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A gallery of my first efforts

As a beginner I make no claims about the quality of my work but present my own first efforts here in the hope that it will encourage others to have-a-go.

Lesson 1 - Twin Peaks

The first time brush touched paper as I tried to follow the pointers in the book. The objective was not only to see how easily a simple landscape could be drawn but to see how the same colour could be varied according to how much water was used. As with so many of my efforts, it didn't match perfectly with the subject I was copying but it makes a pleasant picture all the same. I was truly amazed that something like this could be so simple.

Lesson 2 - Lakeside

A repeat of the previous lesson but this time with the addition of an island a couple of small 'carrot' people. The people are no more than a couple of carrot-shaped brush strokes but they are very effective in creating the illusion of people. It is hard to believe that such simple techniques can create such effective results. That is why I chose this picture to form the basis of my website banner.

Lesson 3 - Stormy Beach

This next painting introduces colour. I didn't do very well mixing the colour for the distant mountains but overall I found the process easier than I'd expected. It amazes me that every colour you can ever need can be made from a simple set of 8 basic colours.

Lesson 4 - Rowing Boat

Now we are introducing some basic shapes. Not a very good effort this although I suppose it is obvious it's a man in a rowing boat.

Lesson 5 - Boat on Beach

A slightly more complex shape in this boat. The upper edge of the boat is supposed to be based on a flattish, horizontal, figure-of-eight. Also introducing some simple shadows.

Lesson 6 - Sailing Boats

This was a technique that I didn't like a lot. It involves painting the sea and then placing 2 pieces of card on the painting and rubbing off the paint between them, leaving a 'blank' triangular shape, which becomes the sail of a boat.

Lesson 7 - Snow Scene

Before this, I had never considered the fact that 'snow' need be nothing more than 'unpainted paper'. One colour and huge areas of blank paper - what could be easier. To anyone thinking this picture looks far from easy, please remember this is only my 7th painting, the first with snow and my first tree. You can do this also.

Lesson 8 - Snow Scene with River

As with the previous picture, large areas of unpainted paper makes excellent snow. The 'browns' for the foliage adds to the 'winter' feel of this scene.

Lesson 9 - Misty Hills

Another new technique - creating 'mist'. An initial wash for the sky, as usual, but then a second wash after the hills had been painted to create the mist. Like everything else with watercolours, simple but effective. It is always recommended that paintings should be framed because they look so much better when they are. I framed this one and hung it in my Dining Room for a few days ... it's still there.

Lesson 10 - Sheep in Field

Now for something really adventurous ... animals. Actually, the sheep are nothing more than white circles on sticks with black triangles for heads. As beginners we assume we have to try and achieve photo-quality likenesses but we don't - the general impression is all that's needed.

Lesson 11 - Trees in Meadow

An exercise in drawing trees. Not one I did very well at, however, the painting does give the impression of old trees in a wild meadow and so, in that respect, I can't judge the picture as a complete failure.

Lesson 12 - Crofters Cottage

This was a lesson on how to create smoke. For me it turned into something else much more important. I completely screwed up the area to the left of the cottage and worked furiously to try and salvage the situation. The green hill shouldn't be there at all and hides a multitude of sins.

Lesson 13 - Fast River

A fast flowing river is another example of when 'not painting' becomes the key, just as with snow. The white froth of the rushing waters is created simply by the 'shape' of the blue areas.

Lesson 14 - Misty Pond

Colour mixing, one of my biggest problems, badly let me down with this effort. It is supposed to be of a pond with distant trees barely visible through the purpling mists of a warm summer morning.

Lesson 15 - Mediterranean Coast

It's a lovely feeling when you finally create a picture that you like. It is no longer a 'lesson' but an achievement. This one, for me, was my first real watercolour and it still hangs proudly on the wall of my bathroom where its warm but fresh colours blend perfectly with the golds and beige's of the decor.

Lesson 16 - Sunset on Treetops

This painting introduced me to Masking Fluid. The sun was drawn in outline and then 'painted' with masking fluid. The sky was painted in the usual way but then the dry masking fluid peeled off afterwards revealing a perfectly unpainted circle.

Lesson 17 - Snowy Slopes

The moon rising over a fresh fall of snow in Vermont, America. Several of our newly learned techniques come into play this time ... Masking Fuid for the moon, blank paper for the snow, and misting in the far distance.

Lesson 18 - Stormy Seas

Not strictly a lesson but simply a picture in the book that I could copy if I wished. It looked challenging, so I did. It turned out to be one of my alltime favourites. The picure captures the intensity of the storm and the raging seas pounding on the rocks.

Lesson 19 - Crofters Cottage in Snow

Again, not really a lesson but the opportunity to practice some of the things that have been covered so far. Whilst making a lovely subject for a picture, I really can't imagine living in a place like this.

Lesson 20 - Crofters Cottages

And last, but not least, another that wasn't a proper lesson, merely a practice opportunity. There is no getting away from the fact that these Crofters Cottages make superb subjects. They are very simple shapes for us beginners yet always in picturesque settings.