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October 2012

Joseph Zbukvic painting course day 1

I was very fortunate to attend recently a Joseph Zbukvic (pronounced Z-book-vich) watercolour painting course care of EPC Painting Holidays in Girona and Cadeques on the Costa Brava.  It was a superb location for painting, or indeed any holiday, and we were lucky with the weather being early October.

Anyway, Joseph is the leading watercolourist with terrific skills in the atmosphere and the tones of his work and I was eager to learn more about his style.

Day one was spent mainly at our hotel base and working in the 'studio'.  Exercise one was a study of an 'English country scene' with sunlight coming towards you in the early morning mist.

Here is Joseph's example which he completed in an hour whilst giving a running commentary!:


Notice the wet in wet on the background trees and great dry brush strokes on the middle ground trees.  The cows were literally done in seconds and looked perfect.  Well here is my first interpretation:


As you can see, I lost the plot of trying to emulate the master, and after a small ticking off from Joseph (in the nicest possible way!) I attempted a second:


Perhaps a little closer to the brief, but only done in 30 minutes or so as I didn't want to miss lunch!


Bucklers Hard Boat Yard


Landscape Watercolour, Bucklers Hard Boat Yard, 15" x 11" on Bockingford paper 140 lbs

Bucklers Hard Boat Yard (try saying that, quickly!) on the banks of the very pretty River Beaulieu which flows into the Solent a few miles away. This boat yard has a famous heritage, building many wooden warships in the 18th and 19th centuries. I'm pleased with the composition on this and resisted the temptation to overwork the blue boat hoist.


Newquay Cornwall


Landscape Watercolour of Newquay, Cornwall, 15" x 11" on Bockingford Rough Paper 140 lbs

Newquay, a popular resort on the North Cornish coast of the UK and a big surfing centre.  There's a long winding high street, the main shopping area,  through the middle of town with glimpses now and then down through to the sea. I thought this view made a good composition with the two sides of the street and a bit of an improvised shadow coming across the front.


Sunny Street in Staithes, North Yorkshire


Landscape Watercolour, Staithes, Yorkshire, 15" x 11" on Bockingford Paper 140 lbs.

One of my favourites sketches of Staithes and capturing a rare sunny afternoon (well rare for the summer of 2012 in the UK anyway!).  It's a fantastic location to paint and this was picture/composition was adapted from a holiday photo of mine.  I think if I had painted from this viewpoint, I would have been blocking the main street running down to the sea.


Corralejo Beach Fuerteventura, Canary Islands


Landscape Watercolour of Fuerteventura, 15" x 11" on Bockingford Paper 140 lbs.

Corralejo, a small seaside town located on the north coast of the island of Fuerteventura, is known for its beautiful golden sandy beaches, and the stunning view of the island of Lobos. I was quite pleased with the colour I achieved on the beach, taking the liberty of changing it's normal silver colour to a warmer tone and dropped in a bit of cobalt blue while the paint was still wet. Well that's what we can do as an artist is change colours to develop the mood and feelings of the location.


Alexandria Street 9, Egypt


Landscape Watercolour, Alexandria, Egypt, 15" x 11" on Bockingford Rough Paper 140 lbs.

Another street market view in the central area of Alexandria fairly close to the port.  Yes the parasol covers are really low in places, and maybe they all started off life in different colours but the strong sun has bleached them all to a neutral shade.  And just above the parasol level are a spaghetti like conglomeration of wires going backwards and forwards between the buildings.


Review of - On line art marketplace

Fellow artists out there, there's a great new web site I've come across called - the society of International Artists. It covers all media, and 1000's of entries, but the watercolour department is very popular and well represented by hundreds of fellow artists. It has an easy search screen so you can browse through the collection by country, size etc...


This side-by-side almost Pintrest-like view allows for great comparison between works of the same subject matter and medium.

You can also purchase the originals and some artists offer prints as well.

The site also lets you learn about the inspiration that came beforehand too, since the artists are given the opportunity to add an “About This Piece” section to each featured work. Adds a bit more personality to the entries.

Go have a look yourself at: 

Two artists I like are:

Dai Wynn:  Venetian Gondolier

Watercolour image1

And Simon Goss:  "Alan with Pole" - Nice figure painting.

Watercolour image3

Here's a link to my own paintings: