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Picture Collection

Here is a selection of pictures that would be suitable for watercolour. I have given a few tips and guidance should you choose to paint one of these. Click on the picture to download PDFs in colour and black-and-white. Use the black-and-white picture to make a tracing. Remember when you trace turn the picture over scribble on the back with a soft pencil and then Blu-Tack the top left and right to hold the paper still while you trace of the image. Don't try tracing of every tiny detail the main areas and lines are the most important thing. left and right to hold the paper still while you trace of the image. Don't try tracing of every tiny detail the main areas and lines are the most important thing.
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I know some people are frightened of painting pictures of people, however, they are really no more difficult than anything else. You need to approach the painting as if the person is just a collection of shapes, tones and colours. The difficult areas on this particular picture are the fan and the dress. The background could be quite tricky if you choose to make it as dark as it is there however if you use the photograph to help you get a general feel of shadow and darkness in the background you will have a greater deal of success.


The shadow on the ground adds greatly to this picture and helps give a feeling of movement. When you trace out it is quite important to get the swirls on her dress as accurate as possible as this will also add to a feeling of movement. Don’t get caught up into too much detail on her face. Look at where the shadows are and focus on the light and dark rather than the details of things like eyebrows and eyeliner.

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Egyptian Felucca

This Picture of an Egyptian felucca offers many interesting challenges. The biggest challenge of these is the water. The reflection of the sail being the most challenging area of the water. However, with careful planning, and drawing, it is possible. You may wish to use some masking fluid if you have it, as this will make things a little easier for the water and the sail reflection.


If you look at the ripples they are a collection of light blues dark blues, browns, sandy colours, and the odd bit of very dark blue/black. Don’t be tempted to just do a blue background with lots of wiggly lines on it. Use the photograph to help you decide where to put things if you look at the edge of the river bank there is almost no blue there at all. The Riverside vegetation is a collection of sandy greens rather than bright greens and the shadow underneath the trees is important as it gives context to the brightness of everything.

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What could be more cheerful than a large bunch of iris in a vase? The bunch of flowers understands need to be drawn quite carefully in the tracing stage so that you have lots of guidelines to help you get the right colours and tones in the right place. You might find that once you have drawn the tracing you will need to use the photograph and tidy up the tracing so that it is clear and easy to follow where the flowers start and finish. It may be in your finished piece that the irises tends to blend together and it’s difficult to tell them apart don’t overly worry about this so long as it doesn’t look like one giant flower.

The stems are a fabulous exercise in greens remember blue and yellow make green so any combination will work. The blue pot at the bottom has got some lovely delicate shadows on as well as some highlights, you may want to use some masking fluid if you have it. The photograph has no background you might want to leave it like that, however, there is no reason why you cannot add your own background in. Personally the only thing that I would add is an horizon line and then perhaps gently wash either the back wall or the surface that the pot is sitting on.

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Merry go Round

This bright and cheerful fairground horse would be perfect for those that love to work with bold and bright colours. The trick in this one is not to overwork the picture. Make sure that you leave the sky very light so that the part of the merry go round that is in the shade remains quite dark. Don’t get too caught up in the details especially on the golden sticks that support the horses.


I wouldn’t use masking fluid for the light parts on the horse I would just try not to paint those areas. You might want to use them on the golden sticks. I wouldn't use masking fluid for the light parts on the horse, I would put the colour down and then gently blend it into the blank space. The shadowing on the main horse is quite subtle so don’t overdo it. You might want to make the horses in the background vaguer so that the horse in the foreground stands out.


Poblet Monastery

This is Poblet Monastery in Catalonia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building is delightfully structural and drawing out the tracing should be fairly easy. The difficult bit will be the details on the central tower, don’t get overly worried about those. There is a lot to this picture, however, if you take it steadily and focus on the tones of the stonework it will all come to together.


The small windows act as punctuation marks throughout the piece, be as crisp and sharp as you can be with these. The vineyards at the front present certain challenges, pay attention to the light and dark on the greens and noticed that there are gaps between the vines. The landscape in the background is littered with wind turbines and Electric pylons, those can go, and return the area back to its original Spanish beauty.

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Scottish Stream

This Scottish hillside stream is full of evocative power. However, if you’re not careful a painting of this could just end up as a collection of smudgy blobs. If you are painting this the drawing needs to be clear and sharp, and you need to use this photograph as a guide rather than following it meticulously.


Tonally the photograph is fairly flat. This would be a good opportunity to accentuate some of the colours and tones and produce a painting that is full of emotion and movement. If you are feeling brave and adventurous you could abandon the colour scheme in the picture and explore a more experimental approach to the painting. There is however, enough visual information in the photograph to produce a beautiful delicate painting as well.

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This bunch of tomatoes appears quite simple, however, it is deceptively difficult. This piece is best built up by using layers of paint after you’ve drawn out the tomato shape put a very gentle wash of the red colour you might even want to use a small amount of masking fluid if you have it for the highlights. Then carefully build round the tomato looking at where the darker areas and the deeper colours are.


Remember to darken the red you can add a tiny bit of green, but don’t add too much or else it will get all muddy and brown. The small amount of shadow under the tomatoes, and on the tomatoes are really important don’t forget them.

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Vintage Van

This vintage van has seen better days. It’s battered surface and rusty metal adds some interesting challenges. If I was you I would miss out a lot of what is going on in the background you might want to add a little bit of the farm buildings and the suggestion of other vehicles but to make the batter the van stand out I would keep them simple. I would also miss off the blue vehicle part on the back of the battered van.


There is a great danger that the whole vehicle could end up as a big smudgy mess if you’re not careful. One way to do this would be to paint the vehicle with the green and then when dry add the rusty colour over. Alternatively you could drop the rusty colour into the paint whilst it is still wet. Both will work but give slightly different effects you might want to try it out on a piece of scrap paper first. Pay attention to the darker areas because they will give lots of structure to the vehicle don’t be frightened about going too dark.

Hopefully these photographs and suggestions will help you on your way. Have fun!

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