Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Painting in the Style of Edward Wesson

English Countryside
A watercolor painting by Karen A. Cooke

The painting above, titled "English Countryside" was painted in the style of Edward Wesson.  Edward Wesson (April 29, 1910 - 1983) was an English watercolor artist.  His work is known for its simplicity, boldness and mastery of brushwork.  He is remembered by many painters as being a very encouraging teacher as well as for his excellent paintings.

Today's exercise will be in using his painting style to capture the English countryside.  So, let's get started.

Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper (type and size of your choice)  - I used a 9" x 12" piece
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes: flat, liner and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
  • Windsor Blue
  • Sepia
  • Payne's Gray
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Yellow Ocher
  • Burnt Umber

Painting Instructions:
No sketching is required.  Simply determine your horizon.

Use a large round brush to paint the sky area.  Wet the sky from the top down to the horizon using clean water. Using a pale wash of Windsor Blue paint in the sky using the painting above as a guide.  While the sky is still went drop in a light wash of red and yellow ochre in various locations.  Do not completely cover the entire sky area.  Allow some white areas to remain.  Using a tissue or paper towel, lift some of the paint to create lighter areas in the sky for clouds, if needed.    Note that the sky lightens as it approaches the horizon.   Allow to dry.  

Using a deeper wash of Windsor Blue mixed with Paynes Gray, paint the distant hills.  Allow to dry. 


Using a darker wash of Payne's Gray and a smaller round brush, paint in the church spire and steeple.  Add the roof of the church using a medium wash of Alizarin Crimson.  Allow to dry.

Using a flat brush use Yellow Ocher and Sepia to paint the trees.  Vary the intensity and alternate the colors to achieve the shading in the trees.  Be certain to leave spacing between the branches.  Using this same mix, paint the shorter trees and bushes.  Refer to the painting above for placement. 

Using a mix of Sepia and Yellow Ocher, paint the foreground using broad sweeping strokes.  Alternate the color.  Allow to dry. 

Finishing touches:
Using a liner brush and Sepia, add the tree branches.  Also add any detail lines in the foreground. 

Congratulations!  Sign your painting!  You have just completed a watercolor in the tradition of Edward Wesson!

Happy Painting!

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