I had a fantastic day painting in Lympstone and Topsham with my dad on Sunday! I inherited my love of drawing and painting from him so it is nice to spend some time together doing what we both enjoy.

So, armed with sketchpads of varying sizes and paper, pens, pencils, paints and fold up chairs we took to the beach to do our first paintings overlooking the river in Lympstone.

My dad sketching away.

I took photos as I painted so I’ve decided to make this into a mini tutorial about how to paint in watercolours (or rather how I paint in watercolours!)

How to Watercolour

First of all I sketch out the view in pencil and make any adjustments before painting. Then I pick out the areas such as the sky and sea which will need a wash of colour and dampen them with a wet paintbrush. They should be a little shiny when tilted to the light. Then, as can be seen in this photo, I add a gentle wash of colour using wide, fluid brush strokes horizontally from the top to the bottom.

how to watercolor
Watercolour washes for the sky and sea.

Next I repeat the same process of dampening and applying paint evenly for the other block areas of the picture such as the trees and fields.

how to watercolor
Trees and fields painted in.

how to watercolor
I decided to zoom in one one section of the view to make the painting more interesting.

It is important to wait for each area to dry before painting the part adjacent to it as two wet areas together causes the paint to run and lines become blurred (which is great if this is the effect you’re after!). I paint in all of the little details last and always work from light colours to dark colours. This is because watercolours are so translucent that putting light colours on dark colours can just result in a muddy mess.

Almost finished!

I didn’t use masking fluid here but it can be handy to block out areas such as the boats which allows you to get a nice smooth wash without having to paint around obstacles! I didn’t actually finish the painting as we decided to move on, but I’ll add some finishing touches at home as the colours look a little weak at the moment.

We had cake and tea for elevenses at a lovely little café opposite the Swan Inn pub.

The Swan Inn, Lympstone
The Swan Inn, Lympstone

We sat there sketching the pub for a while and had two huge slices of cake between us!

Shears Lympstone
It’s making my mouth water just looking at the photo again!

Shears cafe Lympstone
Shears Cafe, Lympstone

Once full of cake and tea, we drove on to Topsham for a change of scenery. We gravitated towards the first pub we saw and spent a few hours painting and eating lunch (as if we hadn’t eaten enough already!). I’m linking this photo up to What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday. As I wrote in my last post, my workdesk location is always changing and this time it was a in a very nice spot!

pubs in Topsham
A table next to the river would have been better, but beggars can’t be choosers!

Here is the painting halfway through. I sketched it out in pencil first, then added the pen roughly and used the same watercolour techniques as above to paint it.

how to watercolor
Painting from Topsham

how to paint in watercolor

Having painted a couple of landscapes I then turned my attention to something a bit smaller. I drew this lamp with ink pen, hatched in the shadowed areas and then ‘painted’ it with water.

pen and ink drawing
Before painting
pen and ink how to
After painting

When we could finally move after our burgers for lunch, we walked a little further downstream (or upstream, who knows?) and sat in the sun to draw. We could only stand the heat for 20 minutes, so here’s the result.

pencil drawing
A teeny sketch of a sailing boat.

Our final sketching spot was by an old church in the shade of a tree. This one I did on watercolour board. It needs a lot more work (and obviously some colour)!

Topsham church

Topsham church

You may have noticed I turned the ramp into steps to make it more rustic!

So that was the end of our day, phew! Here are a few of Dad’s drawing and paintings. I love that we’ve both interpreted things slightly differently – Dad was a lot quicker than me and ended up waiting for me to finish!

pen and ink drawingpen and ink drawing

pen and ink drawing

pencil sketch

watercolor painting

Well, after this whopper of a post I think I need a lie down! I’m working on some new seagull drawings to feature next time so keep an eye out. Please follow my blog if you’d like to keep updated with my creative endeavours! Thanks for popping by!

I’m partying at the following link up parties! Manon Popjes Illustrations, Hickory Trail and Savvy Southern Style, Cornerstone Confessions. Technorati Claim Code G4HY5XW7GAG4


Fabulous – what excellent paintings and drawings. You are obviously a very talented pair and I am so glad you have this thing that you can share together.
The carrot cake (looks like to me) looks yummy !!!! 😀
The church door looks so much better with your rustic steps 😀
Wonderful that you had such a fantastic day.

IKE xxxxxxxxxxxxx #33

What a special memorable day you had with your dad. You both are so fortunate to have each other and to have a common love! I really like how you shared your process and both of your perspectives! What charming areas you visited. What lovely little watercolour paintings you did! I really like the way you painted the vegetation in both landscapes and how you used the ink on your lamp….great effects!

What a lovely post Clare and how wonderful you sharing your process photos with us. You have made me very hungry right now and I am having to get myself some cake right now :)I hope you will share more art over at Paper Saturdays.

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