Learning the Art of Watercolours

I have loved drawing and painting since I was a kid but never had that much time for watercolours. When you are young the patience and technical skill required is often not forthcoming. Instead I opted for acrylics or pastels more often than not, and occasionally oil paints (on the rare day when I was feeling really patient!).

Now that I am travelling, all I have access to is a sketchbook, a pencil and a set of watercolours bought for me by my girlfriend for Christmas. They came in a wonderfully handy stack that unscrews to make four trays of six paints – by far the most portable and practical painting kit I have ever seen, and perfect for travelling.

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The compact portable set of paints…

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…which opens to reveal a fantastic array of colours

By being forced to only use watercolours I am reminded of their superiority in terms of versatility – you can literally paint anything so long as you have the patience to delicately layer up from a decent outline sketch. There’s always more to learn too – watercolours are more a skill than an arbitrary splash of colour and the process of learning is technical but in a good way. I can definitely see myself getting better with each painting; today I learnt the valuable lesson of not bothering with white paint at all and instead diluting colours right down and letting the water and the white of the page provide my lighter tones.

Below is my recent Aston Martin at Le Mans 2013 watercolour, first when it was half completed and then as a finished product. Note how I got the dimensions wrong initially by making the car too tall, and how block colours were later given extra detail to bring the picture to life.

Aston at Le Mans waterclour - half finished...

Aston at Le Mans watercolour – half finished…

Aston Martin at Le Mans, 2013

Aston Martin at Le Mans, 2013

My Aston Martin painting is probably my favourite painting I have done lately. Below are some of my efforts from recent months, which are mostly good but I feel are evidence that my technique is slowly improving.


Maldonado’s Monaco Crash


Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

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Hamilton Cartoon, Spanish GP

Melbourne Autumn Skyline

Melbourne Autumn Skyline


3 thoughts on “Learning the Art of Watercolours

  1. Nice one J, Grandad will be proud of you. Maybe next time we are back in blightly we can do a watercolour afternoon together. I think I’m heading home for Chrissie, do you think you will be there then?

  2. Pingback: 8 years in 1 photo: a diary (of sorts) | Places and Races

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