Friday, August 27, 2010

Watercolor Tip #7

Eye level vs Horizon line

Early Morning, Pittwater, NSW
When thinking of perspective one can think of eye level as the same as horizon line.

As you probably already know when you are at the beach objects "appear" to diminish in size as they approach the horizon. The same if you look down a long straight road, objects get smaller and converge at the horizon, e.g power poles, cars , fences, walls all appear smaller and smaller as the approach the distant horizon.  These objects appear to vanish at a distant point - called the Vanishing Point. The horizon however, is also at the eye level of the viewer. This is important to know because when you are painting a street scene or indoor scene your cannot see the horizon. So in this case rather than horizon, think of eye level and do your perspective drawing on that basis.

For this reason I tell my students to think more of eye level rather than vanishing point as it is always there!

Happy painting.

Joe Cartwright

New watercolor demonstration Street Scenes

Watercolor Demonstration of Bridge Street, Melbourne

I have just posted a new watercolor demonstration on
The demonstration is of Bridge Street, Melbourne set in the late afternoon, please have a look here if you are interested.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Watercolor Demonstrations Site

I have created a sister site to this blog which will focus on watercolor demonstrations and techniques.
It has been running for a few days and so far has two demonstrations loaded. I hope you find it useful!
The site url is


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Watercolor Tip #6

Venetian Sunset

When doing reflections remember to make the reflections of light colored objects darker and reflections of dark objects lighter.

You can observe this yourself next time you are at a marina. Look at the reflections of the white boats and you will see that they are be darker than the white of the boats. If there are any black boats you will see that their reflection is lighter than the black of the boat.

The reason for this is because the color of the reflection merges with the color of the water, a kind of averaging effect.

Obviously this applies to all reflections not just those of boats e.g. the sky, buildings, trees, etc.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Victoria Road, Gladesville, NSW

Victoria Road, Gladesville, NSW
This painting was awarded a Highly Commended Award at the Oatley 101 Annual Exhibition last weekend (7th August 2010).

Friday, August 6, 2010

Watercolor Tip #5

Off to Work, George Street Sydney
If the under wash of your painting is not totally dry before you try to paint the next layer you will most likely create a muddy looking painting.

The under wash has to be bone dry and the paint you put on top of it must be applied quickly and then left alone. If you keep fiddling you will create mud (disturbed looking paint instead of a nice clean looking painting).