My name’s John Haywood and I’m a passionate watercolour painter of landscapes, cityscapes, and interiors.

I love the immediacy of watercolour and its infinite magical subtleties. In my mind, there is no better medium for capturing the often fleeting play of light across a scene. 

An energetic, bold directness characterises my approach to painting. I don’t seek to create an exact representation but try to capture and evoke a distinctive sense of mood, drama, and atmosphere. 

Brushes with Watercolour is my way of sharing my adventures with this brilliant and infuriating medium. I also hope to provide visitors with a glimpse into why it’s also one of the most wonderful and satisfying of pursuits.

I hope you’ll stay awhile and have a look around. If you see anything you like, please do let me know, it’d be great to hear from you.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of me at work (or is it play?). Even though the results don’t always work out as I expect or hope for, it’s always a joy being out and about in some beautiful locations!

IGTV interview and live demo with Philippa Stanton – May 2020

As part of Philippa Stanton’s (aka @5ftinf) ‘Virtual Artists Open House’ Philippa and I chatted about art, light and coping under Covid before moving on to watch me working live on a painting.

Run by the wonderful Al Kline, Featured E-Magazine is a wide-ranging collection of articles from across the blogosphere, a veritable cornucopia of fascinating information and well worth a visit.


His posts are inspiring for any watercolor artist.  His site is filled with educational aspects of watercolor painting including techniques, supplies, videos and books to name a few.  It’s also interesting to read his posts on his latest watercolor projects and how he ‘thinks’ through each step of his journey in the creation of a watercolor painting.

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Doodlewashed – March 2016

Doodlewashed is the run by the irrepressible Charlie O’Shields – chances are that if you’ve found me here – you’ll already have come across Charlie! If you haven’t, I urge you to check out his site!


Hi there fellow doodlewashers. My name’s John Haywood and I live in the fair city of Brighton on the south coast of England (follow me on my blogInstagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!). I went to art college over thirty years ago where I did a practical 3D design/crafts course. The lasting upshot of this is that I’m quite handy round the house with a screwdriver, drill and hammer. After graduating however, my work – and life in general – totally took me away from being a creative practitioner.

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WordPress Discover – November 2016 and February 2017

Described by WordPress as “A selection of the best content published on WordPress” – it’s been an honour to have twice been selected as an editors’ pick.

Wordpress Editors Pick photo
My second ‘editors’ pick’, showcasing some of the best content on WordPress, as it appeared on Discover

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My first ‘editors’ pick’ showcasing some of the best content on WordPress

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26 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi John! Your works are truly beautiful and atmospheric, and it is noticeable how it’s progressed over time — and that just adds to the poetic quality of this blog.

    I love how you’ve styled your pages as well, they’re simplistic and clear, setting the emphasis on the paintings rather than anything else. It is a great blog! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chloe and thanks so much for your kind words about, well about just everything really!! So pleased that you like the blog and my paintings and really appreciate you taking the time to get in touch!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Blog. Love the Seago influence. I have began to “attempt” to pattern after Seago and Wesson, Although, I am an absolute Ron Ranson devotee. I was saddened to hear of his recent passing. Just a few equipment questions.. Do you use lamppost black or any other black or do you mix and are you using round mops for your sky washes? thanks RT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Rick and many thanks for stopping by. I think Wesson and Seago are such brilliant influences to have (although I’m hugely biased!).
      I do have a touch of Lamp black in my palette but this is more of a not towards Rowland Hilder who used it quite a bit, especially in his sketches. I tend to mix my own darks now but find that the lamp black, mixed with any number of yellows, can lead to some wonderful greens. I try to avoid using it on any large dark areas as I find it can ‘kill’ the area off. I’ve had much more success with darks by combining ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna or burnt umber.
      For my skies, I do usually use a squirrel hair mop brush – the ones that I’m mainly using at the moment are the Escoda ones that feel a little stiffer than some squirrel hair mop brushes I’ve used (like the Winsor and Newton, pro-arte or da Vinci brushes). Basically I’ve tried far more brushes than is necessary! I think I should just try to pick say 5 brushes and just use them solidly and see how I get on instead of my constant chopping and changing. Hope that this is of some help / use and thanks for getting in touch – good luck with your painting!


      1. My pleasure Rick and thanks for your kind comments about my work and the blog – much appreciated! I also meant to thank you for alerting me to the sad news of Ron Ranson’s passing. He was such a positive force in watercolour painting and an inspiration to so many.


  3. Hi. I too have just started studying watercolor, at age 74. My sister was an artist, and I am currently taking lessons from my son, a muralist. Wow, never had any idea there was so much to learn! It is amazing. So far, my paintings look very amateurish, but it is much fun, I must say, especially plein air painting. Can’t wait to see what my paintings look like a year from now. I discovered on you Tube: Steven Cronin, David Usher, and Ron Ranson. Now I have discovered you, John, and your Brushes with Watercolour. What a beautiful style! I will be back to see your work again. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind comments Mary. So pleased that you found me and my blog, and even more pleased that you’ve discovered watercolour painting! I can already tell that with your attitude and outlook – that you’ll amaze yourself with the advances you’ll make if you’re able to keep it up. Hope you’ll be able to pop back and check on my progress too (please do feel free to sign up to receive my posts which would probably be the easiest way to keep up to date!) Thanks again Mary and good luck with the painting!


  4. Hello John,
    I started painting with watercolours around Xmas just gone after coming across some demonstrations on youtube by Steven Cronin and Dave Usher and pursuing my newly gained interest I was looking at Edward Seago;s images searched on Google that I came across a picture from your website which has brought me here.To find someone whose style and interest are similar to my own but far superior is most welcome. I am a late starter to painting and at the age of 72 have a lot of catching up to do although the main object has to be enjoyment and I certainly have the time. I have set up a blog and I would appreciate any comments . I have got you in my favorites and will be back regurlarly. Regards Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bill, so glad you were able to find me and thanks for making contact. I’ve also enjoyed some of Steve Cronin’s demonstrations (Dave Usher I’m not familiar with but I’ll definitely check him out!) and it’s great to have access to such excellent resources to inform one’s own development. As you say, the most important element is your own enjoyment but it’s great that you have the time and the inclination to practice. It’s also great to know (and I say this from my own experience) that your efforts will be rapidly rewarded by studying the work by the likes of Seago and Wesson and following the guidance of Steve Cronin. I’ve had a look at your site and you can already see the progression in your work which is great. Really glad that you’ve chosen to follow my adventures and hope that they’re of some use/interest.


    1. Wow – thanks so much – what a wonderful reaction! I think one of reasons I started the blog was to help my chart and reflect on my own progress as a painter and I’m gradually accepting that there’s no shame in having more disasters than successes. Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment – I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Debi and thanks for this. It’s one of those wonderful things in life when something occurs purely by chance and has such fabulous repercussions! Had a friend not shown me Seago’s paintings, I’d probably still be totally unaware, and probably never have put brush to paper again! Funny how things work out!

      Liked by 1 person

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