I have a drawer in my studio, full to the brim with rejects, paintings that have gone wrong, or that I have discarded over the years, believe me there are a lot of them. 

I have recently been trying to find ways to reuse them. There is the obvious way of simply turning them over and painting on the back, and I do that sometimes, especially when i am teaching or trying out new colours. 

But I also look through them and try to find ways to resurrect them in some way, some are beyond any help I can give them, but some....well here is what I did to a stag painting I found


Firstly I got out my spray bottle and sprayed the offending stag off the paper, use a lot of water and hold the bottle quite close to the paper. Try not to rub the paper too hard but gently use some kitchen towel to get rid of the paint. as you can see once it is dry some of the image remains, but I can work on that. 

I use Bockingford paper and it seems to take quite a bit of abuse, if your paper won't take it or you've done too much damage then I don't think you can save it. But if the paper looks ok then you are good to have a try .


Let it dry naturally.


I start with the nose, cerulean blue then a purple made from cobalt blue and cad. red. Really carefully with small brushes.


Then the eyes, remember to leave a dot of white paper for the highlights. The antlers are yellow ochre, with a red brown then that same purple colour for the darker shades.



Now I work down the neck and into the body, observing the light and dark tones. Yellow ochre is my under colour then raw sienna and burnt sienna, Look carefully and drop the colours in wet in wet.


Carry on letting the colours blend and observing where the dark areas need to be. I then take out some highlights on his back using a damp clean brush, he is certainly looking better than the stag I erased 



Now I want to add to the background, I use just two colours cad red and cobalt blue I sue my brush in a rolling motion to create jagged adges to look like foliage, I splatter water onto the paper, and pull out branches and leaves.

Use more or less water and more or less red or blue to come up with different colours and tones.


I work around the image, loosing myself in the mark making .


Finally I added a bit to the foreground, and I am finished, see what you can find in the recycling and have a go x

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You have a knack for being inspirational as well as educational in how you demonstrate your process for working through your painting. You’re a great teacher! Thank you.

John B

Takes up cycling to a whole new level. Love it

Sue G

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