On stilts, a watercolour painting of a boat out the water in the boatyard at La Cotiniere on the Isle D'Oleron in France by artist John Haywood

On stilts – watercolour painting of a boat out of water

There may be a few of you out there that might remember this painting from 2016. In fact, this image is the second painting that I did of this view, as the first one sold very quickly!

This second painting also sold quite quickly too but, aside from the sales, I also like this composition. I love boats out of water. There’s something about their silhouettes and, if they’re out of the water, you tend to be looking up at them, rather than at eye level with them, which gives them a greater sense of monumentality.

I’ve purposefully avoided revisiting this image again as I knew that I was pleased with my previous efforts but, on this occasion, I couldn’t resist its call. I didn’t look back at my previous paintings before starting this painting, but I did manage to find the original photographs to work from.

From the outset thought, I knew there were going to be some key differences. My first two efforts were both quarter-sheet paintings, and I knew I wanted this one to be a larger half-sheet attempt. Also, for the first two, I used masking fluid to block out the wooden steps and parts of the platform in the foreground. For this attempt, I resolved to paint negatively around the steps.

Here’s how I got on:

On stilts, a watercolour painting of a boat out the water in the boatyard at La Cotiniere on the Isle D'Oleron in France by artist John Haywood
On stilts, the boatyard at La Cotiniere on the Isle D’Oleron in France

And, for ease of comparison, here are the two efforts, six years apart but side by side:

I’m not sure that seeing these two paintings side by side is the best way to compare my progress over the past six years! There’s a lot that I like about the 2016 version, but I think that my most recent effort shows greater confidence and assuredness, especially in terms of colour mixing.

brighton breakers finds a new home

My painting of ‘Brighton Breakers’ was one of the paintings that I sold during my recent exhibition at Starling Studios. As it was purchased as a gift for Fathers day, I’ve had to keep it under my hat but I can now share news of this!

Brighton Breakers, a watercolour painting of waves breaking next to Brighton Pier by artist John Haywood

What was particularly pleasing, and also particularly rare in my experience, is to see one of my paintings in situ. Here are a couple of images from Instagram that show the painting in its new home:

Dare I say ‘bouyed’ by these paintings, I’m considering staying with the nautical theme for my next painting too!

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Thoughts on On stilts – watercolour painting of a boat out of water

2 thoughts on “On stilts – watercolour painting of a boat out of water”

  1. Interesting that you work on such a big scale is that half an imperial sheet? I feel I should work bigger to avoid fiddling with a little brush but the price of the material scares me off and holds me back. What size brushes do you use and what do you mix your paint on when painting that size?

    1. HI Warren and thanks for this. To be honest, for most of 2020 and 2021 I think I mainly painted quarter sheets which was just a habit I got into! It’s only more recently that I’ve started painting more frequently on half sheets again. I understand your concerns about the cost of materials but perhaps because I sold quite a few paintings recently, I’m feeling a little more extravagant! What’s great is exactly what you’ve already identified – painting big, with bigger brushes really helps to free me (and the paint!) up from fiddling with details. I’ve been using the Ron Ranson large and medium hake brushes for the initial washes, then moving to the Alvaro Castagnet Neef Mop brushes, which I have in sizes 10, 6, 4 and 2. The ten is big but lovely to paint with. I use the same palette for all of my paintings, which is my Binning Monro Palette: https://johnhaywoodwatercolours.co.uk/2018/12/12/binning-munro-watercolour-palette-by-the-little-brass-box-company/ which has some pretty generous well’s for mixing on. Hope that this is of some help, and really hope that it encourages you to try the odd larger scale painting!

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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