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Hold onto your ice creams ~ the seagull has landed!

In my new watercolour project 'Seagull Splash!' you'll get the chance to let loose and create a painting full of energy and brimming with a whole range of techniques ~ so if you’re new to my watercolour school this is a great one to try out as you will learn about a whole range of different brushes and techniques to bring dynamism and texture to your paintings.

I often get asked, 'where do you get your ideas from?' and 'don't you ever struggle for ideas?' but with hand on heart I actually suffer from having too many ideas (which I write down in a book under the categories landscape, flora & fauna, still life, abstract or artist). I use this book to plan the projects across the entire academic year selecting an idea from each of the 5 categories for each term. This means that sometimes ideas get put on the list and then get 'bumped' for something new and shiny that has caught my eye! Some days I think it would be nice to have an on/off switch to my brain as my eyes are always looking for inspiration ~ which is why my family always find me lagging behind as I merrily photograph everything and anything that stays still for more than two seconds!

The inspiration for this painting came to me on one such trip to Littlehampton on the South Coast of England way back in 2015! Walking along the coastline I spotted a couple of seagulls sitting on the breakwater posts and it brought a smile to my face when the sea splashed up against the post giving the seagull an impromptu shower! Luckily, through the magic of modern technology I always carry a camera with me (in the shape of my phone), so I was able to take a couple of quick snaps to capture the moment to serve as a reminder. Unfortunately, in this instance the seagull was at quite a distance so I couldn’t get a good enough quality photo for a painting ~ if you waste time getting nearer (especially in the case of birds) they tend to fly off before you can get there! Over the past few years I have kept my eyes peeled for other Seagull Splash opportunities just in-case I got the perfect shot but sadly to no avail.

So instead I decided that for this painting we can use the inspiration photo as a starting point and collage the idea together using better quality images. For the breakwater post (photographed the following year) I found this lovely old, weathered example just along the coast from where I took the original photograph. It’s the same type of post with chamfered edges and a metal band around the top. I loved the way the seaweed and barnacles had made it their home and at the time I thought this would make a great painting just on its own.

As you can see from the photograph the tide is out (it goes out a long way at Littlehampton) but the fresh seaweed is a good indicator that the tide surrounds the post when it comes in.

As for the seagull I have used a photograph from a photo sharing website as good quality images are always best ~ particularly when painting animals. If you prefer you might like to look for your own seagull to add to your painting. Pixabay or Unsplash are a good place to start and have images that are not subject to copyright.

If you are new to painting have ever wondered how to use different brushes? If so, this project will be super useful as it is a great introduction. I will show you the difference between a Hake and a Rake (yes these are the real names of the brushes!) plus how to create your own brush for stippling alongside our usual No.10 & 6 rounds and my favourite Liner Writer! We will also use masking fluid to reserve the white of the paper, salt to create texture and water to create back-runs. We will work wet into wet mixing colour on the surface and work onto dry to draw with our brushes and to add detail.

To find out more about this project take a look at the short video below.

This project has definitely been a long time in the making since its inception in 2015 ~ but I hope you agree that it is worth the wait!

Happy Painting!

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He looks fabulous! Looking forward to this one! 🌊😊

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