My own barometer of success

I’m really beginning to get into the swing of taking an oil painting and interpreting it in watercolour – and I hope my enjoyment shows in this latest effort?

I think the sky carries some weight and atmosphere, which is partly captured in the reflection. There’s also some sense of distance, I’m often guilty of going in too heavy with my broad indication of distant hills and ruining the perspective early on. I also like the description of the trees to the right, and the broad suggestion and texture of reeds of the bottom left hand corner.

I think some areas of the reflections work better than others, and I’m less satisfied with the right hand river bank. I would also have preferred to describe the focal point of the gate and its reflection with more drier brush strokes, but I obviously misjudged how loaded my brush was!


And so it is that my barometer of success seems to be developing a very specific measure. A measure that can best be described as: ‘as long as there’s more I like than dislike – then that’ll do for me’. Now I know that this isn’t especially ambitious as a measure, however – from a recent point of disliking every aspect of every painting – I think it counts as quite a significant development!

Next up will be painting that has come about at the kind and constructive suggestion of one the visitors to my blog, the artistย Keith Tilley. Following my first ‘oil into water’ attempt, Keith suggested that rather that use the Seago image directly, that I do a tonal sketch first, put the original image away, and paint from the sketch. Now I know, as many of you will too, that this is most definitely ‘best practice’. It helps map the image, so you really examine what it is you’re going to be painting before you start. Whilst you’re doing the drawing, you’re making critical decisions about what’s important, what’s dispensible, and how you’re going to tackle a particular scene in watercolour. All invaluable thinking and planning before your brush even goes near the paint or paper.ย I also know however, that my impatience to slosh some paint on usually gets the better of me.

So, I’m really grateful for Keith’s suggestion and I’m looking forward to putting the advice into action (even if I am still having to keep my impatient side at bay!)

Thoughts on My own barometer of success

13 thoughts on “My own barometer of success”

  1. Nice work Haywood – I can see that that this is suiting you and well done for squeezing in regular painting sessions around family life. Now when are you going out to paint from your own lovely countryside? Sun is out now so no excuse ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Thanks for this Bec and, funnily enough, you may not have to wait long at all to see my first plein air of the year – although sadly, the sun was nowhwere to be seen!

  2. I do believe that I will be trying this out as well. Your struggles with impatience and not being satisfied with your paintings parallel my experiences every time I paint! Reading about it helps me so much. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with and how using a sketch works for you. I can’t wait to try it out for myself, I typically use my plein airs painted with pastels and translate them to watercolor. Once again I enjoy your posts.

    1. Thanks Margaret and great that you’re joining in with the preliminary drawing exercise! Look forward to comparing notes with you – meantime, best of luck!

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