Langstone Harbour: The Finished Painting

When I finished the last post, I was about to put in the background trees and then the shadows on the buildings themselves

The trees I painted with a fan brush with crinkly bristles. Wide brushes like these are useful, as they can be used to pick up two colours at once, in this case French Ultramarine and Light Red. I used Sepia as well, where I needed to create definition, along the side of white buildings for example.

Imagining a low, bright light coming from the right-hand side, I used a blue – grey wash to put in shadow on every left-hand surface of each building including shadows that would have been cast on the ground. On the mill tower, which is round obviously, and which in real life is black, I again wanted to create the effect of bright light striking the round surface.  To get this effect. I painted blue-black down the left side whilst down the right half I brushed clean water. Then I let them meet. They did the job for me, and obligingly dried as I wanted. Along the left-hand perimeter, I brushed a thin line of neat Indigo, which gave the look of deep shadow on the far left.

Probably best to look at the image at this stage.

Langstone Harbour & Mill

Sadly, the camera leeches out some of the colour no matter how many different lights I use for the photography. The colours are subtle, anyway, so notices on the jpeg, whereas the painting itself works perfectly.

As I said, when I started out, I was going to attempt the style of Rowland Hilder, the famous watercolourist. I have used his colours, but I think my own style has crept through. Nevertheless, I am still happy enough with the finished painting

So let’s talk through the detailing

On the left-hand building, I have defined the window recesses with Indigo, as well as the guttering and down-pipe, and the roof line with Sepia

On the centre building, again I defined the roof-line and painted a rickety fence in front of the sluice gate. I may have mentioned earlier, that this was a tide mill as well as a windmill, so seawater flowing through this tunnel would have powered grinding machinery somewhere. I can’t tell you more than that, I’m afraid, as these buildings were derelict when I was a boy in the 1950’s, and had been for many years, so nobody knew their history. Thankfully, they were restored for residential use.

The right-hand building took more work, as the space underneath where the house is standing on brick stilts, is very dark, and took various coats, even using some black eventually. Window recesses were defined as was the balcony.

It just left the masking fluid to be removed, and to paint in the posts and flag, which was a splendid opportunity to use Cadmium Red, nice and bright to guide the eye into the picture. The gulls were tinged with grey under the wings and black at the tips. We were done!

I hope that you enjoyed this long journey. Thank you once again,  for reading my blog

4 thoughts on “Langstone Harbour: The Finished Painting

    • Thank you Linda. I am so pleased you found that post helpful. I am not a qualified teacher, by the way, just another painter sharing the experience, but if you think I can help with any problems you might have with watercolour painting, then I will if I can
      I am very new to writing a blog. I thought I would keep posting to twice a month, but it’s creeping up. More subjects in the pipeline, probably after Christmas now
      Lovely part of the world you live in ,by the way. I am enjoying reading about it


      • Great! What brand of paint do you use…paper? I have a friend in town that got me started by using the three primary colours in M.Graham and so far I’m using Curry’s 200 wt. paper. I struggle with black or how to consistently create dark values with out making them into muddy nothing’s.


  1. I use tubes of Daler Rowney or Winsor and Newton mostly. Sometimes the French brand Sennelier which are love;ly to use, but usually only when I want a particular colour
    Paper– 200lb is a good weight. I buy Bockingford, usually 50x half sheets at a time to keep the price down. Bockingford is a good in-between quality. I use NOT quality ie cold-pressed so that you get a texture
    Black is a subject in itself, and I would suggest use only for small details as otherwise it will deaden your picture. I mix any dark blue like French Ultramarine with any dark brown like Burnt Umber or Sepia, and that will give you a serviceable black. For Langstone, where i want winter shadows on trees for example, I used Lamp Black straight out of the tube. Lamp Black is like painting with carbon, very gritty.

    For what I call rich black, like a raven’s plumage, I have a special mix—Winsor Blue/ Alizarin Crimson/ and a touch of Burnt Umber after you have mixed the other two. If you look back through my posts until you come to one called Pirbright Scarecrow Festival, and look at my painting of the Cartwheeling Dean, his robes were done in that black mix. By the way, if you are going to use black on any reasonably large area, like black hair, black cows etc then give the area a blue undercoat and let it dry hard. Highlights on black look blue
    I have rambled on. Hope that helps


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