About this blog

WELCOME! My name is Ann Mortimer and I'm a professional watercolour artist and tutor from Nottingham, UK.

This is a "learn how to" and "problem solving" blog covering WATERCOLOUR TECHNIQUES.

You can look for things that interest you in the blog archive on the side bar when various topics have built up over time!

I'll be covering thing such as colour mixing, negative painting, using masking fluid, laying washes, painting water and all sorts of other things.

Thursday, 16 May 2013


What inspired me to paint this scene of sunlit rhododendrons were the cast shadows on the flowers and leaves.  I love trying to depict sunlight and shadow in my watercolours.
The colours I used for this painting were: aureolin, raw sienna, indian yellow, permanent rose, cobalt violet.
I mixed my greens with Winsor blue and quinacridone gold.  The darks for the crevices and negative spaces were mixed with Winsor blue, quinacridone magenta and gold.

First wash 
First I masked out the stamens ans allowed this to dry.
Having prepared my colours for the first wash, I wetted the whole of the paper and dropped in yellows over some of the leaves and the flower buds in the centre, pinks over the flower petals, taking care to leave light areas and then weaved in greens and blues, concentrating the darker tones towards the corners of the painting.  I let this dry.

Second stage painting negative spaces to bring out the leaves and flowers

Then with green and blue mixes I brought out the leaf and flower shapes.  

Third stage painting the flowers with pink washes

Studying the photo carefully I painted the flowers wetting the petals one by one and dropping in the pinks wet in wet on the edges of the petals and allowing the colour to drift in unhindered.  At this stage too I found more leaves within the dark areas created at the last stage by painting negatively around them.

Fourth stage putting some detail in the leaves and more flower work

Finished painting 

In the final stage, I painted the pink markings within the flowers and then with a mix of cobalt blue, a touch of pink and a touch of yellow to make a soft blue grey, I painted in the shadows and cast shadows within the flowers.  I added more detail to the leaves and then added cast shadows among them to give a sunlit look.  I removed the masking from the stamens and painted them with soft pink washes and a touch of burnt sienna on the tips.


  1. Hi Ann, I just found your blog, and see it is just what I want to know. I plan on trying some of your tutorials and seeing what I can learn. I wish I lived in Enland so I could come join one of your classes.

  2. Hi Barbara, Nice to meet you. Good luck with your learning and I hope at least some of the demos on here are useful to you.


  3. Hi Ann, I saw your work at Patchings and was very impressed. I paint myself but tend to paint in a much tighter style. I love the Rhododendron.

    1. Carol! Sorry not to have replied sooner. Thank you so much for visiting and your nice comment. Some people think I am tight and "not loose enough", so it's all relative, isn't it?! I think we have to paint as we are moved to and be true to ourselves. Good luck with your painting! Ann

  4. I too am a watercolorist from Victoria, BC Canada. I have so enjoyed browsing your blog... well done :)

    1. Ruth, thank you for calling by and taking the time to comment. I'm so glad you enjoyed browsing. All the best to you and may you be inspired in your art journey. Ann