How Not to Make Mud – Watercolour for Beginners

Getting started. That piece of white paper is mighty intimidating!!

Getting started. That piece of white paper is mighty intimidating!!

Have you ever wanted to try watercolours but been too frightened to try? Or have you tried and ended up with a dull, muddy mess?
You need to come to one of Neville Peterkin’s watercolour workshops at Lyndendale Gallery. No mud here!
This workshop was for beginners and Neville started everyone off using basically the same image.
However, before they could do anything, they needed to know how to do a watercolour wash. Neville’s demonstration made it look easy. But, as everyone soon discovered, they could do it too. The trick was to keep a puddle of watercolour and work it down the page.

A first try at the watercolur wash. neville says if you can do a wash, you can do watercolour

A first try at the watercolur wash. Neville says if you can do a wash, you can do watercolour

What about the paper? It needs to be stretched. how? Wet it then tape it to a board. Sounds easy and it turned out that everyone found it so.

Neville takes the wet paper from the water and places it on a board

Neville takes the wet paper from the water and places it on a board

 

The watercolour paper is gently smoothed and taped with brown paper tape (available from Jackson's)

The watercolour paper is gently smoothed and taped with brown paper tape (available from Jackson’s)

After the taping a cloth is placed on the tape and pressure applied – downward only! If you run your hands sideways you remove the glue and the tape comes away.

Everyone in the class has a try at stretching their own paper. It's a bit scary the first time.

Everyone in the class has a try at stretching their own paper. It’s a bit scary the first time.

Back inside, Neville explains about the various types of watercolour paint – staining, non-staining and granulating. What a difference your choice makes!
Here’s the chart Neville uses to list the qualities of the various colours.

And, of course, no artist can work without a knowledge of colour theory and the colour wheel.

Before getting down to the serious stuff there was time to test various effects. What a relief that Neville demonstrated first!

Various effects that will be used in the final painting.

Various effects that will be used in the final painting.

 

Time for class members to see if these effects are as easy to achieve as Neville suggests.

Time for class members to see if these effects are as easy to achieve as Neville suggests.

And then the painting begins. What are the rules? From light to dark and from broad detail to specific detail.
But Neville’s three main rules are:-
1. Don’t fiddle
2 Don’t fiddle
3. Don’t fiddle.

As the painting nears its conclusion and one wonders whether to just do a little bit more, these rules come to mind.

Getting started. Watch first - then do

Getting started. Watch first – then do

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The sky was painted with the picture upside -down - a wash, of course.

The sky was painted with the picture upside -down – a wash, of course.

As the final touches were being put into place, people started to get rather critical of their efforts.

But what a surprise to see each piece mounted. 
neville13 beginners 033Great results


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Not a trace of mud! All these folk are lining up for Neville Peterkin’s workshops for developing artists coming soon.
Lyndendale gallery is really proud to have people of Neville’s ilk conducting workshops here. Interested?

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About Lyndendale Gallery

Artist:printmaker Owner of Lyndendale Gallery
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4 Responses to How Not to Make Mud – Watercolour for Beginners

  1. Art Partners says:

    What a great venue for workshops! I really enjoyed this post and the way photos are used to tell the story that watercolouring is achievable. Bravo to Neville and all the participants for achieving such inspired outcomes.

  2. Thanks, Art Partners. It certainly was an inspiring workshop! Neville will be running more workshops here at Lyndnedlae Gallery next year – starting in March.

  3. Johanna says:

    What some fabulous achievements! Everyone must have felt very chuffed, and well done Neville too 🙂

    • Thanks, Johanna. I don’t think we’ve had a workshop at Lyndendale Gallery where people have been dissatisfied. There’s usually much fun and laughter and the results always pleasantly surprise those who participate.
      No more workshops until March next year now. Neville’s workshops will be the first probably.

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