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Magical Mystery Tour IV, the south of France in Watercolour

The secret to getting results is not to worry about the results

We started with a free loose washy abstract  inspired by the feeling of the warmth of the sun in the south of France and a field of sunflowers. After just the length of time it took to listen to Bob Marley singing, “Three Little Birds”. (Don’t worry about a thing) we set these aside till the end of class.  Then we then drew over the top of them with loose ink marks, defining sunflowers.

Then Heather took us on a little tour of some of her favorite places around Frejus…

We focused on the ancient Roman aqueduct, and a review of one point perspective.

By following the lines of the top of the aqueduct, the tops of the arches and the bottom of the aqueduct, we see that all converge on the horizon at the “vanishing point”. The trick is to get the diminishing width of the arches.

It’s helpful to see that the central middle line is just to the right of the first arch.

In my painting I wanted to accentuate the arches and the “NOTAN”, so I ignored some of the shadows, and let the darkest darks define the arches.

You could do this purely monochromatic with pen and ink or add a little watercolour, as I did. (Wish I hadn’t!)  Also I did this on a prepared ground of gesso, which just adds a bit of texture. I feel this is overworked, and  added a bit of white with Posco pen after class, as I felt I’d lost some of the lights.

Demo of the aqueduct, OK perspective but boring painting!

And finally we did a “Straight and Curved Line Analysis” drawing of the church in Frejus. And we squinted to see a stronger tonal variation between the light and shadow.


Try more straight and curve line drawing and try a flat brush to keep an almost cubist approach to the painting. This is especially good for architecture. We’ll do more of this next week.

Also, embrace the idea that the secret to getting results is to not care about the results. Try some very loose brush strokes and mark-making just for the joy of it, perhaps trying to paint a mood or feeling of a place you love.

Not sure where we are going next week. Do send me photos of the places you love that you would like to share.

see you next week, and till then, Happy painting!

Ps. If you missed the class, we recorded it and I’ll post the link in our what’s app group.

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