Canal Life.

Speed sketching of canal life.




Not my best sketches but with cold fingers and everything moving i’m not too displeased.

That’s the last of my canal drawing.


Sketching whilst cruising the canal.


Drawing can be challenging at the best of times but even more so when your on the move.  No sooner that you make a mark on your paper, then look up, the view has changed.

So this sketch is a bit cobbled together as we cruised the canal.

Sketching on the move will help you improve your sketching skills.

Try it for yourself.


‘4 Seasons’ in 1 day on the Canal


Sun,  snow, hail,  high winds and rain,  what a day.  It might look as though I was relaxing in this sketch but I was chief looker outter for oncoming boats around the bends.  As you can see on my sketch, it was hailing.  We were bitterly cold and I had 5 layers of clothing,  gloves and a wooley bobble hat and very glad to get to our evening mooring to jump in a hot shower to warm up.

Canal Holiday Day 3


Apologies for not blogging yesterday but lack of signal for Internet.

We spent the morning in Brecon enjoying some shops and sights of the town.  We stocked up on provisions for cooking our evening meals. A nice quaint town.  Once back on board we spent the afternoon cruising towards Talybont on Usk where we moored up for the night.  Hubby and I cooked a 2 course meal of Thai Crabb canapés for starter followed by a Salmon and Prawn  Chowder.  (Scrummy if I say so myself)

Bye for now.

Canal Holiday.

First full day on canal,  approaching Brecon,  Wales.

My first pen sketch of our Canal Holiday in Wales,  with our friends Steve and Doreen. We are approaching Brecon on a sunny early evening. And we are now ready for a meal and a well deserved drink.  We set sail early am and travelled through 5 locks and cruised the canal for 9hrs today.  A super sunny and warm day. I think we’re in for some rain tomorrow so it could be interesting. Walking into Brecon town centre for tourist shopping and to stock up on food supplies before setting sail for day…..


Salt Techniques with Watercolour

In the last session of term (March 2017) at Menheniot we practiced Salt techniques.   (See Salt Techniques below)  This is always a fun session, as its always a surprise to see just how the salt works on different stages of the wet paint as its drying.   One very new learner to painting, shows it does work and its a joy to see a learner smile and go home pleased with their work.

It really is great to see how an absolute new beginner to watercolour, improve in just a short time.  ‘Pat’ has only been painting for 1 term (10 Weeks), and has had a steep ladder to climb as she paints alongside learners that have been coming to class for many years.


Winter Wonderland by ‘Pat Brunskill’

Salt Techniques:

  • Make sure your ‘salt’ is dry, if necessary warm it in an oven or stand next to a heater for a while, alternatively, store in an airing cupboard.  This will help to make the salt work at its best.
  • Salt absorbs the moisture but repels the pigment of the watercolour to create ‘blooms’
  • The watercolour wash has to be still wet but not too shiny.
  • The effect varies depending on the wetness of the wash and the size of the salt grains.  The wetter the watercolour surface the larger the reactions will be.
  • Add sprinkles of salt, but don’t mound the salt as this wont give you very good results.  Less is more.
  • When its dry, which can take a while, brush it off.
  • If it has not worked, it could because the was on the paper was too dry, the salt was damp, or the watercolour wash was overworked into the paper allowing little movement of the colour.
  • Practice beforehand to get the actual results you want.

Here are a few other paintings from learners at the Bodmin Watercolour Class.


Naughty Pupils!!

A recent drawing class were sent to face the walls, just like naughty school children, but at least they had something to do!!P1150394







Its not ideal working from a wall as its a bit too upright, an easel at a slight angle would be better.

Drawing and painting standing at an easel assists you to take a step back and observe your work, it helps you to get some perspective on your work.  Its important to stand away from time to time, just by standing a few feet away will help you see your mistakes, keeping your nose almost touching you work means that you are not observing the overall effects you are trying to make.

Additionally it helps you to become a freer,  looser artist, allowing you to make more expressive marks, the closer you are to your work the tighter your mark making will be.

It is doubly important to make sure that your easel position is at the right height and angle for you, so you don’t have to keep lifting your arm up, as this will become tiring.  Relax and remember to breath, roll your shoulders occasionally to ease any tension, try not to twist your body too, position yourself straight on.  The experience should be enjoyable and relaxing not feel like a workout.

To help free your drawing up try using your non drawing hand, i.e. if your right handed use your left hand and visa versa.

Remember relax and enjoy it, after all its only just a piece of paper!


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