I have been fascinated by the view across this tiny harbour to the hill opposite for many years. Earlier this year I did a watercolour and gouache painting of the same scene, which was done in a looser style but set me off on a quest to paint the most realistic water and reflections that I can manage. This time I decided to make the painting more realistic, which from the image above I hope you can see I’ve succeeded.
I started by laying in the outline of the boat and the horizon, then the breakwater and the side of the hill. At this point I realised that I was committing myslef to drawing and painting an outboard motor on the main boat. I’ve since found out that they are devilishly hard to paint and draw. I think I carried it off, but it was one of the toughest paintings I’ve done!
I also decided at this point to add some people into the painting. That was a mistake in this case, and I removed them towards the end of the painting.
I started laying in some background colours, so added some green that I had left over from the previous painting. This green was made from some lemon yellow and some cerulean blue.
The tea layer was laid in with blocks of colour just to cover up all the white. I left the small boat white and also the outboard motor, which will be very light so I didn’t want to paint that yet if I could help it. You can also see that I added the people.
I painted the sky with a mix of Daniel Smith ultramarine gouache and white gouache, overlapping the hillside a bit. This wasnt a problem because I planned to repaint them anyway. Also painted the red on the boats using a mixture of bright red watercolour and lemon yellow for the middle boat and a darker red gouache on the top of the boat in the distance.
I added the shadow under the boat using a darker version of the sand colour (Windsor & Newton flesh coloured gouache with a little added alizarin crimson and neutral tint). Note that I also repainted the boat with a stronger mix of the previous colours.
Next I started working on the outboard motor, putting in some white mixed with a tiny amount of neutral tint. I made the breakwater darker and started adding reflections in the water.
At this point the painting seemed to be getting away from me, and was getting further away from my original vision. It was time to start taking control and bring it back together!
I painted in some more of the water colour and reflections, as well as more detail on the outboard motor. I also added more neutral tint under the boat to make a darker shadow there.
I also painted a bit more detail on the hill behind.
In the above image you can see things are starting to come together, but something is still not right. Time for re-evaluation.
So, I took the manumental decision to repain the beach. I mixed an opaque mix of W&N light flesh coloured gouache with a touch of alizarin crimson and a little white gouache. I painted over the people. In the water I used a mixture of green with a little of the colour I used for the breakwater to cover the outline of the people.
With the beach re-painted it looked a bit flat, so I went back in to add some detail and some variation.
I repainted the boat with another layer of light blue, and the red with a darker red (mixed with neutral tint.). I also added some shadows to the propeller on the boat.
I added some more reflections in the water and foam and some sparkles to the water using white gouache neat from the tube on a fine brush. The water is looking pretty good at this point. I also added the worm casts on the beach, if you have ever been to Hope Cove you will know about those!
Finally I added the ropes and anchor lines and the rails on the side of the boats. All finished! I was really pleased with this painting, and it sold almost immediately which was great, even if I feel a little sad to see them go.