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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > December 19 > Enjoy success with interior scenes

Enjoy success with interior scenes

Amanda Hyatt shows how to simplify interior subjects and shares her top ten tips as she demonstrates how to paint an interior scene in watercolour

My Five Steps to Watercolour can be applied to any subject. As a tonal impressionist my work is based on a reduced palette, emphasising light rather than colour. This method can also be applied to painting interiors, which are all about the light source, whether it’s a window, on a wall or overhead and the light subsequently cast through it, or light cast by candles, fireplaces or lamps. Paintings of interiors will have very dark tones because the sun or other light source must be brought into the painting.

The five steps

My first step, composition, is most important in laying down the base work for the painting. Colour choice in the second step can then be what you choose and does not have to be the same as what is in front of you. In the third step the painting is built up in tones. These are different thicknesses of paint, not different colours, although a darker colour like burnt umber can be painted over raw umber to give a darker tone. This is the traditional method of building tone but I practise mixing the paint correctly the first time on the palette to get just the right paint-pluswater ratio and then apply paint to the paper in a confident brushstroke with minimum deliberation and correction. This is called alla prima painting. My fourth step is to give the painting a sense of magic, time and light by using shadow washes or high contrast darks and lights. The last – fifth – step is to pull it all together with the added details of your choice.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our December issue. This month consultant editor and acclaimed professional artist David Curtis reveals his approach to painting a recent portrait of his son, while Kathy Barker explains what to look for when painting lips in the second of her series on portraiture in oils. Amanda Hyatt shows how to simplify complex interiors and Paul Weaver advises on the colours to use and mix to create atmospheric greys to capture winter scenes in watercolour. Newcomers to pastel will enjoy the first in Robert Brindley's new three-part series on pastel techniques and landscape demonstration, Soraya French and Robert Dutton suggest myriad creative ideas for working in mixed media to paint flowers and expressive landscapes and Geoff Hunt and Michele Del Campo share how they work up a painting in the studio in different media and very different ways. Cover artist Bob Brandt shows why pattern is so important, while Richard Pikesley, Paul Brown, Charles Williams and Paul Talbot-Greaves all share their ideas to inspire your artistic development. Enjoy your painting with The Artist this month!