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



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Rachel, your painting process just blows me away! This painting is just one of dozens that I am so in love with. I love your organic method…your allowing the watercolour to just move and dance on the paper! Now, I need to get practicing and have fun experimenting too. Thank you for all that you share.

Lesley Larose

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

claiborne trinklein

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.

Lynne Mitchell

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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