After quite a few weeks of feeling a little ‘meh’ about my watercolour painting, it’s so nice to post something and feel a little more upbeat!

In search of inspiration I returned to my Barcelona album. It’s an album that’s been well trawled in the past but we had such a fabulous time there I thought it might be worth revisiting.

We spent one of our mid morning pit-stops inside a cafe/bar. It was pretty hot outside and the bar was dark and cool by comparison. I took quite a few photos from inside the bar looking towards the bright sunshine outside. I’d already earmarked a few of these photos for potential subject matter some time ago but neither the urge or my confidence has led me to paint this so far!

On this occasion, I found a totally different view that I’d previously overlooked completely and I just thought, ‘yes, that’s the one!’

I sketched this out and applied this first wash really quickly. I knew that I’d be going a lot darker in many areas so the main aim of this wash was to establish the lights and give myself a good foundation.

First wash

This gave me enough to work with so that from this point onwards, I could focus purely on the painting rather than having to keep referring back to my reference photo (although I did on occassion look back at the original picture just to check on the odd element here and there!)

Once the first wash was dry, I started to strengthen some of darker areas:

Establishing some darks and the main focal point

At this point, I took a quick break just to step back from the painting, take stock and plan out my next steps. I was feeling relatively happy with how the main central elements were looking so moved on to some of the other areas, especially the walls on either side and the picture frames.

Some dry brush detailing



I’m pretty pleased with how this one turned out. Overall, I like the colour harmony (though I know it won’t be to everyone’s liking!), a good tonal range, a variety of different edges – soft, hard, lost and found – and some energy to some of the brushstrokes.

Also – extra bonus points – it didn’t take me very long to paint so I had plenty of time to spend an afternoon with the family rock-pooling as the sun went went down just a few miles along the coast at Saltdean.

Watching the sun go down at Saltdean

2 thoughts on “Bartender, watercolour

    1. Thanks Rob – not quit sure quite much I’m getting back into the swing of it to be honest! It almost feels like that my painting, or rather my desire to paint, is slipping away from me at the moment!


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