Demonstration: View from Philae Island, Aswan, Egypt
Your reference photo
Your reference photo
Begin with the pencil drawing, taking care to draw the palm leaves accurately and outlining the shapes of the rocks within the islands. I decided to omit the lights as they detracted from the view.
Now turn your board upside down and lay a graded wash of light red and cobalt blue.
Note the way the trunk of the tree has a spiral pattern. Paint the trunk and leaves with perylene green, using a fine brush for the leaves.
Now lay quite a strong wash of raw sienna and cadmium red over the foreground, most of the island, (leaving a few highlighted rocks) and the background hill on the left.
Now lay a strong wash of Payne's grey and French ultramarine over the sea. Then use perylene green to paint the dark base of the island.
If in doubt about laying a strong wash, do it in layers, but letting each layer dry before adding the next.
This is where an accurate drawing helps. Add a final wash to define the strips of lighter water, lay this on quickly and lightly so as not to pick up the first wash.
Then, when completely dry, lay a generous area of clear water where the slightly darker reflections of the centre of the island are, and drop more raw sienna and cadmium red into it.
Leave to dry.
Using pencil, draw in the foreground rocks, then with more freedom than used elsewhere paint in their shadow sides, the grasses etc.
I decided to let the shadow from the tree run up the wall and finished off by adding washes to the background hill on the left and the far hills using mainly cerulean.
Define a few stones in the foreground walls, darken the trunk and some of the palm leaves, and add in the little fort.
I then found and painted the middle tones of the island, softened some of the shadow edges in the immediate foreground and erased the more evident pencil lines.
I felt the trunk of the tree needed broadening and noticed a few light reflections under the island and lifted them out.
I also lifted out some small lights on the shadow side of the palm tree and used a pencil to add the mast visible on the island. Did it need a few birds? Perhaps not.
The final subtle touches are what can lift a painting out of the ordinary. I think a felucca could be inserted somewhere on the right. Maybe you'd like to try it?