David Bellamy – Hand-bagged in Dubrovnik while painting

The sun beat down as I sat in a pleasant, shady spot beside Cavtat harbour demonstrating a watercolour, when Tarzan and Jane hove into view, both bronzed as they stood before us brazcavtat-harbourenly flexing their pectorals. Both were clad solely in thongs, otherwise naked and obligingly creating a combined landscape and life class all rolled into one. They moved round us, causing titters among the group, and at times my brush went distinctly wayward as I heaved with laughter at this incredible display of narcissistic clownery. Jane sat down in front of us, smiling like a Cheshire cat at the group, and presumably hoping someone would paint her.

This sort of distraction can un-nerve the alfresco artist, but the group chuckled valiantly and took it in their stride, producing some excellent work. Later in the week I demonstrated again in Dubrovnik, which unfortunately was so choked with cruise-ship tourists that there was hardly room to swing a sable, and as I painted I did get hand-bagged several times.

    So, it was with relief we sailed to the island of Sipan where I found a shady spot to demonstrate watercolour pencils. An old bicycle formed an excellent centre of interest – it was leaning against a wheelbarrow, which was leaning against the tree, so in the interests of simplicity I left out the barrow and about a million other equally exciting things lying around, to illustrate the need for keeping things simple. I faded out the buildings adjoining the old barn. The pencils were applied first in the various colours and then this was washed over with water, blending in the colours and then drawing into the wetness with a dark watercolour pencil where I wanted to emphasise details. If you feel your watercolours get a little out of control then try the watercolour pencils. This work was done on Bockingford 140-lb hot-pressed paper, an excellent surface for these pencils.

Our annual Watercolour Seminar is just about upon us, and this year we are back in The Settlement in Pontypool, a superb venue. It takes place on Saturday 1st October and there are still places left if you feel like coming along. The theme will be injecting mood and drama into a landscape and I will be using the exciting range of watercolours from Daniel Smith, demonstrating how to take advantage of these amazing colours and give your paintings some extra zip. As well as a demonstration I will be giving an illustrated talk on the same theme, covering a wide range of landscape subjects. Details of the seminar are on my website. We look forward to seeing you there.

8 thoughts on “David Bellamy – Hand-bagged in Dubrovnik while painting

  1. David, this is a great and, as we’ve come to expect, amusing account of the recent Croatia trip. Being fortunate enough to be on the trip, I can vouch for the accuracy of your descriptions of Tarzan and Jane in Cavtat, and Dubrovnik throng (as opposed to thong). I’m going to try watercolour pencils, inspired by your Sipan painting/sketch. What brand of watercolour pencils were they out of interest? All the best, Dom 🙂

    • Dom, Great to hear from you again, and I’m glad you enjoyed the trip. The watercolour pencils I used in Sipan were the Derwent range, which is what I’ve been using for a long time. I’ve also been trying out the Caran D’Ache Museum Aquarelle watercolour pencils recently, and they are quite amazing, blending in ever so well, but I only have a limited range of colours in them at the moment. Watercolour pencils are excellent for backing up your watercolours when on holiday and I have found them vital for working in the Arctic in less than perfect conditions. Enjoy experimenting with them! Best wishes, David

  2. I have, or at least, think I have, watercolour pencils but have never been able to manage them. This email gives me hope. Thank you.

    • Evelyn, I realise from courses that so many people own watercolour pencils – usually an assorted box of them – but are not quite sure what to do with them. They look so tempting in their box, but its almost a pity to spoil the effect and actually use the blessed things! One of these days I’ll get down to writing an article about making full use of them as I can see it would be helpful to many. Thanks for your comment. Best wishes,

  3. Dear David,
    I am so sorry to have missed such an interesting trip with the unexpected addition of two almost naked bodies! I shall look forward to seeing the sketches of the two bronzed and beautiful ‘models’, which you undoubtedly did surreptitiously?! and look forward to your article on coloured pencils.
    Hope you are both well. Beverley,

  4. Is it possible to include in David Bellamy web the Spanish translation of the full text?.
    Thank you very much.

    • Hello Leopoldo, I am sorry neither I nor David speak Spanish and would need to employ someone to translate the text. You could try google translate, although it can be amusingly inaccurate sometimes. I hope you find a way to interpret the text. With best wishes Jenny

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