Michele Clamp's Watercolor Blog - Michele Clamp Art



More barns

Barn.  Michele Clamp.  Watercolor.  11”x14

Barn. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14

Another day another barn. These traditional subjects seem to be appropriate in these times.

Thu, 02 Apr 2020 21:58:14 +0000

Barns Galore

Uncertain Future.   Michele Clamp.  Watercolor. 11”x14”

Uncertain Future. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Posting this here as a placeholder. Can’t decide whether this is worth keeping or no. Will wait until tomorrow.

Looking through the back catalog I haven’t done many barns at all. I don’t feel too bad now. That tree needs some attention though.

Wed, 01 Apr 2020 19:45:45 +0000

New Great Blue Heron!

Blue Heron. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

Blue Heron. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

This was a HUGE struggle. I think it’s ok - video is uploading with all the gory details.

Sun, 29 Mar 2020 22:03:29 +0000

Nighttime Doodling


Noodling on the ipad last night I tested drawing some people from imagination. Tricky but quite satisfying.

Sun, 29 Mar 2020 15:52:48 +0000

Kursaal Take Two

I was quite encouraged by yesterday’s effort but wanted to have another go to put in more value contrast and also more color.

Well I managed the value contrast (although the darks in the tower were a bad idea). but failed miserably on the color. Too much to think about at once maybe. I think it’s worth another go though.

Sat, 28 Mar 2020 20:13:37 +0000

The Kursaal - Southend-on-Sea

The Kursaal,  Southend-on-Sea.   Michele Clamp.  Watercolor. 11”x14”

The Kursaal, Southend-on-Sea. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Now this was very enjoyable to do. It’s from an old photo of an amusement park in my home town. It may need another couple of tries at it although there’s plenty going on that I like.

Fri, 27 Mar 2020 20:05:40 +0000

Yay Daffodils - Paul Foxton Paintalong Livestream

Daffodils.  Michele Clamp.  Watercolor.  14”x11”

Daffodils. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

The wonderful Paul Foxton is continuing his livestream painting sessions during the corona virus lockdown and I managed to actually catch him live and be organized enough to get the reference photo printed out in readiness.

I think I really quite like this one. It has an ethereal quality to it that I like and considering that daffodils are really hard to paint it was pretty successful.

Thu, 26 Mar 2020 18:08:10 +0000

More Paul Foxton Flowers


Paul Foxton is doing daily livestreams of his wonderful flower paintings. I’m popping in now and again to see what he’s up to and painting along when I can. This is today’s effort which is not too shabby.

Tue, 24 Mar 2020 19:52:55 +0000

Missed the Boat


This started out well but ended badly. It may grow on me though.

Tue, 24 Mar 2020 19:49:14 +0000

Online Class 1 - Still Life

Fruit Still Life. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Fruit Still Life. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Color isolator - print on paper or thin card and cut out the central square with a knife.

Color isolator - print on paper or thin card and cut out the central square with a knife.


Mon, 23 Mar 2020 17:45:14 +0000

Freestyling Boats


There hasn’t been much fun in anything lately and that includes painting. We’re trying to get some online classes going which is turning out to be somewhat annoying but we’ll iron out the wrinkles I’m sure. I couldn’t muster up much interest in thinking about anything so I just painted freely without much thought.

Came out pretty well I thought.

Fri, 20 Mar 2020 19:36:23 +0000

Flowers - Paul Foxton Edition


Paul Foxton is doing a series of livestream paintalongs on facebook. I always enjoy watching him paint and he’s encouraging us to do our own versions as he paints. Now he paints in oils and I’m doing watercolor which adds a bit of interest to the whole thing. This isn’t really how I like to paint but I entered into the spirit of things and painted as faithfully to the photo as I could. I really like how the flowers came out and parts of the bottle and it was a really useful 90 minutes.

Here’s a closeup of the full thing.

Mon, 16 Mar 2020 21:06:41 +0000

Two Lighthouses


This is just really for interest. The left hand version I tried to match the colors and values exactly. This came out ok but it’s just really, really dull. I decided to try another version but more in the way I would usually paint. I think it’s more successful but still pretty dull. I could have finished it more but I just couldn’t summon the enthusiasm. Life’s to short to paint dull things.

Mon, 16 Mar 2020 21:01:02 +0000

Copying Winslow Homer

I was reading a blog post about a Chien Chung-Wei workshop (Stephen Berry’s blog - well worth a look btw) and he suggested :

…to get a big book, find paintings by painters you love, and do an abstract sketch (not the painting per se, but the sketch) like this every day.  His big suggestions? J.M.W. Turner, Winslow Homer, and Cotman

Cotman is one of my all time faves and Turner is of course a legend but I don’t have books on either of them. Winslow Homer, however I do! And his watercolors too!

Now it turns out I misremembered the quote. His suggestion is to do an abstract sketch and I remembered it as a copy to learn how they constructed the painting but I think this was useful anyway.

Off I went. I did two - ‘Sailing the Catboat’ and ‘Rest’. Both were smallish sketches - 8x10ish on Bockingford.

I had a blast! Wow these were fun to do - his shapes and simplifications, sense of light, moment in time - all of these came through as I was drawing and painting. I will certainly do more and maybe abstract them this time.

Here they are (mine are on the left :-)


Sat, 14 Mar 2020 15:57:12 +0000

Ladybird (bug?)

Ladybug.  Michele Clamp.  Watercolor.  11”x14”

Ladybug. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Fancied something a little different to finish the day with. I don’t usually paint in this controlled style (and it shows). Learned a lot on the way through - should have worked wet into wet more rather than paint and blend which is my usual way. Lots of color matching done which was great practice.

Wed, 11 Mar 2020 21:39:04 +0000

Penguins take 2

Penguins take 2.   Michele Clamp.  Watercolor.  11”x14

Penguins take 2. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14

Fancied another go at the penguins in a slightly sploshier freer style. Losing some edges and allowing bleeding. I think I like this better and it took half the time to do.

Wed, 11 Mar 2020 21:36:13 +0000

Penguins! A pair of!

Penguins. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Penguins. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

I needed a bit of a break from constant cityscapes (and the wretched Harvard Yard fiasco) and class is coming up tomorrow so why not a couple of penguins? Not quite as loose as I would usually do which could be due to me videoing the whole thing and I was more cautious than usual. Turned out well though - very happy.

Many thanks to Martin Fuchs and pixaby for the photo.


Wed, 11 Mar 2020 17:09:14 +0000

A few Odds and Ends - Roosters and Zbukvic


As I was so cheesed off with my Harvard Yard fails I did a quick rooster and Zbukvic practice. Feel a bit better now.


Tue, 10 Mar 2020 21:56:38 +0000

Harvard Yard and More Frustration

I’ve been doing these mini copy paintings and they’ve been coming out pretty well on the whole. However, all I really seem to be learning is how to copy better which isn’t really the point. This was driven home today when I tried another go (actually 8 goes) at this Harvard Yard scene.

I had a go at this last year - this was the result


Now it’s not that bad I suppose but it’s a little too literal, the colors don’t mesh, and I just wasn’t happy with it. Time to have another go.

This was my first shot. I tried to apply what I thought I’d learned - simplification, identify the big shapes, only one region of detail, expand the foreground, and keep the colors muted. It didn’t go well.

I’ve zoomed in more on the scen to simplify the shapes and tried to keep the colors within a more limited range. It’s ok but still not what I was after.

Maybe the building has too much contrast - let’s glaze over it and see :


No that’s not the problem although I think it does hang together a little better.

Next I went back to my mini painting idea - 4 little paintings to try and work out the composition and values a little better. All of these were done without drawing and the first two were done upside down to see if I could trick myself into focusing on what I really liked.


What I took from this is that the foreground shadow really makes a difference here. Also that the value changes in the building should be really subtle. Let’s have another go :

Well that really didn’t go well. Very frustrated at this point. In the evening I ended up noodling on the ipad and did a notan of the scene to see what would happen. Here it is :


Now this looks pretty cool. One thing I did change was to lighten the value of the closest building which I think works ok. Time to have a final try :


I also kept the red really muted here but I’m still not happy. Maybe it’s just not going to happen.


Tue, 10 Mar 2020 21:49:12 +0000

Learning from Zbukvic and Chien Chung Wei - More Mini Paintings

Another set of Zbukvic and Chien Chung Wei copies today. Only 3 more as time was limited. Some successes (bottom left I was happy with) but struggled a lot.

Here they are right way up.


Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:15:13 +0000

Page created: Fri, Apr 03, 2020 - 09:05 AM GMT