Painting sparkling water and shafts of sunlight

Our new exhibition starts at Art Matters in the White Lion Street Gallery in Tenby on Saturday 30th March, and continues until the 28th April. You can view the paintings on their website Jenny’s work is in pastel and mine in watercolour, and we will be there from 11 am to 4 pm on 30th March. The painting below is one of the watercolours I am exhibiting, although it does not show the whole picture.

Dinas Fach, Pembrokeshire

The scene shows sunbeams falling over Dinas Fach on the Pembrokeshire coast. To create the ragged edges to the clouds I stroked the blue-grey sky colour on with the side of a large round brush, rather than using the point. The shafts of sunlight were left until the very end of the painting, when everything was dry: I simply put two pieces of thin card together, slightly apart with the lower sections splayed out slightly more than the top parts, and then with a soft sponge soaked in clean water I stroked downwards over the lower sky and the craggy headland. I then did the same with the second shaft. It’s important to ensure that all the shafts of light come from the exact same spot, even if as in this case, the sun itself is hidden behind cloud.

Sparkling water can give a lovely inviting appeal to a scene, and this was achieved by spattering masking fluid over the area with a toothbrush, masking out those parts that I wanted to avoid spraying. I did add a few more little spots of masking fluid with a fine brush afterwards, where these were needed. When the masking fluid was dry I then painted over it with the sea colour, eventually removing the grey-coloured masking fluid to reveal the sparkling area. Shafts of sunlight work well with sparkling water, and you can add this to your sea, lake or river scenes when you wish to beef them up a bit.

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Exhibition of watercolour paintings

Wednesday 5th October sees the start of my major 2011 exhibition, From Mountains to the Sea, at Lincoln Joyce Fine Art in Great Bookham, Surrey. The subjects range from coastal scenes, rural landscapes to the high mountains, with a number of overseas locations included. Naturally the mood of a place is a strong feature in each watercolour, as has always been one of my prime aims in depicting the landscape.

One of the paintings is this view of a farm in Upper Langdale in the Lake District, the tops dusted with a thin layer of snow which strongly contrasts the red of the dead bracken on the mountainside. This was painted from a sketch I carried out many years ago, for I have so many sketches and photographs that I can quite happily put many good ones aside for some time until I feel the moment is right. The only thing that was not actually present when I did the sketch is the group of chickens – these were taken from another source, and it pays to have secondary visual resources like this to beef up a composition, however good the original may be.

The exhibition runs until 22nd October and Lincoln Joyce Fine Art can be found at 40 Church Road, Great Bookham, Surrey, KT23 3PW, telephone 01372 458481 I shall be there on Wednesday 5th October to conduct the watercolour seminar in the hall opposite. We still have a few places left if you’d like to join us for the demonstration and talk on Skies, Light & Atmosphere, in which case it is advisable to ring the gallery (above) and ask for a ticket to be kept aside for you to pick up on the day. For details see