Michele Clamp's Watercolor Blog - Michele Clamp Art



Iris Study #2


Iris study number two done in my Tuesday class. Didn’t have to resort to the dark background this time. This time through I’m observing more details to put in but the light petals are still not coming together. Maybe next time :-)

Tue, 04 Aug 2020 20:13:49 +0000

Iris Study

Iris Study.  Michele Clamp.  Watercolor 11”x14”

Iris Study. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

Not much to say apart from this is a real tough exercise in color, value, and edge work. We’ll be doing this on Tuesday’s class. Fingers crossed.

Half way through when things were going quite well.


Sun, 02 Aug 2020 21:36:45 +0000

Black-Shouldered Kite #3

Black-Shouldered Kite.  Michele Clamp.  Watercolor

Black-Shouldered Kite. Michele Clamp. Watercolor

The more I looked at yesterday’s effort the more I was unhappy with it. So back to the drawing board today to see what I could change. The main thing from yesterday was that HUGE wing so I did a quick study to see if a modified version would work.


Yup that looks a lot better. I also lightened up the shadow areas and loosened up the brushwork on the wings to keep the focus on the head. Much happier this time round.

Sat, 01 Aug 2020 18:12:19 +0000

Black-Shouldered Kite - take 2


Not particularly pleased with this. It came out a little dull which certainly wasn’t the intention. It will have to do though and it may grow on me.

Fri, 31 Jul 2020 21:18:31 +0000

Basset Hound - Yay!

Basset Hound. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

Basset Hound. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 14”x11”

Basset Hound 250.00 Add To Cart

I don’t paint a lot of dogs. Dogs are tricky and I’ve shied away from them. But yesterday I was feeling in the mood for something different and a picture of a basset hound took my fancy.

I started him yesterday. Here’s the end of day 1.

Now this may not look like much but I was actually really happy at this stage. I’d managed to both get the white fur the right value and the shiny parts of the ears the right value. Once that was done the rest of it pretty much painted itself.

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 21:38:52 +0000

Last Commission Piece for Dunedin Florida Series

Dunedin, Florida. Michele Clamp. Watercolor.

Dunedin, Florida. Michele Clamp. Watercolor.

The last piece in a commission I’ve been working on over the last couple of months. They’re all scenes from Dunedin, Florida 100 years ago or more. This one is one of the more recent scenes but I couldn’t resist the red and white striped roof.

Very pleased how they turned out. I just need to have them out in the studio for a few days to see how they sit with me.

Sat, 11 Jul 2020 20:53:12 +0000

Peacock Finished

Peacock. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

Peacock. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

So here he is finished. James thinks he looks lovely but I’m not entirely happy. It’s a tough subject though so on the whole it’s good.

Hat tip and thanks to Wendy Sinclair for the photo.

Fri, 10 Jul 2020 20:45:45 +0000

Peacock Work in Progress


Thought I’d put this here just in case I mess everything up tomorrow. Pretty happy so far. Those feathers are giving me a bit of grief.

Thu, 09 Jul 2020 20:47:56 +0000

Gary Tucker Online Workshop - Boston

Had a few cracks at this one before I took the plunge for a full painting. The final thing turned out okayish but nothing that really excited me.

Here are the initial value studies

View fullsize IMG_1344.jpg
View fullsize IMG_1343.JPG

Nothing really grabbed me at this point so I put it to one side for a day or so.

Came back this afternoon and had a rethink about the relative placing of the buildings and came up with this=

This felt better and I was encouraged enough to do a full size one.


Hmm. I don’t know why I had to put so many cars in. The painting doesn’t need it at all and distracts from everything else. Sigh.. Maybe one day I’ll crack it.

Mon, 06 Jul 2020 20:33:01 +0000

Venice Take 3


Another day another Venice scene. Starting with a value sketch and concentrating on getting the mid values right seems to be paying off.

Value sketch

Mon, 29 Jun 2020 20:54:06 +0000

Venice Value Studies and Painting


Today started with a couple of value studies of Venice scenes. Went in first with the mid values and simplified the shapes as much as possible. I was first intending to do the first one as a full painting but in the end plumped for the second one.


It was a trial. I simplified things further by doing the whole thing in grayscale to avoid getting distracted by color and was very glad I did.

First the drawing. Sketchier than I would usually do but took care to keep the verticals and horizontals as they should be.


Next the mid values in large shapes. I was getting a little discouraged at this point. The main buildings weren’t hanging together as well as I’d like and disaster was looming. However, I ploughed on and after the darks and some lighter value detail on the building I grabbed it back from the jaws of defeat.

Not one of my best but not too bad either. A little too sketchy in places but maybe worth another go.

Sun, 28 Jun 2020 22:26:44 +0000

The Elusive Zbukvic Touch


Every now and again I torture myself and try and get some insight into Joseph Zbukvic’s technique. I’ve had an inspirational printout of one of his wonderful Venice paintings on my wall for a while and I foolishly wondered if I could learn anything from trying a copy.

Now I wouldn’t recommend this if your ego is not built on rock solid foundations. I’ve tried before with varying degrees of success and didn’t really come away with any lessons learned. This time I made a little headway.

Firstly his values are surprisingly close together. The scene above (his is the bottom one of course) looks as though it has very dramatic value changes but actually they’re almost all about 3 steps apart. The sky especially near the horizon darkens significantly and helps to tie everything together.

Secondly his ‘colors’ are REALLY close to gray. Low chroma in other words. I got the Munsell chips out and had to go to my ‘nearly neutrals’ section to even come close to matching them. It’s really easy to slop far too much bright color in there even when you think you haven’t.

Once I’d got to grips with both those things I didn’t fair too badly. I till could have compressed my value range even more but on the whole this was one of my better attempts.

Here is a preliminary sketch I did before the bigger one.

This was definitely worth doing. Gave me confidence that at least my values were in the right ballpark.

Sat, 27 Jun 2020 19:20:27 +0000

Venice and Value Studies


Wasn’t really feeling it for this one. Let’s hope I can pull something out of the bag for tomorrow’s class. In any case it was good practice for value studies.

Mon, 22 Jun 2020 22:22:26 +0000

Value Studies for Rainy Streets


The homework for Gary Tucker’s last workshop was to do a local rainy scene. Now we haven’t had any rain in forever and the only rainy photo I had was from New York so that went into the pile. I plucked a few others from pixabay and went to work.

These are all small (5”x7”) value studies to work out composition and values.

First a simple scene with a lot of red.


Not bad but lets try a few more and see how they do.

I also quite liked this one. Nice contrasts in the car and the shadows on the street and misty buildings.

Next was my New York photo. I did two of these a day or so apart

View fullsize IMG_1197.jpg
View fullsize IMG_1195.jpg

It may not be obvious but I was much happier with the second one. It’s a complicated scene and I was starting to get to grips with some of the subtleties in the value changes. Maybe one more of these and I’ll be ready to paint!

And for completeness a quick still life warmup and some mid value mixing practice. I was trying to go in and paint everything with a mid value or lower in a single shape. Then go back in with lighter values and finally the darkest darks. Not perfect but a worthwhile exercise.

Thu, 18 Jun 2020 21:17:29 +0000

Gary Tucker Workshop - Rain in NYC


I zoomed another Gary Tucker workshop this weekend. It’s tough as he paints in a very different way to me and nothing really came out well. In fact my value study above was the thing i was most pleased with.

I did two paintings in the end. One paintings along with him and one today at my own pace. Here is the paintalong one:

Yes it’s a bit scrappy and I wasn’t happy at all at the end. After 24 hours though I can see some good in it. The values are strong and there’ssome nice color variation in the road. On the whole though I was rushed and didn’t feel I’d done it justice.

So today I did another version. Pretty much the same method - initial colored washes, second washed with a mid value, then the colors and the darks. Here it is:

The perspective is better but it still was a struggle and I’m uncomfortable painting this way. I’ll persist though - the big shapes are good and the values again are strong. Maybe one day…

Mon, 15 Jun 2020 22:25:37 +0000

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh Castle. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

Bamburgh Castle. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

What a fun painting to do! Enjoyed all of this and I had the video cameras going too so it will up on youtube in the near future. A lot of careful color mixing which paid off and some nice splattering and wet iin wet color mixing in the castle walls. Very happy with this.

Here is the first part of the video - the planning, color matching and drawing stages.

And here’s the second part - the actual painting.

Mon, 25 May 2020 21:37:16 +0000

Wading Blue Heron

Wading Blue Heron. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

Wading Blue Heron. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 14”x11”

Wading Blue Heron 250.00 Add To Cart

After a couple of false starts this heron finally came together. Surprisingly tricky to get the character of the bird with the lovely angled neck and feathered body. Love the loose edges in this which are crucial to getting the right feel.

Sun, 24 May 2020 15:38:57 +0000

Black-Shouldered Kite


From a fantastic photo from Dave Nightingale in the Reference Images for Artists facebook page. The photo is almost too good to paint but I wanted to do a very loose bird painting after all the precision painting over the last couple of months.

I wasn’t sure whether it is finished or not. I’m tempted to do more on the wings and more detail in the face but I’ll leave it until tomorrow to decide.

Mon, 18 May 2020 19:42:31 +0000

Train Painting


I’ve been looking forward to having a crack at this train for a while. I’d envisioned it being almost monochromatic and pretty indistinct and hazy in the details. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s part of a commission and I’m still undecided whether I need to make changes.

Here are some work in progress shots :

Sat, 16 May 2020 20:01:42 +0000

Zoom Art Class - Poppies

Poppies.   Michele Clamp.   Watercolor.  11”x14”

Poppies. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Phew. Another marathon zoom class today. Flowers were as intense as usual and had to rush towards the end.

Here is all the paraphernalia needed for zooming an art class. We’ve tried to keep it as unobtrusive as possible but there seems to be extra things creeping in.


Tue, 12 May 2020 20:19:18 +0000

Page created: Fri, Aug 07, 2020 - 09:05 AM GMT