Thanks Jane!  I've gotten many nice comments on facebook from my friends.  I think I've inspired several to take up the brush - especially since we are all retirement age. They say "wish I could do that" and of course I reply "you absolutely could!".. I feel more confident and less scared of the white paper. 
I feel that your course has given me some skills/tips I can build on - with lots of practice!  I've been very pleased with your course and I think it is great value for the fee. Susan
 Determined to have a go at painting the sheep but, as you can see, I need to practice more!!  That's one of  the really good things about your course, each project provides something new to tackle and practice with determination to get better.  I added a few birds to compensate for the not so brilliant sheep! Neil