Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sky Wash 6

Sky Wash 6
(The Mill on Kneeton Road)
Watercolour on Paper
28cm x 19cm (11" x 7.5")

This sky is based on a Terry Harrison sky from his Improve Your Trees in Watercolour programme on the Painting and Drawing Channel.

Terry wet the paper, loaded the brush with French Ultramarine Blue and then created a graded wash by painting horizontal stripes from the top without adding any more pigment. The intensity of the wash faded as his brush ran out of paint.

When the sky was still wet, he added a grey mixture to suggest the shadows at the bottom of the clouds and then created the cloud shapes by blotting them with a paper towel.

The graded wash technique that Terry used is different to the technique I used in Wash Swatches.  I think the method from the swatches provides a better approach to get a smooth colour transition, but Terry's technique gives more time to work on the clouds before the sky dries.

The foreground is the mill on Kneeton Road seen from across the fields.


  1. Mark, I am so pleased that my free on line tutorials on my blog have been inspiring! It is difficult to paint a tonal scale in ten values…even I have difficulty with it (lol)…the main point is to understand how the addition or subtraction of water creates tonal value, which is important in watercolour as we work from light values to dark. You have done an excellent job on your tonal sketches.
    For me, tonal painting is very addictive and as you said an excellent transportable medium. If you bought a small folding palette with deep wells such as the Liz Deacon Palette available form Ken Bromley...this would be a really useful small palette for you to take with you. My students use this palette for both class work and plein air. You can squeeze your colours into the deep wells ahead of time and it has ample mixing room and folds tight and quite small. Just use a tiny spray bottle to mist your paints every time you use them. It is a little expensive, but toughened plastic and I personally think it is well worth the money compared to cheaper ones.

    Here is the link: (I'm not affiliated with this product, just like it)

    If you want to work on colour wheels on your travels, just draw out the wheels a head of time at home on your watercolour paper, so that you have one less step while travelling. Such a great thing to be doing in the evenings while away from home.

    1. Maggie,

      Thank you for your advice and encouragement. I’ve been considering the purchase of a new pallete and the Liz Deakin Palette looks very good.

      All the best,