This is the third exercise that I tried from Ray Campbell Smith’s 2000 publication Landscapes in Watercolour. This exercise from page 34 of his book is broken down into 5 stages and helps you to put into practice some of the techniques that he describes earlier in his book.
You learn how to create hard edged reflections to suggest the rippling surface of the water. Ripples are not quite as easy as they seem because you have to bear in mind the colour which needs to relate to that of the area being reflected, and you have to give your wash an irregular edge to represent the ripples. For some reason the subtlety of the wash in the sky is not that evident in my scanned version of my finished painting, and I can assure you it looks a lot better in real life!
Just right for beginners
It uses a mixture of Ultramarine, Light Red and a touch of Raw Sienna at the base of the sky, and it positively glows. Again, Ray’s plain English instructions, together with the addition of some helpful close-ups detailing the brushwork were very simple to follow, and just right for the beginner to help build up their confidence
This exercise used a palette of 5 colours
- Raw Sienna
- Burnt Sienna
- Light Red
- French Ultramarine
- Winsor Blue
What I learned
My watercolours are starting to loosen up a bit now, as you can see from the trees in the right of the painting, however I still haven’t got my timings right with the washes, and I’m still creating watercolour puddles of mud and cauliflowers (and still poking it about with my brush to try and correct the mistakes) I really do like Ray’s “loose” style and I’d love to incorporate this in my own work, but it seems that the only way I’m going to achieve this is through practice, practice, and more practice.
Once again, I found the close-up photographs of Ray’s brush techniques invaluable.
If you’ve painted this Ray Campbell Smith watercolour demonstration yourself , or wish to share your knowledge and know-how on judging the correct wash consistency, or a clever/better/easier way to help judge the timings we’d love to hear about them, so please share your feedback in the comments below.