Any umbrellas?

Today’s class topic was ‘umbrellas’, so I am feeling a little guilty that I may have caused the torrential rain… oh well, I did say it could be a cocktail umbrella, a parasol or a rainy one.

As a reminder, I showed a little demo and it is always worth reiterating the process from subject to end point.

Starting with your reference, whether life or photo, just ask yourself ‘why do I want to paint this?’ Identifying what you want to communicate helps you eliminate any extras, sort out your composition, select colours to reinforce emotion, and helps you know when you are finished.


This street market caught my eye (from Pixabay). I wanted it to be brighter sunlight and to have the feeling it was sketched from life, not from a photo.

Next, do a thumbnail sketch. Not a thing of beauty, but one that helps you see big shapes, areas of light and dark and any tricky spots. I played around with the placement of the people, got to grips with the awning between the two umbrellas and identified where I wanted to mask a few highlights. It’s far better to work this out on rough paper, and not your watercolour paper.


The final step is to paint. Having masked a few of the supports and some of the branches of stuff on the left, I spattered a little into the nearest flower areas. Once dry, I laid in a yellow wash over and around the brollies, leaving the sunlit areas white, I moved to a darker grey blue was behind the seller and green with lots of white gaps at the front. Using richer paint I then worked on the red umbrella, the figures and flowers, finally adding in dark areas after the masking was removed. I reminded myself that I wanted it to look fresh and lively, so stopped too soon, rather than too late.

79F43814-A1CB-4377-ACDD-4B210CB1DF51I reckon the hard work is done up front with watercolour, don’t you?




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