I recently ran a Pen and Wash workshop at Fay Boyds Fine Art School in Grafton, NSW, during which one of the paintings produced was a landscape of a scene in the Capertee Valley.

After the workshop I painted the same scene only this time it was done purely in watercolor. I thought you might like to see the two paintings to see whether you favor the watercolor or pen and wash version.

I personally like both and feel each has a place in my repertoire.

Below is a photo of the scene.

Reference photo Capertee Valley Farmland for watercolor painting

Figure 1: Reference photo Capertee Valley Farmland sorry for the low resolution

Pen and Wash

The pen and wash version was done quite quickly. First I did the drawing using a dip pen and permanent black ink.

Very little shading was carried out with the ink which was used for outlining the scene only. I did, however, vary the pressure on my pen to give more character to the lines, especially in the sky.

Once the ink was fully dry I laid a light watercolor wash over the whole painting. Starting with the sky, distant hills, the foreground hills and finally the dirt road. While doing the under wash I skipped little parts of the paper to add light to the painting.

Once this was dry I went back into my watercolor painting and placed the distant and foreground trees. I finished it off with the shadow on the right hand side cliff face, the side of the main tree and on the road. You can see my finished Pen and Wash painting below.

Capertee Farmland pen and  wash watercolorp ainting

Figure 2: Finished pen and watercolor wash painting

Watercolor Painting

This next painting was done with water color only, after doing a light pencil drawing of the scene.

The initial under painting was similar to that done in the pen and wash version. Once this was totally dry I painted the distant cliff faces alternating light and dark, cool and warm colors to add interest. This also gives the impression of sunlit and shadowed sections of the cliff.

After painting the cliff faces I added some additional green color to the hill below it. Initially the under painting of the hill was too light and the cliff faces looked like they were floating on air. The extra paint strengthened the hillside tone which fixed it.

Next came the distant trees moving towards the middle distance trees with stronger (thicker mix) watercolor paint. I let this stage dry.

I now painted the featured gum tree starting with the foliage and painting the trunk while the foliage was still wet in places. I also painted some branches in the top right hand corner of the painting. These branches on the right hand side add to the feeling of space in my painting by implying more trees outside of the field of view in the painting.

I let the painting dry fully before finishing it with the shadows  as before. The shadows are painted with French Ultramarine and some Permanent Alizarin Crimson, the mixture leaning towards the blue not the red. Figure 3 is the finished work.

Capertee Valley Farmland Trees Cliffs and strong light watercolor painting

Figure 3: Finished watercolor painting of Capertee Valley landscape