David Bellamy – Observing the Landscape

Learning to draw and observe properly are essential skills for the landscape artist in watercolour, and although most artists can see objects clearly, so many have appalling problems when trying to observe and record a scene. This is one of the fundamental skills I try to teach students on my painting courses, but it does take quite some application and determination to continue practising the skills once the course has ended.

This is a photograph of Skelwith Bridge, taken during my recent painting course in the Lake District. Whilst the lighting is a little flat, it is still pretty clear that the distant features viewed under the arch are a little darker in tone than the left-hand side of the bridge, though they are lighter than the underside of the arch to the right. Comparison of tones in this way is a vital method of working out these tonal relationships. Always think not just about the shapes before you, but the main tonal relationships as well. This will bring forward your art in leaps and bounds, and I would urge you to practice this with deliberate emphasis for at least the next month or so.

My rough sketch of the bridge on the right was done in about 12 to 15 minutes and this is the sort of drawing that will help you with your tones. Breaking away from a pure linear response to a subject is absolutely essential in your development as an artist.

I shall be demonstrating at the Patchings Art Festival  on Thursday 9th, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June, in the St Cuthberts Mill Marquee, painting on the fabulous Saunders Waterford and Bockingford papers. Do come and chat. It’s always a great show with superb demonstrators, marvellous crafts, paintings and art materials. I will be painting with Daniel Smith watercolours and will have available the dot-card palette of the colours I mostly use in their range, so come along and pick one up.

7 thoughts on “David Bellamy – Observing the Landscape

  1. Hi David,
    I already have two tickets for the Thursday Demonstration and am really looking forward to seeing you there.
    Thanks for being there
    Alan

  2. I’ll be at Patchings on Thursday and my friend and I have tickets for your demo. at 10.45am. Saw you there last year I’m so looking forward to seeing your inspiring techniques.
    Best wishes, Janet Bower

  3. For those of us who have not been able to attend Pachings this year, and therefore unable to obtain a dot-card, would it be possible for you to publicly list the Daniel Smith colours you use. I would be grateful if you could do so as I find many of the colour names confusing. Many thanks, Hazel

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