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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