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Willingham windmill painted in watercolours and gouache

Posted On: Thursday 3rd March 2011
Summary: In this watercolour sketch of a windmill my aim was to paint as quickly as possible because my hands were going numb it was so cold. So it was important to capture the essence of the scene knowing I could finish it off back in my warm home studio

Blog Tags: Watercolor   Outdoor painting   Painting in Cambridge   Windmills and mills   Gouache    Painting tips   

Willingham windmillAt times I do doubt my sanity when I try and paint outside in this weather. I tried to paint this as fast a possible before I lost all feeling in my fingers. I touched it up with gouache back in the studio. I’m pleased with the effect, but unfortunately it's not quite like the windmill in question, as the reference photo below shows;  

Painting windmills close up is difficult because there is a tendency to exaggerate the vertical perspective, and this is a perfect example of doing that. Also in the rush I have shown the fantail more or less circular, when it is clear from angle of the sails that the overall shape should be an ellipse.  There are half a dozen windmills that I want to paint this year, so I will be back to do a better job on this one, probably in oils. 

You can see how important the touches of gouache are - catching the setting sun on the ball on the top of cap for example and on the sails too. By the way, when I say gouache I mean watercolour to which a little bit of opaque white (Permanent white is what you ask for in the art shop) has been added. Even though the likeness is not spot on I think the watercolour is still OK with the light catching the body and wails of the mill.

Willingham windmill photo


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