Swan landing....

Swan landing....

So on a rainy Saturday I decided to get messy and have fun painting a swan landing on water. I have tried to photograph the painting in stages so you can see how I did it...

1. Draw a the swan ( I use bockingford watercolour paper and an A2 pencil)


2. Now I literally splatter and flick masking fluid where I imagine the splashes of water to be.....

I use a colour shaper tool, which is made of a type of rubber and stops me from ruining my brushes.

3.Here is the paper, the masking fluid is a yellow colour, I shake the board around too and move the masking fluid on the paper...just have fun.



4. You have to let the masking fluid dry completely, have a cup of tea, think about the painting but make sure it is dry, Now I paint the details of the swan's head, and use the only colour apart from Payne's grey . The beak is yellow ochre, cadmium orange. and some cadmium red..... I also add some shadows to the swan's body and wings.....



5. Once the swan is painted I load a lot of paynes grey onto my brush and carefully think about where I want a crisp line between the swan and the grey to be.Then where I want it to blend. I want to convey movement so I don't want a solid colour behind the swan and I want it to look like water. There is a lot to think about and I don't want the wash to dry....


6.I try to break up the background too, by flicking water on the page and using a weaker wash then a stronger one....This is where the painting is going thick and fast and I have to concentrate hard


7. So  I stand back from what is happening, add water and take it away, thinking about mark making, and what I like and don't like. Then I have to leave it to dry. I flick some white acrylic into the wet wash and into the splashes and from the wings to give a feeling of movement.....now it has to dry thoroughly .As you can see it is a messy business but one I love


8. Now when it is dry, time to rub off the masking fluid. I use a rubber to do this, and when that is done I go back in with some paint and water to soften edges and cover some splashes I don't like the position of. Now  to stand back and decide that the painting is done




  • claiborne trinklein

    Thank you for instruction on this…I adore your style and painting!

  • Lynne Mitchell

    Thank you so much for sharing how you do a painting. I have been following you for a long time now, and it is really facinating. I have never used Paynes Grey, as I was taught to use burnt sienna and french ultramarine, but this affect is so lovely, I am going to get some. Please keep the ‘lessons/blogs’ coming – I look forward to them. Amazing work.

  • Sara

    Thank you for sharing. I have been fascinated by the appearance of movement in your paintings for a long while. The cup of tea whilst allowing things to dry, I have come to realise is an essential part of watercolour painting!
    A lovely picture – thank you.

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