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Landscape textures in watercolour

Ann Blockley looks at some of the features of a rural landscape that tell a story or act as a focal point, and shows you how to achieve these textures in your painting

Streams and ponds, country walls, rustic gates and fences, as well as other manmade geometric elements, add structure to the tumult of wild nature. Let’s create poetic visual interpretations of these real objects and inject magic and imagination into our watercolour washes.

I have chosen rustic walls for my demonstration as natural stones offer an irresistible array of textures to explore. Play with ideas as always before you start.

Wall textures

Rural boundaries are usually built out of the land they arise from, using the rocks, stone, earth or vegetation of the local environment. You will need to adapt your mark-making according to the specific colour, texture, size and shapes of the particular feature. Salt is useful for developing stony granular marks. You could also try using a piece of old credit card to scrape pale slabs out of thick paint layers to represent rocks. Also think about how the gesso and tissue paper methods (below) might be adapted to suit these new landscape elements. You might consider replacing the tissue paper with torn pieces of textured wallpaper or other collage material to get a tactile three-dimensional look. However, in the quest for fresh techniques do not forget about practising good oldfashioned brushwork. Dragging dry paint, stippling or scrubbing with old brushes all help to create mottled or patchy textures.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of The Artist - May 18
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About The Artist

Welcome to our May issue packed with inspiring practical features to help you develop your skills in all media. Watercolourists will love Bob Rudd's invented colour schemes for dramatic landscapes, Amanda Hyatt's five steps to watercolour success, with an exercise to try, Ann Blockley's invitation to inject some magic into your watercolour washes, Paul Talbot-Greaves' deconstruction into three parts of the painting of a daffodil, and Deborah Walker's test report on a new Winsor & Newton watercolour paper. Paul Riley and Julie Collins show how to use pen and wash and ink and watercolour in powerful combinations, while Jo Quigley demonstrates why working en grisaille in acrylics can be so beneficial. Portraitists will learn different ways to obtain a likeness from Ann Witheridge and Will Teather; adapt your sketching kit with ideas from David Parfitt; try painting seascapes in water-mixable oils with Paul Weaver, and more. And don't forget to enter our summer sketching competition with fantastic monthly prizes!