My seascape struggle |

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My seascape struggle

David Parfitt reveals how he overcame the challenges he faced while painting a watercolour seascape, and how they came to reflect his ‘ongoing struggle’ with painting and the watercolour medium


Rock Pools and Seaweed, watercolour, 22x15in (56x38cm).

This was based on sketches, made on location, and a portrait format photograph. They all reminded me of that day at the beach and all added to the feel of being there when making the final image

I generally find that, to paint somewhere with any feeling, I need to form a connection to the place, in this case special memories of holidays with my family in Westward Ho!, Devon. I made a little watercolour study about 12 months ago and I have been continually drawn to it with its associated memories, so decided to base a painting on that study, together with a photograph taken in October 2017.


I usually paint on Arches 140/300lb Not or Millford paper. In the main I use Millford, but for this article I chose to use Arches 300lb. I very much like how paint takes to the paper but importantly for this demonstration, I find paint dries quickly on it. Also, the heavier weight means I don’t necessarily have to stretch it, which in my case adds to the pressure of producing a finished work. The size is about 15x16in, which is one of the standard sizes I work to, ie half a sheet of watercolour paper cut down to a squarish format. I use the offcuts for little studies, so nothing is wasted.

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About The Artist

Let this month's issue of The Artist inspire and guide your next steps in drawing and painting a range of figurative subject matter in all media. From realistic still lifes in acrylics, watercolour landscape challenges suggested by Amanda Hyatt, David Parfitt and Paul Talbot-Greaves, through to portraits in oils and mixed media, our fantastic team of practising artist-contributors aim to help you develop your knowledge and skills based on their own experiences as professional artists and tutors. Check out the list of contents for more details of all the great articles in this issue, and look out for our latest sketching competition to enter on page 66, plus win £500 worth of gift vouchers to spend on art materials with Great Art in our PaintersOnline competition on page 6. See also pages 12 to 13 for the latest news on the Patchings Art, Craft & Design Festival (July 12-15). We will be celebrating the opening of our annual The Artist open exhibition there on July 12. We look forward to meeting our successful selected artists and visitors to the festival.