boulders beach watercolour project – take #2

Here is the final image version of this watercolour.


The above image was taken outside in the shade on a sunny day.

Here is the same image taken indoors the night before with a flash:

The warmer colours  are nearer to the actual colours of the painting I think.

The watercolour is  1100 x 1000 mm on Arches Cold Pressed – off a roll.

Based on Leslie’s last comment I am going to present these posts from recent to older as you read down.  In other words, I will add the new versions to the top of the page rather than the bottom.  Thanks for the idea Leslie.  I will see how it goes.   I have a new sheet stretched and waiting to go.

The process

What follows is a brief journal of the creation of this watercolour.  I have kept in the comments I made as I posted each step.

Tonight I was really keen to do the first wash on this painting.   And here we are:


This new board is really quite unwieldy and I have to lean right over to do the washes.  I have tried to do more saturated washes and introduce more chop into the sea near the horizon – looks OK I think – we will see tomorrow – now I am feeling kaput.

Here is what I did last night:


I did grey and orange boulder on the right in a single wash in which I felt like I was getting the hang of the whole thing.  My concern right now is how to keep the whole painting together.  And I started the figure but she needs bolder colours.


I am battling to get going today so I have enlisted the services of Olga Kern who is playing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

Well here we go now, time for a break:


I think it is working.  The rocks on the left need a little work maybe.    I must be careful not to put too much more colour in my figure otherwise she will outweigh the rocks.  Here she is now:


I wanted the purples to react with the yellowy green water.  Poor thing – maybe she needs a cozi.

I also added some detail to the skyline – I may darken the sky a little to soften the impact of the horizon:


Anycase I am going to put this aside for a while to consider the varnishing – thats what they called it in the old days ‘varnishing’ –  finishing your painting.

A final comment on stretching

Last night I stretched another large sheet.  But this time I wet the paper with a brush, possibly a little too much as the water was seeping from under the paper.  The board had  slight tilt.  However I waited for over an hour for the paper to slake before I taped and stapled the sheet.  I stapled about 100mm apart.  This morning the sheet was tight and unwrinkled and is leaning on the board just to my side pleading silently for  me to start another painting.


15 thoughts on “boulders beach watercolour project – take #2

  1. Did you just update this post, Stephen? I didn’t see all of this last night. I really love the rocks. The colors in the water are mesmerising. The girl is a humorous touch and gives us the idea of the size of the rocks. Good job.

  2. Hi Stephen! This is gorgeous! I really like the color and the rocks are PERFECT! I think all your followers haven’t scrolled down to see that this is all new. What were the colors you used to create the water? To me it looks like a yellow and a blue that you brought together in the shallows? I admire your work!

    • Mmmm – there is a thought – maybe I should put the final product on top and work down the process.

      The colours:
      The sea was done in a single wash from the top to the bottom with my squirrel hair mop.
      I started with French Ultramarine, to which I added Winsor Blue (red shade) in the next section down. Then I used Winsor Blue (green shade) to which I added Cobalt Blue. Then I moved to Winsor Green (blue shade) for the middle ground. As I reached the boulders in the water I added Cobalt Turquoise and Cerulean Blue to create the light colours, then more Cobalt blue in the little straight to the shallows. For the shallows I used Winsor Green (yellow shade) then putting more Green Gold and Quinacridone Gold. Finally I used Quinacridone Gold and Cadmium Yellow for the shallows. I used Cadmium Red for the damp area where the waves had washed back and a mixture of Rose Madder Genuine, Cerulean Blue and Cadmium Yellow for the beach.
      I mixed the colours in porcelain snack bowls which are perfect for the task.
      The idea I had was to have a large wash using French Ultramarine with some Cerulean Blue to get the effect that happens when the colours separate but for that I would have to maintain a massive wet area. Maybe another time.

      • Thank-you so much for sharing your color combinations. I wasn’t sure if you used green or the blues and yellows combined to make them. They are beautiful in that greenish area leading to the shore. I would never have chosen cadmium red where the waves meet the shore and that, too, is so helpful and it reads so believable. Thank-you!

      • Hey – great stuff – In fact I have found that Cadmium red also works as a good mixer for greys – Cd red and Winsor blue.
        I have tried different combinations for greens but have found the tube colours work best as long as I mix with a red yellow or blue to take the edge off the artificial colour. Speaking of which I am drinking a banana milkshake at Durban airport which has clearly not been made with real bananas – it looks like drain-cleaner or something – the curse of a sweet tooth.

        There are so many shades in beach sand – it is quite a challenge – Cheers hey – S

      • Hi Leslie – thanks – it really is fun painting people like this but the risk is quite high. Somehow the artist has to disappear into the background. They were moving around quite a bit as we do in groups and I made the mistake of drawing them all first. In the second one I just started painting although I was a bit rattled. The artist also needs a thick skin I suppose.

  3. Isn’t the internet wonderful? I found Concerto No. 1 on YouTube (not Olga’s version) – superb!

    Such a lovely sunny painting and those are enormous rock formations – Leslie is right, the figure is essential to gain some idea of their size.

  4. Hi June – thanks for all these – if you like I can update or delete any of these comments.
    Would you like me to keep the first one and delete the next two?

    Boulders beach is so beautiful – I have a feeling I am going to do another one.

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