Home | News | Features | Gallery | TV | Blogs | Forum | Events | Subscribe | Competition | Marketplace | Bookshop
About Painters Online |  Terms & Conditions |  Privacy Statement |  Cookie Policy |  Advertising |  Contributor Guidelines |  Links
The ArtistStart Art Painters' Club
Your Views

Artistically, what would you most like to acheive in 2015?

 Taking part in an exhibition
 Entering a painting competition
 Visiting more exhibitions
 Exploring a new medium or subject
 Receiving painting or drawing tuition
 Other (please tell us in the forum)
Reference photo, St. Michael's Mount
Reference photo, St. Michael's Mount

How to Paint Watercolour Boats Successfuly


Tony Cowlishaw - Posted on 30 Sep 2010

You will need:

Saunders Waterford watercolour paper, 300lb NOT surface 11x15in. (28x38cm)

Artists’ watercolour:
  • Cobalt blue
  • Raw sienna
  • Sap green
  • Neutral tint
  • Raw umber
  • Cerulean blue
  • Indian red
  • Viridian
  • Payne’s grey
  • Cadmium red
Kolinksy sable pointed Nos 1, 2, 4, 8, 10, 12

Masking fluid

Step 1

Using masking fluid

1 Draw the subject carefully. Consider the various components in the subject and make sure that you are happy with the balance. It is unnecessary to draw all the detail in the foreground and distance, as these will be defined during the painting process.
2 Apply masking fluid to places that you want to protect from washes, such as the light areas on the boats and houses in the middle distance (although this should be used sparingly).
3 Leave to dry.

Step 2

Painting boats in harbour

1 Prepare a wash of cobalt blue. Apply the wash across the top of the paper from left to right. Add water to dilute the wash and continue the application. Before reaching the middle distance, apply neat water left to right and upwards until the wash blends with the very dilute cobalt blue. This is a gradated wash.
2 Prepare a dilute wash of raw sienna and apply to the area below the boats and the wall of the inner harbour on the left of the boats.
3 Use cobalt blue in the foreground to create areas of water remaining after the tide – and to the water in the middle distance.
4 Apply sap green wet in wet with the raw sienna to create seaweed.

Step 3

Paint boats in a harbour

1 When dry, prepare a wash of neutral tint and apply to the central dark areas of the boats. Dilute with water to show the reflections on the left-hand side of each vessel.
2 Paint selective stones of the harbour wall using raw
umber, some with the addition of Winsor violet to vary the overall colour values.
3 Add further detail to the individual boats, which includes a mixture of Indian red and raw sienna placed on the hull of the left-hand boat and cerulean blue on the right-hand vessel.
4 Apply a wash of Indian red and raw sienna to the top of the right-hand cabin.
5 Place a uniform wash of neutral tint on the upper edge of the left-hand boat.
6 Add a light wash of Payne’s grey for the shadows.
7 Add a wash of sap green to the foliage in the middle distance, and enhance with viridian in selected areas.
8 Paint a light wash of Indian red onto the roofs.

Step 4

Paint detail on boats

1 Apply more washes to the middle distance to establish detail to the foliage and the houses.
2 Place a wash of dilute raw sienna on the hull of the left-hand vessel.
3 Intensify the shadows of both boats with a further wash of neutral tint.
4 Define the areas within both cabins with a light wash of Payne’s grey.

Step 5

Paint a harbour scene

The beach areas in the middle distance are painted with a light wash of a mix of Indian red and raw sienna. Also the shadow within the cabin area is reinforced with Payne’s grey. A wash of sap green defines the foliage on the shore line of the middle distance.

Step 6

When these washes are dry, remove the masking fluid.

Step 7

1 Add further detail to the harbour wall on the left and to the area in the middle distance and the foreground. Add detail to the mooring lines and the individual boats, including the rigging and masts, using neutral tint.
2 Paint the fenders (buoys to prevent damage to the side of the boats) on the side of each vessel using a dilute wash of cadmium red. Intensify the strength of the pigment to paint the fenders on the far right.

St. Michael's Mount by Tony Cowlishaw

St Michael’s Mount, watercolour, 11x15in. (28x38cm)

The full article by Tony can be read in the November 2010 issue of Leisure Painter. Tony has also provided additional information relating to this article, exclusively for subscribers to our e-newsletters. Register to receive these regular e-shots by October 5th 2010 to make sure you get access to this bonus material.

<< Back to How to

1 comments so far...


Ros P

09 Nov 2012 10:09

Lovely painting and very informative feature into how to go about using the techniques

Pages: 1 All

Want to comment on what you've seen?

You must be logged in to leave a comment. You can log in here.
If you don't have a user account please register.

If you enjoyed reading these features

why not buy a copy of the latest magazines?

Keep In Touch
Advertisement Picture
Advertisement Picture
Advertisement Picture