January & February 2022

A new year and I’m looking at developing new ideas in my art. I don’t want to lose my watercolour techniques but try to introduce new colours, tools and compositions. Here are my paintings for the first two months of 2022, a mixture of plein air and studio work. Plus I’ve returned to Virtual Ribble with some paintings from Google Street View.

River Mole at Leatherhead
Thames at Weybridge (Plein Air)
Postman at Ripley (Plein Air)
Leatherhead Bridge (Plein Air)
Denbies (Plein Air)
Shere (Plein Air)
Battersea Power station (Plein Air)
Three Pigeons, Guildford (Plein Air)
Guildford Skyline
Common Meadow, Leatherhead. Oils
Katoomba, Australia (Google Street View)
Ambleside, Lakes , (Google Street View)
Burnley (Google Street View)
Slaidburn, Lancashire (Google Street View)
Slaidburn (Google Street View)
Mount Vernon, Virginia (Google street View)
Still Life

Trying different methods

I’ve been thinking of trying acrylics or oils for a while and wanted to see if I had learnt from working with my watercolours.

I found an image of Limone, Lake Garda, from last year and liked the light on the water and buildings. I made a pencil drawing first to get accustomed to the tonal range and details in the picture.

Limone 3

Limone, Lake Garda, Italy, Pencil

With the simple sketch worked up I found some acrylics passed on to me by a friend who did not want them anymore. I bought some cheap acrylic brushes so that I didn’t ruin my watercolour ones. Working with acrylics is the opposite to watercolours, so I started with the darks and worked towards the lights.

Limone 1


I was pleased with aspects of the painting and could achieve far deeper colours than with watercolours, where they tend to go muddy if worked too much. I like the way highlights can be added to good effect with acrylics. But blending was much trickier and getting the sky to work was so much harder compared to watercolour. Having finished the acrylic painting I then worked on a watercolour version.

Limone 2


The sky and mountain areas were painted in minutes, with translucent light and blended colours easily achieved. The treeline presented more of a challenge as I can change and adapt with Acrylics but watercolours are much less forgiving. I had to get it right first time. The depth of the water and buildings are less with the watercolour but I feel I can get more accuracy with them. (notice for some strange reason I’ve added another building to the watercolour version)

Verdict. I think the simple pencil sketch has charm.The acrylic is fine for a first attempt but needs more thought and the watercolour is fresh. Feedback welcome.

Goring Sketching Trip

I joined a sketching trip to Goring on Sea last week and produced this on the beach, under a very hot sun. I’m pleased with the outcome as painting people is very tricky. See if you can see the baby paddling in the sea with here mother.

line and wash

Goring on Sea


Composition, tone and colour study

I’ve be looking at the watercolours on Google search again. The search terms are usually a mixture of urban, sketching and watercolours.

The latest inspiration for me is Thomas Schaller, a fantastic artist from the US. His skills with watercolour washes are breathtaking. He has a great blog and generously shares his work with the world. Looking through the blog I found a wonderful watercolour of Sienna. I needed to try painting it, to learn from the composition, washes and tones. My attempt is clumsy but then I am learning from a multi-award winning professional, something might rub off.