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Digital Subscriptions > Leisure Painter > Sep-19 > Colour and tone

Colour and tone

Make the most of watercolour’s fluid properties as you paint a busy seaside scene, with Fiona Peart


Practise a three-wash approach to watercolour painting

Tips and techniques for colour mixing

How to simplify a scene

Using watercolour washes and painting from photographs can be an exciting way of working, even if you want to veer away from a more realistic approach to painting.

A wash of watercolour is a layer of colour; any colour. Once this layer is dry, another layer is placed on top or, indeed, adjacent to that previous colour. The more layers placed one on top of another, the muddier your painting may appear, unless you aselective about which colours to use. Transparent colours will alter as one colour is washed over the previous colour, very much like layering tissue paper. The top colour will always be the dominant colour, but the colour underneath will still be evident.

More opaque colours can be used to camouflage or cover previous sections and there are some lovely colours available that can brighten or enhance previous sections.

Your subject

For this demonstration I chose a photograph of a busy promenade next to a pebble beach, with lots of buildings and interesting shapes. I didn’t want my painting to look like the photo, but I did want it to be accurate so that it read as a busy promenade, and not just abstract shapes. To do this I planned to lay just three washes: a background, middle ground and foreground.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the September issue. You will find packed inside a wealth of practical advice, illustrated techniques, creative ideas and step-by-step demonstrations in watercolour, acrylics, oils and pastels. There's information for beginners, and prompts and inspiration for those with more experience. There's everything from how to paint from photographs and ten top tips for keeping your colour mixes clean and vibrant to painting cat's eyes in detail, filling a nature journal and painting landscapes, buildings, reflections, animals, birds and more. Enjoy your month of painting.