Far From The Maddening Crowd



Painting of Thomas Hardy’s cottage, from a found photograph.

I don’t have a particular fascination with the writer Thomas Hardy, he of Tess of the D’Ubervilles, but – he did have a picturesque cottage.

I’m not even much for sitting in the garden. But I suppose if I had one like this, perhaps I’d be out there, penning longhand letters with watercolor embellishments.

Sometimes I see something online that just grabs me – this place just said – ‘I should be a watercolor’ 🙂


Another found photo, translated into a watercolorist’s version of the idyllic country home.



The 2020 edition of Masterpiece London, originally slated for June 24 to July 1, is yet another art fair that has been affected by the escalating spread of Covid-19… see more

Aren’t these the kind of place you’d like to be spending your quarantined days? If there’s any such thing as a nice place to be waiting out this particular storm.

I though this was an interesting bit of painting. Here’s two of the windows on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. One ‘disorganized’ and one ‘organized’. That is, one where the window panes and reflections are broken up into a loose abstraction, and one pretty much painted as it looks.

I’ve always done this with windows. (And any repetitive element). I have this feeling – they’re identical – but it would be tiring to the eye to actually paint them to be identical.

Here’s my advice on painting trees.



Exterior of Boers-Li Gallery, now known as Spurs Gallery, in Beijing. Image via Boers-Li’s page on the Art Basel website... see more
Don’t paint any trees.

Paint colored shapes that have interesting edges. Imply adjacent tree canopies and shrubs by making fused masses of green, and slightly changing the green as you go. Don’t let any two green blobs be the same color where they meet. Each leafy blob, a different temperature..

I make all the calligraphic leafy texture with a splayed-out sable round.

Jabbed, twisted and smooshed into the palette till the hairs splay out into a natural rake that changes with every stroke. I keep all my long-hair brushes when they lose their point, and use them for this abuse. They get better with age.

My greens here: Green Gold, Olive Green, Perlyne Green – all Daniel Smith.

Here’s an interesting contrast. The difference between touching rich pigment into wet paint, and touching rich pigment side by side on dry paper.

Soft vs Hard Edges.

My mantra: Soft Inside Shapes, Hard Outside Shapes.

Draw with the wet/dry edges.


Here’s a couple of galleries of the step-by-step process.

Light>to>Dark Value, Thin>to>Thick Pigment, Large>to>Small Shapes.

source:  https://citizensketcher.com/2020/04/07/far-from-the-maddening-crowd/