It’s the sky wash. For this I used a mixture of Paynes Grey with very little Titanium White added, strongest at the top and adding a little more to the mixture as I came further down the canvas. I let this dry before starting the clouds. With a clean brush, I started to create the shapes with Titanium White, making some good strong shapes to the tops of the clouds. To the Titanium White, I then added a little Paynes Grey and added this to the base of the white clouds. For some of the stronger shadows at the base of the clouds, I added a tiny touch of Deep Violet to the Paynes Grey and Titanium White mix. All of this was done while the white clouds were still wet so that then I could go in with my finger and, with a gentle rolling motion, soften the tops of the clouds and stroke the dark shadow into the light here and there. Sky done.
You can see I’ve done the drawing and you may have to zoom in to study this carefully but basically concentrate mainly on the big boat in the foreground.
Next, I dropped in the furthest away and least detailed parts of the sea. This is a mixture of Cobalt Blue, with tiny touches of Paynes Grey and Hookers Green mixed in. I used my ¾ in flat brush for this to get a nice sharp edge on the top line. With a brush this size it’s easy enough to go around the boats. Whilst the sea was still wet, I then dabbed on a few touches of Titanium White here and there to indicate some movement and waves. At this stage I changed to my no 8 round brush to pop in a very distant sail. This was done with Titanium White and Raw Sienna mixed. I then popped on a tiny touch of Cobalt Blue to the right hand site for a little bit of shadow. Don’t fiddle about with this, it’s a long way off.
Still with the no 8 round brush I started the middle distance boat. Firstly I filled in the sails with Titanium White and then smoothed in a little Raw Sienna to indicate some lighter areas, especially at the top. I let this dry whilst I was painting the actual mast and for this I used my rigger brush and a mixture of Raw Umber with a touch of Paynes Grey to the right hand side to show the dark side. I then went back to the sail and added some shading with a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Paynes Grey. Don’t make the shading too solid, remember this is fabric. Have some darker areas and the smooth it into the rest of the sail with light strokes of a damp brush.
All of this rigging was obviously painted with my rigger brush and fairly watery Paynes Grey. And then, here and there, a few strokes of fairly watery Titanium White, to indicate a little bit of light on the cables.
This section was again painted using my no 8 round brush for the boat itself. The hull of the boat was painted using Raw Umber with a touch of Paynes Grey here and there for its darker sections. Don’t fiddle about with this too much because there is actually not much of it showing and remember as you paint this you are going to muck it all up in a minute with a load of sea. I them moved to the people who were just a collective group of Titanium White blobs with a little Cobalt Blue between them here and there a) to split them up and b) to indicate shadow to the right hand side. For the heads, again a smaller blob of Paynes Grey. Now I changed to my ¾ in flat brush to fill in the sea around this boat. This was done using a darker version of the first sea mix you used made darker by adding a touch more Paynes Grey. Don’t just fill in using horizontal strokes, we’ve got to the stage now where you have got to think about the movement of the sea, so start and create wave shapes. I then washed out my brush thoroughly before adding some Titanium White behind and around the boat creating a bit of a wake. Underneath some of the white areas add a little Paynes Grey and Cobalt Blue mixed to give shading underneath some of the waves.
In this image, I’m starting the main boat. It was all done with my no 8 round brush and using firstly Titanium White I filled in all the sails and then I worked in a little Cobalt Blue from the base of the main sail coming upwards. Into the other sails, just a few touches of the Cobalt Blue to represent a little bit of shadow to the right hand side as the sails twist and turn.
The next bit on the sail was all done with the rigger brush and just Paynes Grey. And you can see fairly clearly, where I’ve put all the lines and marks on the sails. As you put the lines going round the sail, think of it as a rounded moving object, not a flat bit.
I completed the rigging and masts in this image and it was all done using my rigger brush. For the mast I used, as in the previous boats, a little bit of Raw Umber mixed with Paynes Grey, darkening this with more Paynes Grey to the right hand side where it meets the sail. To capture a little bit of light at the tips on the top I put the odd stroke of Naples Yellow, just a little. Then I went into the rigging itself which was again fairly watery Paynes Grey with an occasional stroke of Titanium White here and there to capture some light.
For the main hull of the boat I used Paynes Grey and Raw Umber mixed, making it darker at the rear end and then added a few thin strokes of Naples Yellow to the top lip of the hull. For the top, inside the boat, I used a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Titanium White and this suggested detail is really fairly broad strokes. I let this mix dry whilst turning to the people who were painted mainly in Crimson mixed with Titanium White to give a pink. Their heads were Paynes Grey with touch of Titanium White and Raw Sienna mixed to indicate a little bit of flesh. As in the previous boat, add a little Cobalt Blue and Paynes Grey mixed to split the figures and add shadows. I then went back to indicate some detail on the deck of the boat with a few dabs here and there of Paynes Grey and also a few touches of the pink mix. Just add adlib to indicate detail and interest.
Now for the start of the big sea! The only brush I used all the way to the end of this project was my 3/4in flat. Start off with a mixture of Paynes Grey, Cobalt Blue and Hookers Green. Big broad strokes here all the way through but again, as you are doing these strokes, keep in mind the shape of waves. Throughout this I let little bits of my under-staining show through here and there but I also added a touch of Paynes Grey to the mix here and there for a few darker areas. Let this dry before the next stage.
In this stage it’s not all just white. Before that, I added a touch of Titanium to the existing sea mix I’d just applied so that I am adding a few strokes of lighter sea colour here and there. Basically, I want to get different tones and depths to the sea. Then I washed my brush out thoroughly and added just Titanium White a) to start creating a wake behind the boat and b) to add a bit of white to the tops of waves in the foreground.
At this stage I split my ¾ in brush and with light dabbing strokes, I stippled on Titanium White here and there around the boat to create spray which also gives some fairly dramatic movement. Finally, sharpen up some of the white areas in the foreground and also a little bit of the split brushwork on top of some of the waves in the foreground. Here and there, if you wanted, you could add a little bit more Paynes Grey underneath some of the light areas to highlight them with a shadow.
And there you go, a fairly powerful dramatic picture that is well worth having a go at.