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Watercolour magic

How to approach a complex scene and make the most of watercolour’s transparent and vivid colours with gouache and ink, by Adrienne Parker
The reference photograph for this demonstration: a grand salon in the Château de Montrésor


Practise wet-in-wet, wet-on-dry and dry-brush techniques

Make sense of a complicated scene

My aim in painting this scene was to paint a traditional watercolour by first layering the larger washes then building up the tones and detail using more well-placed washes and utilising my brushes to the full. Only when the painting was near completion did I bring in the inks and gouache to enhance the colour and highlights.

I enjoyed my first visit to the Loire last September and was particularly excited to visit the Château de Montrésor for the first time. It is a medieval castle with a Renaissance mansion built in the grounds, located in the French village of Montrésor in Indre-et-Loire. My artistic eyeballs were on full alert for paintable scenes and I was rewarded when I entered one of the grand salons (above). The light flooding through the window highlighted all the rich fabrics and furniture, and where there is light, there are nooks and crannies. This was a ‘must-paint’ scene!

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the June issue of Leisure Painter, the best-selling practical art magazine in the UK, aimed at beginners and amateur painters. Watercolour highlights include how to paint: a colourful toucan, a complex interior scene, simple flowers and figures. Tim Fisher also begins a six-part series discussing the merits and uses of his favourite colours with a focus on cobalt teal in watercolour this month. Follow nine simple exercises and prompts to develop your painting skills with acrylics and follow a step-by-step demonstration to paint an avocet using heavy-body acrylics. Discover a new style as you paint an acrylic inspired by the travel posters of the 1930s and discover the power of coloured pencils and pen and ink . Plus lots more.