Clare Weatherill: Harbours & Shores with Boats

Wednesday, 8th November

Clare gave us a brilliant workshop on Wednesday 8th November.

After an introductory chat, Clare gave us each an A3 size sheet of cartridge paper, and asked us to do warm-ups with pencil sketches of boats to fill the paper. We used the figure of eight shape to suggest the boats. There were photocopies of sketches and attractive photographs, which Clare had taken, to use as models. Then we added some tone.

We did a simple painting including two boats, keeping in mind where the light was coming from.

Clare then explained the layout of her tools on the painting table; a butcher’s tray covered with a grey flannel, holding the brushes. Narrow tape; a metal knife for tapping on with a loaded brush to make spatter; wax for texture; a lining pen and rotten old brush for putting  masking fluid onto paper, which she removes before the last washes are done, in order to integrate the white spaces softly in the picture.

Also, a spray bottle of clean water, which is used to spray the paper from about a distance of 2 feet, to prevent hard edges from appearing.  A spray of water onto any mistake makes it easy to wipe off, so no students need fear making any mistakes.

We proceeded to each choose a simple image to draw up for painting.

Clare discussed composition, while demonstrating how to paint the first layer of pale colour with a loaded brush adding lots of water and dropping in a second colour, to keep it alive. Leaving NO hard edges, we ended up with a ghost image of background, subject and foreground, then let it dry. Clare demonstrated painting the second tone with a dryer brush, done in areas, and when that was dry, the third dark tone. Texture had been added in parts, but particularly evident in the foreground.

We each did two of these paintings. Clare was very enthusiastic in her encouragement as she came round to help us. We needed to keep the painting loose, to PLAY, with no hard edged copying of photographs! We added bright orange accents on buoys. She added “the paper is talking” and “take the drips for a walk”!

The day finished with a look at everyone’s paintings, for assessment and comments.

We all enjoyed the day very much. It was marvellous to discover how we could make completed, lively, textured, colourful, watercolour pictures, with Clare’s brilliant methods and enthusiasm.

Report by Philippa Seebohm


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