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Line & Wash Techniques

Coventry Canal

Page Two

Just a quick reminder of where we left the picture on the previous page


As you will see, the main change here is the work to the pine trees on the left.

Most of this work is done with entirely dry pencil point - and a good fine point on the pencil too.

We need to take account of the shape the branches take and allow for that curve in the outward facing branches.

The foliage cover is still pretty light, but this can be developed and where necessary the pigment can be lightly softened into position to fill areas with darker green

Keep track of the light and how the tree trunks will cast shadows on the grass. Not every tree or every branch needs to be included, we need to work to give an impression of the scene that someone familiar with the walk down that canal bank would recognise.

The reference needs some following to duplicate the exact pine branches, so I am working more from what is needed for the picture than giving an exact photo realistic image.   Look at the next stage below where not a lot has been done overall, but the actual result looks quite different …..

The major change you will notice is in the left hand side pine trees.  The Cedar Green pigment is giving the tree foliage quite a different look and also balancing out all those lighter greens in the foreground.

You may have spotted that I have punched in some darker areas of shadow all over the picture using the black pencil.

This will simply darken colours when used over the top (unless used to abandon !!! ), and some small areas of dark now show along the bottom edge of the picture and within the grasses.

I  have scratched out some small spaces of white in the foreground to put in more flowers (Terracotta and Rose colours ) trying to get them into random position (not easy ).  I may look at it for a few days now to decide if more flowers are needed, and if so, where.

The picture isn’t finished, but it isn’t far off.

I will now put away the reference and spend time over the next few days, looking at the work at this point.  

This may produce a decision that more is needed, but possibly also that not much is needed.

2nd October 2012

I spent a couple of hours this morning working on the final stages of the picture

Over the last week, I had the following thoughts :


Those flowers need to be different sizes.  I will need some larger ‘blooms’ to the foreground.

That blue shirt on the walker may be too bright. I can either darken it with a darker blue, or lift some colour    with an eraser to reduce to colour strength.  This may not work as the colour may be too locked to the      paper, but it might be worth a try.

I had thought I might do some more work on the water, but am now having a re-think. The water may be fine as it is

Not sure that I want to add any shadow to the cloud bases.  They are not ‘perfect’, but tinkering with them now could easily ruin the picture.

The areas of dark shadow need to be defined better.  Perhaps some more Black will help.  

It won’t read as Black when layered on top of other colours and will tend to simply darken the existing colour.


I used the power eraser to lift out small areas of white in the foreground.  I was interested to see that this worked better on the soft paper than scraping the paper with a sharp knife.  The several layers of previous colour all lifted well and I was able to insert some Rose and Terracotta into the white spots.  

Not sure whether I still have enough but adding more is not a problem if I think it needs it.

Whilst having the eraser in my hand I worked over the blue shirt on the walker. This made the colour even brighter, so it was toned down with a darker Blue and a touch of Grey.  A lot of fiddling with a very small element of the picture, but essential, as too strong a colour ruins the whole balance of the scene

Some shadow has been added to the water to line up the dark areas better with the reflected trees and foliage.

I haven’t touched the sky

Finally I have taken the three dark colours - Sepia, Dark Green, and Black, sharpened up the points really well, and worked over the whole of the picture adding definition to shadows and more branches to those left hand side trees.  This extra work has also added shape to other trees with branches and fine detail, but also the banks of trees in the distance have in some cases had colour lifted (with the eraser) and colour re-applied.


The picture is just about ‘good to go’.

It only needs a signature

Coventry Canal at Hopwas, Staffordshire.

Derwent Watercolour pencils on Hahnemuhle Andalucia 500 gsm paper

September 2012

Original Photograph and artwork © Peter Weatherill 2012





Canal ( 2)