Posts Tagged ‘aquarelle’

Be part of  my live streams with me Martin Stephenson

Once the busy Summer Season of teaching finishes in October, I will be streaming live on Youtube every week. The day and time are still to be confirmed, but likely to be at the weekends.

These live streams will include about 60-90 minutes tutorial on the most popular Watercolour Techniques and Tips filmed at the White Boat Studio in Sozopol, Bulgaria. Unscripted and un-rehearsed you will be able to watch me painting live ‘warts and all’ and ask questions during the live transmission using the chat feature.

Prior to my lessons starting you can even ask me to paint your favourite subject. The only thing I won’t be painting is portraits. To request a particular subject just either fill in the contact form at the bottom or send me an e-mail to or

If you have seen my other YouTube tutorials, you will know that my way of teaching is simple, straightforward and fun. If you are a complete beginner to watercolour painting, or are a more experienced painter, then this is the place for you.

I don’t subscribe to all the silly rules usually connected with this wonderful medium. Instead you will be encouraged to spread your own artistic wings, and develop your own painting journey. For sure there are some basic things you need to master, and these will come only with practise, but my own attitude that ‘anyone can paint’ is reflected in my students rapid progress and understanding.

If you need a list of supplies so you can paint along just let me know, and I’ll email you a PDF.

My own experience teaching over many years, during my various Art Clubs, Art Holidays and Workshops is testament to this attitude of keeping things simple, and my many students endorsements on my other blog on here should give you the encouragement to subscribe and get involved.

During my past live demonstrations things don’t always go to plan, but my lack of fear of failure should ensure that these live feeds will be unpredictable but also great fun.

They will be based on my successful e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ which is free to anyone that requests it.    The complete book (20 lessons and 157 pages) features full colour graphics, and is jam packed with everything you need to know on the subject. For skim readers it even has those ‘lighbulb’ moments that shouldn’t be overlooked.

You can download my book, prior to my live lessons by filling in the contact form below. Or read about it on another blog here Just like my book, if you expect to find instruction on Colour Theory, Perspective or all the other boring stuff then this definitely will NOT be the place for you.

As my live streams develop, you will be able to receive updates and sketches in advance, post your own paintings and get critique and feedback from me. I have just launched a brand new facebook group called Paint Buddy to do just that.

During the last few months, I have been testing new equipment and software to ensure that the experience will be of the highest quality. This includes studio quality sound and HD Cameras. The lessons will be filmed live at the studio in Sozopol or in my studio at home in rural Bulgaria where the occasional sound of livestock, or storks chattering should be the only distractions.

Some of my new ‘Toys’ !

In the coming weeks I will do the odd test using all my social media platforms, so you may see me pop up somewhere.  You can me in all the usual places on the interweb, so just search for Martin Stephenson, Stevo or Artstevo.

If you would prefer private tuition using skype, just let me know my skye name is Martin Stephenson

If you add me to your skype we can chat about what you have in mind, and I can give you the prices.

Maybe you will attend one of my popular Year Round Workshops and Painting Holidays here in beautiful Sozopol, Bulgaria. Or maybe we will meet in Greece or in Asia. If you subscribe to my blog you will be able to keep up with all the News and my whereabouts. We at the White Boat Studio also invite Guest Artists and their students, so if you belong to an art club or society, or are a teacher, please contact me using the form at the bottom.

My live streams will start with Watercolour Painting, but I am also a Mixed Media Artist (funds allowing, the subject of my next book), so who knows how it will develop Acrylics, Pen and Ink, Pastels, Decoupage perhaps. As my own journey continues hopefully so will yours. Another feature of these live demonstrations is that they are automatically saved to my YouTube channel, so even if the time zone isn’t convenient for you, you can still watch the recordings at a time to suit you. Whilst initially aimed at the UK GMT time zone (we are 2 hours ahead here in Eastern Europe) I am open to suggestions of timings to suit my audience, so get in touch with your suggestions.

One thing is for sure it will be a great journey together. Through my painting, and my teaching I have met many wonderful people from around the World, both face to face and virtually, and I am confident that my live lessons will be very popular.

So click on the YouTube link below

and subscribe today to join my new Worldwide Painting Community

I look forward to meeting you soon

Martin Stephenson

And finally even though
all my live streams
and my e-book will

There are costs involved, so apart from buying my paintings, which I ship Worldwide,  if anyone would like to either donate money (however small) or become a Patron you can do so in the following ways:-

To make a one off payment you can do this securely to my paypal account by clicking on the paypal link above.

Alternatively you can become a regular supporter using

This word document contains ways to contribute, make a donation and to download my book so just download the word document below where it says links, to read more.

Links for donations and to get my book




Our air conditioned studio overlooking the fishing harbour

Here are some examples of what you will learn on your art holiday in Bulgaria.
In short if you are a complete beginner you have come to the right person, and the right place.
I can relate very well to many perceived issues some people have when they first start out on their watercolour painting journey. Here are some quotes from my past students, which you may be able to relate to. I know I could when I first started.


Fiddling in the extreme

Q. I find myself fiddling with very fine drawing instruments but don’t find it enjoyable.

A. I did exactly the same thing, as it seems much easier to control. At the outset you will be encouraged to ‘think big’ using large brushes, and dishes of paint.

Q. I can’t even draw

A. Depending on the subject matter you choose to paint, there is very little drawing during your holiday, and sometimes none at all.

Q. Isn’t watercolour the hardest medium of all ?

A. It has been described as being like a wild horse. But there are very few ‘rules’, master these and you will be up and running usually after the very first lesson.

Q. I have tried watercolors before and everything turned out muddy, not fresh like watercolours I have seen.

A. This is the most common problem for beginners to watercolour, and ‘avoiding mud’ has a whole section in my free e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ given free with every booking.


Painting with just one colour

Q. My paintings always look flat.

A. Another very common problem, and one so easy to correct. It’s so important that the very first lesson of your painting holiday is covered here. Painting with just one colour, and how to mix different tones is the first building block.


Q. When I look at that big blank piece of paper I just freeze especially when considering painting the sky.

A. For most beginners to watercolour skies can be daunting, but by the first few lessons you will be painting skies with confidence, even stormy ones.

Close up of The Old Windmill & The Islands

Q. There seems so many ‘rules and dogma’ attached to watercolour like you can’t use white paint why is that.

A. It seems to be true, but strangely only in recent years, the great watercolour masters used everything at their disposal to achieve a particular result. Just look at Turner’s or Monet’s paintings and you will see what I mean. During your holiday you will be taught how to paint ‘pure’ watercolours, but towards the end of your holiday you will also be encouraged to experiment with goache, ink and gesso. We will even be using some more ‘unusual’ techniques using normal household items like salt and cling film.

Q. When I have tried watercolours before I always end up with ugly stains on my painting.

A. Most beginners have this problem, and avoiding ‘backruns’ or ‘cauliflowers’, and even how to control them is covered in lesson 2 of your holiday.


Some artists even use them in their work to great effect

During your painting holiday, even if you have never painted before you will end up with all the knowledge you’ll need to make you into a confident painter, whatever subject matter you chose when you go home. But my help doesn’t end when your holiday does. You will have my e-book to guide you on your way, and serve as a reminder of your experience with me.

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

My painting workshops are limited in size to ensure everyone gets the personal attention they deserve. My style of teaching is simple, step by step at a pace to suit you. I also like to have fun so you should find the whole experience one to remember. My students from all over the World tend to come back year after year, whether it’s in Bulgaria, Greece and even throughout Asia.

If you want to read about what my students say about my lessons and my e-book please have a look at my other blog by clicking this link


Sketching at the harbour

Q. What is the best time of year to come to Bulgaria ?

A. My holidays run during June, July, August and also October. A lot depends on whether you like the hot weather, Bulgaria has a typical Mediterranean climate and some of the best beaches in Europe. There will be lots to do here in Sozopol after your morning painting session, which is normally from 10am until about 1.30 with a break for refreshments.

Q. What about my accommodation during my holiday.

A. We normally use a 3* family run hotel which includes breakfast. The rooms have fantastic views overlooking the Sea and the Islands of St.John and St.Peter. There is also a restaurant at the Hotel, a great place to watch the sun go down listening to a classical guitarist. Sozopol, with it’s Greek roots has many fine Restaurants, especially in the Old Town. The Diamanti Hotel is located just a few minutes walk through the old cobbled street to our Studio.

To have a look at the hotel, please click on this link

The last thing to mention, is value for money. Unlike more ‘fashionable’ painting holiday destinations, everything here is about half the price of the UK. That means that a nice meal with wine will be about 25 lev (around 10 pounds sterling).

If you would like to find out more about Sozopol, just try a Google search.

If you would like an e-brochure with more details of your painting holiday, please fill in the form below.

I look forward to seeing you in Sozopol to start your personal art journey.

Martin Stephenson aka Stevo

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

The Lighthouse at The Cape

These days with the internet and youtube etc, art and the teaching of it, have never been so easy, free and accessible.

I am still an avid reader of instructional books, and consider that I am still on my own personal art journey, and maybe I always will be. My early mornings are usually spent watching youtube instructional videos, and it’s very addictive. I do this for three reasons, for inspiration, to keep up to speed with new trends and materials and also to compare how my own tutorials compare. Some youtube stuff worth checking out are Tim Wilmot, and also the Colour in Your Life series. If you have never seen the three amigos painting together it’s awe inspiring, check it out here

I have been asked recently who were (and still are) influencing my work. The list is very long and very distinguished, so I’ll list them below in no particular order, and try and explain what I like about their work.

Lets start with a Country that seem to be producing lots of my current favourites, Australia.

  1. Amanda Hyatt. Her work is so expressive and simple,she has also appeared on Colour in Your Life.
  2. Joseph Zbukvik. His whole approach to watercolour painting is awe inspiring. www.josephzbukvic.com
  3. John Lovett. He is a mixed media artist who believes (as I do) that in art there should be no restrictions. There never were for the Great Masters, so why should there be now. I currently own two of his ‘Splashing Paint’ books and his dvd and always go back to them if I get a block.                                               
  4. Alvaro Castagnet. I also love the expressive exuberance of Alvaro, his fun teaching style is truly inspirational, and he was also on the Colour in Your life series.



When I first started painting I had a very busy life, demanding job, family etc. and found very little free time to paint, (a bit like playing golf), so had to use my painting time as best I could.

Part of this for me was to study from my art books, and from other artists work. Now whilst some of the books I owned were none instructional, many were. I frequented my local library coming back with arms full of books at a time.


One of my first influences was Ron Ranson and his hake brushes

At that time my influences were many Ron Ranson,  the late Rowland Hilder, the late John Blockley and Ashley Jackson, all who’s instructional books were teaching me the techniques of watercolour painting. In the early days, I once had the pleasure of Exhibiting in the same room as a full sheet Rowland Hilder it was magnificent.

Once you learn those basics, what then……….

Well here’s what worked for me. Obviously in those days (before the internet) you had to visit galleries or read books to see art. I once received a present from a friend who bought me a book of Turner’s paintings. When I read it I used to look at the lavish photographs of his paintings and think ‘I wonder how Turner got that effect’ ? So what I started to do was to copy his paintings, with the limited practical knowledge I had at the time. Now some were disasters and others were not, surprisingly.

I found that by putting myself in Turners shoes, as it were, meant that I was trying to achieve the same results as he did all those years ago. It was a very liberating moment for me.


My penwork and freedom to use anything I wanted was due to this book by John Blockley

I used to do exactly the same with all the paintings in my other books, until eventually you get to a stage where pulling the techniques you learn, and finding style and subject matter you like, eventually ends up being your own unique style (not that I think I have one yet by the way).

These days my influences change, and with the advent of the internet, it’s never been easier to access art online. I still enjoy looking at other artist work, and in fact have a file on my computer called ‘Other Artists Work. And I still wonder ‘mmmm how did they do that’?  Classics like Andrew Wyeth and John, Singer Sargent always amaze me.

Would I recommend you copy someone else’s paintings ? ABSOLUTELY, not for sale, but as a learning tool. In later years all that skim reading, and soaking things up, like a hungry school kid lead me to writing my own e-book ‘Watercolours for Beginners’, having spent years teaching and studying art.

I had no formal art training, so consider myself self-taught. I am now semi-retired so have the time to paint most days. I also have the luxury of being able to paint what I want, sometimes just for my own amusement. Don’t get me wrong my teaching and painting holidays keep the wolf from the door, but I don’t exhibit anymore, instead relying on direct sales. I also have a few Galleries and outlets for my work.

For an artist compliments are nice but when someone is willing to pay for your work that’s the ultimate compliment. I am very humble about my work, and to me it’s worth will always be the cost of the paper. It’s the buyer that adds the value to it.



Incidentally if you would like to copy my paintings please do, I aren’t precious about them at all, and don’t forget I am still alive so you can ask me questions, unlike Turner and other of my watercolour heroes.

I also have photographs of all my work so if you would like any e-mailing I can do that too.




Martin Stephenson (aka Stevo)

The Old Ale House - CherkovoHere is an old interview I did for Novinite in Bulgaria

Call to prayer in Istanbul

‘Call to prayer at the Blue Mosque, Istanbul’

On our recent travels to Asia we used to fly from Istanbul, as it’s a mere 6 hours by bus from Burgas in Bulgaria.

Even as a child I was always intrigued by stories of the Roman Empire, and Constantinople (now Istanbul) and a place, a gateway for exotic travel where East truly meets West, and you can sense it everywhere.

The first time we went I was amazed by the grandeur, the smells, the colours and even the sounds. As we approached our Hotel in a taxi I could hear the mosques calling people to pray, and insisted on opening the taxi window to soak in the atmosphere.

This was my inspiration for this painting.


Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, please feel free to comment and subscribe.

The painting is for sale, please contact me if you would like to buy it.







When I buy a new colour or, as happened recently, I decided to change to a new brand altogether, I always experiment with the new colours and different colour combinations. This enables me to get to know the specific qualities (and also any limitations) of the new colours.

q. So why do you make your own colour cards ?

a. For several reasons

  1. If you get a colour card from an art shop, the reproduction is limited by the printing process, so is usually inaccurate.
  2. If you print one off the internet, it is usually worse.
  3. The colour represented on the casing of the paint is usually miles off.

So for these reasons I make my own.

You simply make a grid for the number of colours using your normal watercolour paper, in my case 48 colours in the full range of Tintoretto paints and 300gsm Bockingford. Then simply dip a moist brush into the tube (or pan) and paint a block of colour gradually make it weaker and then you can see all the various tones of the colour.



Ok so now you have your colour card what then ?

Let me give you an example, earlier this year I was teaching in Vassiliki in Greece. In Greece the greens are completely different than in my adopted home in Bulgaria. A couple of my favourite trees there were Cypress trees and those very old Olive Groves.

The Old Olive Grove

Both of which are not found in Bulgaria. So my solution was to combine lots of combinations of some of my blues and yellows, and record the results on offcuts of watercolour paper. It was then very easy to hold the sample up against the subject and pick the combination required.


These were the different green swatches I made

I also used this same method when I was experimenting with colours for the stunning sunsets in Greece, combining reds, oranges and yellows.DSC02475

I use these extensively, and to great effect during my workshops in Greece, Bulgaria and Asia.

Why not try making your own, different sky combinations would be a good one wherever you live in the World. In the UK the skies generally are colder so are usually Ultramarine based, whereas in warmer climates Cobalt or even Cerrulean Blue are more accurate.


More tips to come, please feel free to subscribe to my blog or leave any comments.


Martin (aka artstevo)


Here’s a dilemma !

Whenever I teach, one of the most important things I stress is to ensure that the brush has just the right amount of moisture to enable it to suck up the paint into the bristles. This is called capillary action. If the brush is too dry it won’t suck up the paint, but if it’s too wet not only does it change the colour of the paint, by making it paler (due to the added water in the brush) but it can also result in ‘back runs’ also known as ‘cauliflowers’. You know the ugly hard edged marks drawing attention away from the painting.

image1186In the painting above you can see the dramatic use of back runs,

which I think add to the energy of the painting

Now I had always read that these marks were frowned upon in art circles, presumably as they show a certain lack of understanding and control.

I teach that to ensure the brush is just right you can either flick it behind you on the floor   (great for keeping observers back, but a little anti-social) or best just to wipe it on an old towel or kitchen roll.

I had also been lead to believe that the ‘cauliflowers’ cannot be removed, but they can with just a slightly moist brush working slowly along the hard edged mark.

Despite everything I have ever read on the subject, I have noticed especially recently, that some artists actually use this technique in their paintings, proving I guess that they seem to have mastered the technique to their advantage.

199778_103095999773206_100002184192843_27034_3074310_nIn this example the painting seems to be all about the cauliflowers !

So I guess, as with all things in art, and in life rules are meant to be broken !

Personally speaking I prefer not to see them in my paintings but you own comments and personal preferences would be appreciated.

Happy Painting ! (with or without vegetables)……




Have you always painted ?

As long as I can remember I was always drawing as a child, and used to copy photos of my guitar hero’s when I was a teenager.

Have you had an art education ?

No I consider myself self taught, and find that being open to new ideas, materials and techniques is actually an advantage. I have never been a lover of rules, and my flexibility I think leads to avoiding being labelled a ‘one trick pony’ .

Do you have any online tutorials ?

Yes  in a couple of ways first there is my youtube channel, which is great fun and I love getting the feedback from around the World.

You can see my video’s here


The second way is my recently launched skype lessons for individuals and groups. You can read all about them on another separate blog by clicking the link below the logo.


How often do you paint ?

I like to paint every day, often starting before dawn (I am a night bird) and usually finishing at lunchtime drained and exhausted. Very happy when it’s gone well, and putting it down to experience when it hasn’t. When I have periods without painting, It makes me grumpy !

Do you paint in other mediums ?

Yes as well as my first love, watercolours, I also like pen and ink, mixed media (gouache) and chalk pastels. I have always been drawn to oils but hate the mess and the smell so have avoided it so far. Also I started relatively late in life (painting seriously that is) so feel I am against the clock, so would rather concentrate my efforts on fewer mediums, and do them really well.

Do you sell books ?

Copy of Final E-Book Cover Design

Yes, a few years ago I tried to remember everything I had ever learned (and read) about watercolours. I then produced my own e-book called ‘Watercolours for Beginners’ which is now available free to my Skype students.

It’s also for sale on Gumroad,  and as a special opening offer, the first 100 customers can download it for just $1 US, normal price is $15. Gumroad let’s you pay safely and securely online in your own currency.

You can also check it out first for free using this link, which gives you access to the contents page and a sample page on painting from photographs.

How do you sell your paintings ?

Through Galleries in Bulgaria (currently in Bourgas and Sozopol) , in Greece and also in Asia. And of course directly from our Art and Yoga centre in Sozopol.

What about your Teaching ?

I have been teaching for years now and really enjoy the challenges and the experience, it certainly teaches you humility, and how to think on your feet. My workshops in Sozopol, Bulgaria are very popular during the Summer, and in recent years I  have spent time in Asia teaching. I am also into my third year teaching in Vassiliki, on beautiful Lefkada in Greece, where I run workshops and painting holidays. So my teaching schedule for this year looks like this :-

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Scan this to read all about my Greece Painting Holidays





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And scan this one for my Bulgaria Workshops


Do you do commissions?

Yes I do, but don’t do portraits or animals !

What paints do you use ?


I use Tintoretto artist quality paints from Italy. I hate the restriction of pans and have always used tubes. My subjects and style involve access to lots of paint quickly, so I don’t use a traditional palette either I use white china bowls for mixing.

What brushes do you use ?


Almost exclusively Kolinsky sable brushes that a friend brings me from Moscow and St.Petersburg. I also have two full sets of Ron Ranson hakes, and various japanese mop brushes bought on my travels in Asia. I also love to use those cheap household paint brushes bought from DIY stores.

How long does it take to do a watercolour painting ?

The most enjoyable ones are the the ones I do ‘alla prima’ (in one hit) but sometimes I get bogged down in detail and those paintings become less enjoyable and more of a labour of love. Wet  in wet paintings can be done as quickly as 20 minutes. Some take up to a full day, but I do like to start a new painting every day. Sometimes when I am on a roll I can paint 12 in a day !

The most enjoyable ones are on those rare occasions, when it seems that someone else is controlling the brush. They are rare moments of magic, but the resulting paintings are usually my best work.

I have never been precious about my paintings, as far as I am concerned, they will always just be a cheap piece of paper. Apart from the pleasure I get from painting, the person who adds the value to the paper is the one who will spend their hard earned money on buying it. Now that is an honour.

What paper do you use and do you stretch it ?

In the early days I did stretch paper, but now I don’t. There is so much choice of paper out there these days, but I am bit limited to what I can buy locally in Bulgaria. I have always had a preference for 140lb 300gsm Bockingford Rough Paper. I think getting to really know one paper is more important than the brand so just experiment. My advice would be to buy the thickest you can then it won’t buckle as much (and you don’t need to stretch it). I simply tape my paper to a board using masking tape. It also leaves a nice border around the finished painting. But don’t let your younger students remove it themselves, as they have a tendency to rip their masterpiece, usually followed by tears !

How do you decide what to paint ?

I like to paint anything that moves me, though do have a preference for buildings, seascapes, rust and peeling paint.

Do you prefer plein air painting or studio work ?

I love to paint outdoors, but living and working in Bulgaria, and working and teaching in other hot countries is very difficult as the paint can dry in seconds, so I usually limit plein air work to sketches, and line and wash. This was my tiny plein air kit I used in Asia, where I even painted on the beach in full sun !


Do you paint from photographs ?

I try not to, but usually use a combination of a sketch and photos to record details. The mood of the paintings is something that I ‘feel’ from the experience of the scene.

What kind of camera do you use ?

I have recently bought a very small digital Sony WiFi camera, and take it everywhere with me. It has a fantastic zoom and you can download your images wirelessly, without cables or having to remove the memory card.

Do you exhibit ?

In the early days I did, but I find the experience very flattering but expensive, so are a little more synical these days about Exhibitions generally. It’s great for all those slaps on the back, and the kind words from friends. But in these tough days artists generally are finding it tough. And I would rather spend my time and money improving my work, and spending my money in art shops !

It’s also never been easier to have an online presence at a fraction of the cost. So I have concentrated my time there.

Do you have a website ?

Yes and No really. My website  was traditionally maintained by me, using a template, but it was never as I would have liked it to be. Partly due to the templates limitations, and partly due to my lack of technical knowledge. The upshot of that was that it was rarely up to date and relevant.

So recently I have migrated everything to wordpress, and find it much easier to update this regularly, sometimes even daily. Also I am very active on facebook, as it’s just so easy to get things ‘out there’ quickly.

Where else can I find you on the internet ?

Frankly everywhere, just search for Martin Stephenson or artstevo and see what comes up. I have been active for years online so the paper trail will be extensive….Just ignore the search results for the band Martin Stephenson and The Dainties ! That’s not me …..

You will find me on facebook, twitter, linkedin, , instagram, pinterest, wayn etc etc.

Click on the logo below to see my facebook page, where I always post my finished paintings first.

facebook logo

What about the future ?

Hopefully I will have more time to paint and improve. I recently started painting mixed media on canvas, and hope to do lots more. In addition I hope to write another book on mixed media, and produce lots more youtube tutorials, where nearly 100,000 people have already viewed them. It’s very gratifying to read the comments, and see my likes and followers continue to grow.

Can I subscribe to keep up to date ?

Yes most of the platforms support that, just click on the Subscribe button.

Morning Sail from Sozopol


The reason this painting came about was that a Gallery owner near my Studio, in Sozopol asked me to paint bigger, and it was an area I was considering anyway, so was happy about the request.

The mixed media (goache, acrylic and watercolour) on stretched linen canvas was an intimidating 200cm wide x 90cm I applied two coats of White Gesso the previous day and let it dry overnight.

It was the first time I had painted so large, so I chose a familiar subject I had painted many times in watercolour, the view of Burgas Bay, with the Stara Planina mountain range in the background, and Sozopol and it’s Islands in the foreground. The viewpoint is from my original studio in Paradise Bay.

I knew that because of the large are of sky and water, preparation would be important so I mixed up large pots of fairly liquid Cobalt Blue and White Goache. I chose Goache as I like to use my watercolour lifting off technique for the reflections in the water and for the clouds in the sky. The whole of these areas were painted very quickly in about 20 minutes, and was done in one ‘hit’….. very scary !

I had a smaller canvas prepared, and painted that too, so I could have a dummy run at each stage before turning my attention to the big one.


I had sketched the scene lightly using a 4b graphite pencil.

My girlfriend helped me pour the two colours onto first the sky area. I had the canvas tipped on an angle to give a little movement as I painted. It was a very hot day and I knew I had minutes to paint these large areas so speed was of the essence. It was also essential to know when to stop so the painting was clean, and not muddy, so no fiddling…..



DSC00102 DSC00103

Using the same techniques I use in my watercolour painting, ie painting the furthest things away first I lifted out clouds using tissue and a moist brush. It was important to wipe out where I wanted the reflections in the water, and I made sure these areas were wiped vertically right back to the white canvas. The number of ‘planes’ in this painting were the sky, the distant mountains, the Islands, and finally the foreground headland. As I wanted lots of distance, or recession in my painting to capture the vastness of Burgas Bay (it’s about 15 miles as the crow flies to the distant mountains) It was important that I didn’t paint too dark too soon, and wanted to capture a perfect summers day.

DSC00111 DSC00112


Using a mixture of Caput Mortem and Cobalt Blue, mixed with a little Light Red Oxide Goache I painted the distant mountains (known locally as the Blue Mountains) The light in the painting was coming from the right, so I used sloping brush strokes following the contours of the hills. As you can see I carefully cut around the distant towns of Pomorie, Nessebar and Sunny Beach, and did the same around the Island and Lighthouse. As a newbie to Mixed Media painting am not sure this is necessary but I knew that the ‘lights’ in the painting would be important.

DSC00159 DSC00160 DSC00161


I painted the shadow side of the distant hotels using the same mix as the mountains. I then strengthened this mix and painted rocks on the islands, and added some detail to the distant water, and some darker lines for the reflections.


I then used various earth colours and cool greens to paint the islands, indicating some distant trees and bushes. I painted the lighthouse sharply ensuring that the shadows were on the left hand side. Doing this ensured that the lighthouse counterchanged with the distant mountain range. I even included a couple of seagulls over the roof !

DSC00170 DSC00171 DSC00173 DSC00174


Was to warm and darken all of my colours to paint all the buildings on the foreground headland, ensuring that all the shadow sides were on the left. This took about two days work. I also ensured that the brights here particularly the greens really pinged !


Once everything was painted I then added some reflections in the water, and suggested some movement in the foreground.

The painting was exhibited at the Bisserra Gallery in Sozopol


It was then featured as the showcase at my first exhibition ‘An Englishman Abroad’  in Sofia and subsequently sold and is now in a private collection in Germany

Sofia flier 2 (2)


I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial and story of my painting.

Please feel free to share or comment