Archive for the ‘Watercolour Holidays in Greece’ Category

‘Painting Waves in Watercolour’

My latest youtube tutorial showing how to paint a simple seascape in Watercolour.

The demo takes you through the painting ‘step by step’, so stand by the pause button if you plan to paint along with me.

Just click on the link below to go straight to the video.

https://youtu.be/qgM4ZsHhPsw

Happy Painting !

Correcting errors in Watercolour

One of the very many Myths surrounding watercolour painting is that ‘you can’t correct mistakes’…

At the off,  let me say that this is completely untrue. If you react quickly with a slightly moist brush, clean water and tissue you can, say lift off splashes in your perfect sky with this method.

WHAT IF SOMETHING MORE DRAMATIC IS NEEDED ?

Let’s take one of my recent disasters I painted recently (thankfully they are few and far between these days), but it happens to us all.

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This is the painting in question, over-worked, little tonal value, no light source, dodgy shadows etc. etc.

So I decided to remove the whole painting, what I call ‘The Sink Treatment’. If you are unhappy with a small section, that can be lifted of with a moist brush and tissue. You may only be unhappy with, say the sky, if this is the case you can simply remove that offending part using the same sink method.

Let me say at this point, that most pigments do stain, in varying degrees depending on the colour, so you will never get back to pure white paper. Also in my case I had painted the stone wall using permanent ink so that stayed put.

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STEP 1

Run the tap until it is luke warm, this helps loosen the pigment.

STEP 2

Use a hogs hair (oil) brush or a stiff bristled household paint brush,  gently go back and forth over the painting until the pigment starts to move. Tip your board at an angle so the paint falls into the sink. If you are too vigorous you can damage the surface of the paper.

STEP 3

Keep repeating until you are either happy with the results, or until the water runs clear.

STEP4

Clean around your board with tissue, and let it dry naturally. I would only recommend this on paper taped to a board, if not the paper may cockle badly as it dries. Mop the water from the tape, and the painting with kitchen roll.

Don’t forget to keep checking the tape to ensure it’s still sticking until it’s completely dry.

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Once you have done the ‘sink treatment’ you end up with a pale ghosty image, giving you an ideal ground to start again. I ended up with a misty image which gave me an idea for the subsequent painting.

The following day, I re-painted the painting, using White Gouache to create a misty atmospheric picture I was happy with.

This was the finished painting called ‘Misty morning in the Bluebell Woods’.

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Yesterday, I read with sadness that Ron Ranson had died, after a short illness aged 93.

The reason for this blog is to pay tribute to a man who almost single handedley influenced my understanding of watercolour painting, and ultimately (many years later) was also to influence my teaching methods.

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Until I read his book ‘The Ron Ranson Technique’ many years ago, I had read so much from other artists, that quite frankly it was enough to put me off painting for life. I am sure others can empathise when I used to stand in front of that relatively expensive piece of blank paper, anxious that every attempt should be worthy, and end up framed and on the wall.

My life long ambition to become an artist, only came to fruition after I moved to Bulgaria 7 years ago to semi-retire. Until then family, mortgages and the fast pace of life in the UK had prevented any sustained effort on my part.

All that was to change when I read Ron’s Book.

Until then ‘fiddling’ with the very smallest mapping pens seemed the way to go, but frankly it was soul-less, tedious and not enjoyable. I used to spend maybe 100 hours on one drawing over many days.

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Before his books, I used to stand in awe in the art shops, not knowing what to buy. Invariably I came away with nothing. Then I read the Chapter where he encouraged a student to use cheap lining paper, stand up to paint, use big brushes and a limited palette of colours. Suddenly it clicked and it was very liberating for this self confessed fiddler to be free. ranson5

He also quashed my misgivings about all the rules and dogma surrounding watercolour painting, such as ‘It’s the most difficult medium’, ‘You can’t correct errors’, and you must never use white paint or resort to tricks like scraping, salt and the like.

Don’t get me wrong, he was not my only influence in those early days, but he was, by far the most important. In truth, and I don’t think it would be disresepectful to admit that I didn’t really like his paintings, but have later found out that you don’t have to be a great artist to be a great teacher. All you have to do is to impart knowledge in a simple, fun, and friendly way, and having read some of his testimonials recently I figure that’s how the great man was.

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In addition to his practical advice on the techniques of watercolour painting, he also talked about his teaching in Paxos, Greece, and I used to think ‘how wonderful, what a life that must be’. Little did I know at the time that my own teaching would be my passport to travel anywhere in the World that I chose.

When I moved to Bulgaria, with my dwindling savings, I stumbled into teaching, after a lady in our village asked if I would teach her. Her husband, who had been in ear shot said ‘have you thought about doing this for a living’. I looked for an art club, without success, so decided to start my own, which I carried on for many years. That experience, enough to test the patience of job, was to stand me in good stead in the years that followed.

Fast forward a few years, and all that reading lead me to write my own e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ an accumulation of all that art book reading from Ron, and the likes of Rowland Hilder, John Blockley and Ashley Jackson.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

I you would like a free copy of my book, please contact me

As I find myself approaching old age I made the concious decision to provide my book free of charge, to try and share the joy and simplicty of my own approach to the subject. It also proves as a reminder to me as my memory fades.

Those dreams of teaching in Paxos sewn by Ron, eventually came to fruition, and to date I have taught hundreds, if not thousands of students in Bulgaria, Greece, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bali.

My book is now downloaded every day, and my youtube tutorials have had almost 100,000 hits since I started them. My original paintings are also in private collections Worldwide.

With the advent of the internet, it’s never been easier or cheaper to learn, communicate and spread the word. Gone are the days when coming back with 8 (the maximum number) of art books from the Library was the norm.

When I show my ‘dog-eared’ The Ron Ranson Technique book to students, they invariably ask to borrow it, and I reluctantly but politely refuse. From time to time when I feel my painting are getting ‘tight’ I dig out the book and the hakes, stand up, put the music on loud and after a couple of loose’;wet in wets’ I am cured (until the next time) !

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RON RANSON

Ron died recently in the USA after a short illness

This is my tribute to a man I never met, but who changed my  (and I’m sure many others around the World) lives forever.

God bless and thank-you to you.

How to make your own Christmas Cards in Watercolour

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In my opinion, there’s nothing quite as personal as making your own original Christmas Cards,

and it’s something I have been doing for a few years now.

Because the colours on the cards are very similar, it’s very quick and easy to paint lot’s in one go.

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This is 1/4 sheet imperial Bockingford Rough paper split into 4 cards. I tape it down to give a nice edge to the card. When you take the tape off make sure you remove it slowly and carefully or it can tear your finished work.

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I then cut the cards, leaving a crisp border around each card. Then using an A4 sheet of coloured card I simply glue or tape the Christmas card to the backing card, having creased, and folded it in half. You can also insert a slip of A4 paper inside to write your personal seasonal message. An envelope and it’s ready to be posted to friends and family.

When Christmas is over the cards can be framed.

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Click on the Mistletoe card above to go to the Youtube tutorial.

 

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Click on the Christmas Candle card above to go to the Youtube tutorial

 

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A few more examples of this year’s cards. If you click on the Mistletoe or the Christmas Candle cards above, you can see my Youtube tutorials on exactly how I painted them.

If you click on the YouTube logo below, you can see all my videos on there.

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So this year why not try your own original Christmas Cards, have fun Happy Painting.

A very Happy Christmas and New Year to my friends from around the World

Thank-you for all the likes, thumbs up’s and comments !

Note If anyone would like to use these I am happy to oblige, if you would like me to e-mail you the drawings I can do that too. Just e-mail your request to me at artstevo@gmail.com or leave a comment.

Watercolours for Beginners Workshops

  Greece Summer 2017

with

English Landscape Artist

Martin Stephenson

Artist Martin Stephenson

in association with

1oceanlogo_2015

It gives me great pleasure to announce the confirmed dates for my workshops

for Summer 2017 in beautiful Vassiliki, Lefkada, Greece

Week Commencing 4th June

Week Commencing 10th September

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Based in beautiful Vassiliki your painting holiday is in one one the most beautiful areas in Greece,

in fact most of the photographs used by the tourism board in Greece

are taken on this jewel of the Ionian Sea, Lefkada


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Some happy students with their paintings in Vassiliki

Vassiliki is known as one of the best watersports centres in the World so there is lots to do

for Artists and their none painting partners.

  • WINDSURFING
  • SAILING
  • STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING
  • SEA KAYAKS
  • WALKING
  • MOUNTAIN BIKING
  • YOGA
  • FITNESS
  • MASSAGES

You can see the full programme on the Ocean Elements website here

CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE WEBSITE

Ocean Elements is Vassiliki’s premier watersports centre

with many years experience in the Hospitality Industry


YOUR ACCOMODATION

Is Bed and Breakfast, staying  in the Surf Hotel, right next to the beach.

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To read about your Hotel please see what the clients on Trip Advisor say

CLICK TO SEE YOUR HOTEL


ABOUT YOUR TUTOR

English born Martin Stephenson is a self taught landscape artist,

teacher and author of the e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

FREE COPY WITH EVERY BOOKING

He has been teaching Watercolours for many years, running art holidays and art clubs, in his adopted home in Bulgaria, and also at spa resorts throughout Asia. Martin is no stranger to Vassiliki either, and 2017 will be the 3rd year he has taught on Lefkada, finding inspiration in the beautiful and grand natural Land and Seascapes. As well as watercolours, he is also proficient in other mediums, including Pastels, Pen and Ink and Mixed Media.

Martin has had solo exhibitions including ‘East Meets West’ and ‘An Englishman Abroad’. His work is in Private Collections throughout the World, and he also has a dedicated youtube channel for his much sought after Tutorials on Watercolour Painting.

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TO WATCH MARTIN’S TUTORIALS PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK

His simple approach to his first love Watercolour Painting, and stripping the mystique from the subject means his students learn to paint very quickly. In addition his patient nature, comprehensive knowledge and enthusiasm is infectious. His dry Northern humour is also a factor in his teaching style, ensuring that students not only learn fast, but also have great fun in the process.

As well as this blog Martin also has a dedicated Painting Holidays in Greece facebook page, to see it click below

GO TO THE FACEBOOK PAGE

 

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WHAT WILL I LEARN ON MY PAINTING HOLIDAY WITH MARTIN ?

Martin’s Painting Holidays are aimed at Complete Beginners and Watercolour Improvers.

Your 6 painting sessions are scheduled in the mornings, are arranged so you won’t miss out on all the other exciting activities in Vassiliki. The lessons will be held between 10am (after breakfast) and are 3 hours in duration.

Your studio for the week is located outside, but under cover with beautiful views over Vassiliki Bay.

There is provision to paint indoors if on the rare occasion, there is bad weather.

Your lessons start with the basics of watercolour painting and include ;-

  • WHAT YOU DO AND DON’T NEED TO KNOW
  • THE MYTHS ABOUT WATERCOLOUR PAINTING
  • MATERIALS THEIR CARE AND USE
  • LOOKING AND REALLY SEEING
  • ANALYSING A SCENE
  • COMPOSITION AND LINING UP ISSUES
  • WHAT MAKES A GOOD PAINTING
  • WHY YOU DON’T NEED TO BE ABLE TO DRAW
  • PAINTING USING JUST ONE COLOUR
  • HOW TO ACHIEVE DISTANCE IN YOUR PAINTINGS
  • HOW TO MIX COLOURS
  • PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
  • PRESENTATION OF YOUR PAINTINGS
  • HOW TO SELL YOUR PAINTINGS

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING ON MY PAINTING HOLIDAY

All artist quality materials are provided including :-

  • Rowney synthetic Brushes
  • 300gsm Bockingford Rough Watercolour paper
  • Boards and tape
  • Full Range of 48 Tintoretto artist quality tubes of paint
  • Graphite pencils
  • Putty Rubbers
  • Palettes and dishes
  • Lightweight Easels if required (though most lessons will be conducted sitting down)
  • Specialist items, like masking fluid, ink etc

But you can bring your own favourite brushes and materials if you would prefer.

Basic kits will be available during your stay for a small additional charge.

Spaces are strictly limited to 12 for each workshop, to keep it informal and friendly,

so it’s advisable to book your place early.

THE PRICE IS 819 GBP

This includes flights from Gatwick or Manchester, transfers, and bed and breakfast at the Surf Hotel. It also includes access to all the watersports activities, and six days watercolour tuition (and includes all artists quality materials). Your holiday package can be tailored to suit your requirements, so if you are coming from another Country, or maybe don’t want the watersports included, simply let me know.

artstevo@gmail.com

or contact Ocean Elements

TO BOOK OR ENQUIRE

SEE YOU IN VASSILIKI IN SUMMER 2017

If you would like to read what my past students think about their painting experience with me you can read about it on the trip advisor link above or read my blog below

WHAT MY PAST STUDENTS SAY

 

Why indeed ?

Here is a little idea for all budding artists out there.

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Here ‘s how your envelope may look, when you get it back

It’s an idea I got from fellow Malay artist Chang Fee Ming, check his work out.

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So the idea is that you paint on an envelope, mine as you can see was a printed envelope. You can either put yours or the recipient’s address on the front over the painted envelope, or as I did on the back of the envelope.

It was funny trying to explain to the Hotel receptionist in Malaysia, that I wanted my letter posted back to myself, back to the resort, she clearly thought I was an eccentric Englisman. But she duly obliged. Hey presto when it comes back to you, it’s franked with the date and location, and covered in lovely foreign stamps.

A lovely reminder of your trip, or a nice present for someone back home when you are on your travels.

As Chang pointed out though some do go missing in the post, or like mine the postal service didn’t arrived before we left the Country, and it had to be forwarded by the Resort.

Here are a few more examples, why not give it a try ?

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Well this is a subject very close to my heart, how to mix greens.

From birth we experience millions of different greens, so familiar are they to the human eye, that they say ‘never buy a green car’. Have a bump, get it re-sprayed and the human eye will always see the difference between the new colour and the old.

As an artist, especially a beginner it would be reasonable to think that with all that choice in your local art shop, there must be perfect greens straight from the tube.

It’s true that when I teach beginners I do use tube greens from the tube and mix them together. Now about my own paintings DEFINATELY NOT.

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‘Barns near Burnsall’ Private Collection in Australia

On one of the very few ocassions I attended an Art Club, in Horsforth  Leeds, the tutor’s favourite green mix was Ultramarine Blue mixed with Gamboge , which I used in one of my earliest paintings above.

At that time I was only painting English scenes, before moving to my new home in Bulgaria, where the tree colours were similar and the mix served me well.

Then things changed, I started to teach in other countries, Vietnam, Bali, Thailand and Malaysia. What served me well in the UK and Bulgaria were simply inadequate in these new exotic climates.

Bamboo, Palms, Banana the list of new greens was endless and new. Then later I taught in Greece and when I arrived, and started painting and teaching I realised that neither in the UK, Bulgaria or Asia had I ever painted a Cypress Tree (with it’s very bluey, dark green colour) or Olive Trees (a silvery muted green)… I had had enough what to do ?

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By nessesity (lack of supply by my local art shops in Bulgaria) I had bought the full range (48 colours) in bulk directly from the manufacturers (Tintoretto in Italy) to ensure I could paint without interruption.

This gave me the opportunity to experiment, which I took full advantage of. As you can see from my home made colour card above there are some 12/13 yellows and about 9/10 blues which I wanted to experiment with. This was in Greece and I was looking for the colours for Cypress and Olive Trees.

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So I decided to take 6 of my most likely Blues 19,21,22,24,25 and 26 and combine them with my most likely Yellows 3,9,10,35,36,38 and 44

I made 6 colour cards using these combinations and numbered them as above, so I could study the results. I also tried to show the tonal value of each colour going from light to dark on each colour chip.

For those of you who know the colour of Olive trees, that particular Silvery Green.

The Old Olive Grove

Or the dark bluey green of a Cypress tree, I am sure you can see a suitable Green on my colour cards. From a practical point of view it was simple. When out painting hold the colour card up and the choice of colour combinations is obvious.

So when I get asked ‘how to mix greens’ the advice is simple, take whatever blues and yellows and have fun finding out how many greens you can mix. Make you own colour cards, then  you always have them for reference, either in the studio or painting outside.

I hope this helps.

Happy Painting

Martin

Please feel free to comment, like or subscribe

Here is the link to enable you to read my e-b00k  ‘Watercolours for Beginners’. Simply click on this link:-

Read it now absolutely free
Happy Painting !

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

WHAT WATERCOLOUR PAPER SHOULD I BUY ?

I was asked this question the other day during one of my lessons, so thought that I would share this on here.

Call to prayer in Istanbul

The washes on this painting were done very wet and you can see slight buckling of the paper.

Q. What paper do you use and why ?

A. I use 140lb (300gsm) Bockingford rough paper Why ?

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Well a few factors really I like how the rough texture, suits my subject matter, and my quite wet painting method.

When I first started I used to stretch my paper, using gummed tape, but now find that I can use masking tape which leaves a nice white edge around the painting, and obviates the need for all that stretching and planning ahead. I can also use the same paper for my students too, as it’s not too expensive.

Another factor here in Bulgaria is that it is usually available in my favourite art shop in Burgas, the Armstrong Centre, where I usually buy a whole pack of 25 sheets at a time sealed in it’s bag. This ensures that after the factory worker that made it, (St.Cuthberts Mill in England) that I am only the second person to handle it.The reason this is important is that the surface should NEVER be touched with your fingers, which always have residual oils on them, which can ruin your finished art work . Something your average art shop assistant seems unaware of !

I would encourage you to experiment with the paper you can buy locally, and when you find one that suits you STICK WITH IT and get to know it’s qualities (and maybe it’s limitations too) .

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VARIOUS WEIGHTS  ?

If you paper is too thin it will buckle badly when you wet it and leave your finished paper in ‘stripes’ where the paint settled in the hollows. Too heavy and whilst it won’t buckle at all the surface can be a little ‘dead’ and un-responsive.

WHAT ABOUT THE FINISH ROUGH OR SMOOTH ?

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This is a very personal thing, a flat paper surface sometimes called ‘Hot Pressed’ is more receptive to flat washes and more detailed work . ‘Cold Pressed and Rough’ gives all those lovely ‘happy accidents’ where the paint sediment collects in the hollows.Try doing  a wash using say Burnt Umber and Ultramarine and you will see what I mean.

I think that if you stick with the main brands of papers from Saunders or Arches you really can’t go wrong. Most of the main manufacturers will send you samples so you can experiment. A google search for Watercolour Paper should get you to all the manufacturers Worldwide.

CAN YOU PAINT ON BOTH SIDES ?

Yes you can, but I rarely do, as the paper, having been painted previously on one side is never completely flat. By the way you can tell the ‘face’ front of the paper by checking for the logo. Sometimes you have to hold it up to the light to see the watermark.

DO YOU CUT OR TEAR YOUR SHEETS OF PAPER ?

I always used to cut my paper, to fit my 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8th sheet standard mounts, but it was very labour intensive especially if I was preparing 20 pieces for a large workshop class. After reading a book by one of my favourite Australian artists John Lovett I used his method of simply marking my board with half, quarter and eight sheet sizes, laying down the sheet and tearing against a large metal square, bought from a DIY store. I handle the paper only by the edges when tearing, then storing it in plastic bags to keep it in pristine condition.

If you are a complete beginner, and find that big white piece of relatively expensive paper intimidating,  (GIVING YOU THE FEELING THAT I SIMPLY MUST PRODUCE A PAINTING) try using Wallpaper lining paper, that should be a liberating experience. Stand up, put some music on, and get out your biggest brushes, and just have fun !

I hope this has been helpful.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ‘LIKE’, SUBSCRIBE OR LEAVE ANY COMMENTS.

Happy Painting !
Martin