Wokingham Art Society
Jake Winkle Demonstrations
Visit him at www.jakewinkle.co.uk or email jakewinkle@sky.com
Watercolour racehorses
April 2009
Watercolour landscape
June 2010
Back to Demo Archive Watercolour birds
Sept 2012
Watercolour flowers
Nov 2016

Flowers in Watercolour, 15/11/2016
Jake began the evening by telling us about the materials he uses. The paper he prefers is Arches 140lbs, and he stretches it. Soak the paper for no more than 30 seconds, then leave for 10 minutes before applying the gummed tape.

Stretching is a problem now because the gummed tape is thinner than it used to be, so he staples it as well. In his words; its a real fag! He also mentioned that with Bockingford paper the washes skate around before sinking, causing the dreaded "cauliflowers"
His paints are mainly Winsor and Newton and the brushes are Luxartis. This evening he is using a large squirrel mop, a size 16 sable and a rigger

Jake uses photographs for inspiration; not to copy slavishly from. This time his photo had two white roses and one red, in a jam jar on a saucer. He uses a paintbox with large mixing wells, which it is important to keep clean. The paints are squeezed into pans because it is much easier to mix large washes with moist paint.
Now to the painting! Jake began lightly sketching in the centre of the paper and just indicated the main shapes. He marked the waterline in the jam jar and mentioned the refraction of the stems. He added leaves where he felt the dark would reveal the shapes of the flowers.

The red rose was painted first with alizarin crimson and cadmium red, and immediately the leaves with a mix of lemon yellow, cobalt blue and a dash of red. Jake always works from dark to light and wet against wet. The shadows under the saucer and in the jam jar were placed next.
When all the darks were done, and after cleaning the mixing wells, he used very delicate tones to indicate the petals and shapes of the white roses. A few spatters added sparkle!

After the tea break Jake produced another photo; a vase of flowers on a window ledge with a strong sidelight from the window. This time he did no drawing, but started by "painting the light by painting the shadows." He used a mix of cobalt blue and alizarin crimson, and as he painted the shadow the shape of the white vase emerged.
He added the shadows of the window ledge, which gave some perspective.

The flowers were difficult to discern in the photo, so Jake just suggested them with blobs and shapes of colour; pink and violet.

Again he concentrated on dark areas to leave the lights. He made use of negative shapes and cutting around flowers. Keeping the balance of the composition he added leaves where he felt they were needed. The whole thing took no more than 10 minutes!

Thank you Jake for an informative and inspiring evening.
Two paintings from one demo, again
Write-up by Pat Johnson, photos by Rod Jones
Jake brought several samples of his other work . . .

. . . including greetings cards
Watercolour racehorses
April 2009
Watercolour landscape
June 2010
Back to Demo Archive Watercolour birds
Sept 2012
Watercolour flowers
Nov 2016

Watercolour Birds, 18/9/2012
Maddy's 2009 write-up, below, described Jake's background, so that needn't be repeated
Jake came to the demo with pencil outlines of three penguins walking on wet ice with masking fluid over their bodies (don't call the RSPCA!).

He now works almost entirely in watercolour, normally horizontally, so he immediately put the board flat on the table and soaked the (stretched Arches) paper with two coats of water. Then he covered the top half of the painting with a very thin layer of turquoise, alizarin and orange.

Changing to a weak cobalt blue, he worked several times up from the bottom so that everything merged to form a gradated wash. Finally, he put stripes of stronger cobalt to give the "ripples on wet ice" effect, lifting out too-dark areas with a damp brush. This all had to be left flat to dry for ten minutes or so before it could be moved.
His style of painting is a cross between representational and impressionist. He concentrates on finding recognizable shapes, exaggerating colour and using the full range of tones from white to black. Texture is almost ignored.

He does not glaze very much. Darks go straight in, reversing conventional watercolour practise. Because of this he is more interested in the staining qualities of paint that in their transparency.
While the work was drying Jake explained that he paints Rockhopper penguins because of their feathery "ears". He had placed the different sized birds to give interesting negative spaces. Someone suggested the birds need not all have been in step but I think it gives a nice touch of whimsy.

The board was now dry enough to be blow-dried, the masking fluid rubbed off and everything brought up onto the easel.

The shadowed breasts came first (above). For interest he likes shadow to cover about 2/3 of the width of the bodies. A wet but frighteningly dark blue and crimson mix went onto the bodies, mixed mostly on the dry paper so that all three were different. The black dots, dropped wet into wet, to add interest, were carefully placed. Orange and an additional blue gave even more interest to the nearest one.

Detail, almost finished.
Next came the blacks, done with a smaller brush. He'd mixed a black (complementary colours) but started with the light red underside of the flippers and varied the black for each penguin by dropping in pure colour and letting it blend and/or using a bit of dry brush technique. Each flipper was only 2 or 3 brush strokes. For the beaks and some of the tufts he added a bit of yellow to the light red.

Shadows and reflections are as important as the objects themselves. Remember there is a gap if the foot is off the ground! He made his greys with burnt umber, yellow, light red and turquoise. Tonally they were in the middle of the range but each bird was different: more warm burnt umber for the nearer one, more green (blue and yellow) in the distance.

There were, of course, a few little out-of context snippets, too:
"Action-based work now sells better than landscape"
"Don't aim for perfection - just make sure nothing is actually wrong"
"Luxartis brushes are cheaper and better than Rosemary's" and I note that the Luxartis shop on Jake's website also sells his DVDs.
During question time, after the painting was "finished",
more tiny touches of pure colour we added in several places . . .
. . . and this was how the first painting looked before he went on to the next one.
The second painting was quite different: much looser and quicker (15 or 20 minutes), all with a big brush (Size 14?).
As before, a quite detailed pencil drawing had already been done on the stretched Arches paper.
Getting the warm and cool areas right is more important than accurate colour but, wow, did he use colour!
The brush moved in the direction of the feathers, leaving the paper as rarely as possible.
Pure pigment was dropped in, wet-into-wet, seemingly almost randomly (but I bet it wasn't).
A lot of the short time spent on this painting was devoted to such finishing touches, including bits of white gouache.

- -
The effect was spectacular - and so ended another most impressive evening. Well done, Jake, yet again.
Watercolour racehorses
April 2009
Watercolour landscape
June 2010
Back to Demo Archive Watercolour birds
Sept 2012
Watercolour flowers
Nov 2016

Watercolour Landscape, 15/6/2010 .
It was good to welcome Jake back. This time he came armed with a small photo from Dinan and a pre-prepared pencil drawing on a piece of 140 lb rough Aquarelle watercolour paper (on the back, which he slightly prefers). Enough had been drawn to make sure that the composition and perspective were OK. This is very necessary for Jake's direct painting style. He applies paint boldly, relying on white space to avoid unwanted mixing.
Contrary to traditional watercolour practice he has taught himself to work from dark to light and to apply the paint with very little water. He had squirted paint from tubes into his paintbox/palette, so that he could pick it up with quite a creamy texture. "You're competing with acrylic painters".

For most of the evening he used only one brush, a large round sable (about size 12) held well away from the ferrule end. This forces him to make confident single strokes, almost never going back in and modifying the initial mark.

He often uses all the paint he has picked up on the brush, ending with dry-brush texture (look at his very first mark, one bold stroke under the sloping roof).
The initial darks were mixes of french ultra, sepia and a little red, later modified with violet and raw sienna. These were continually re-mixed, to add interest.

Jake reduces the picture from a large number of small shapes to a small number of larger ones, like the top left upper housefront. He does this by letting similar colours touch and run into each other (lost edges) whilst the outside of the shape is crisp against the white paper (found edge).

For the distant building, cobalt blue cooled the colour but there were still quite dark shadows. Note how he paints the shadows before the line of the edge of the roof. Shapes merge in shadows - lost edges between slightly varied colour-mixes work wonders here.
Jake commented that whereas drawing should be made by reference to the original scene/photo, painting should be affected more by how it develops.

However, for this drawing he had changed the figures in the photo. As the shadows were brought down into this area they avoided the figure outlines. This was done with the usual panache. "Accept the marks you make - don't fiddle or labour over them"

Note, too, how he exaggerated the apparent (not real) difference between the pair of windows on the right
He doesn't like to lift paint out (destroys spontaneous crispness). However, as he was painting the sky (very dilute cobalt blue, because there's so little of it) there was a run of paint right down the picture. He immediately took this out with his handful of tissue and I was struck by the way he went straght in with a brush of clean water to spread any residual blue over the white areas it had crossed.

Still roughly avoiding the outlines of the figures, he applied thin washes (not glazing over areas that might not yet be totally dry) to the walls etc. For the road surface he applied a mixture of alizarin, cobalt and yellow with a big squirrel brush, darker in the foreground, and carried it up into the wall on the left.
The painting ended with a flurry of detail, all applied rapidy with the tip of the sable brush:
more dark features the blue shadows curtains window glazing bars and shutters hints at wall structures ("alsmost any sort of meaningless mark can be used to break up flat areas") the people (see more below) the central drain gulley subtle touches of blue into the roofs and a few touches of white gouache for extra highlights
until, suddenly, the stop-before-you-start-fiddling point was reached.

At the end there was time for a little tutorial about figures in landscapes:
All heads at the same height
Figures very rapidly get shorter
Adjacent figures fuse at shoulders
A little "V" of white differentiates fronts from backs
"One-and-a-half-legs" create motion
Arms not important
Shadows, radiating from light source (top left smudge), add depth and perspective.
This brought the evening to a most interesting and satisfactory close Sam Dauncey
Watercolour racehorses
April 2009
Watercolour landscape
June 2010
Back to Demo Archive Watercolour birds
Sept 2012
Watercolour flowers
Nov 2016

Watercolour Racehorses, 21/4/2009
Jake Winkle studied Art at Bournemouth University and the Art and Music at Brighton. He writes articles for the art magazines and will be making a DVD tutorial in the Autumn. His wife has just taken over the Kolinsky Sable Brush Company; Jake had some with him for sale, as well as many stunning greetings cards.

His style is very loose but bold, making almost abstract marks in places, to make the composition more interesting. The viewer's eye fills in the information. The chosen painting was a horserace, with horses bunched together, which Jake had already drawn on 140 lb. Arches watercolour paper. He found Arches paper took water more evenly that Bockingford, which dried patchily. The paper was stretched and not only taped to his board, but also stapled!

With a hake brush, Jake first wet the paper, using diagonal strokes and missing little patches. Then, with a squirrel mop, he dropped in cobalt blue along the top, graduating into raw sienna and then burnt umber, all used very wet. This was allowed to dry flat before continuing.
Jake likes to paint the composition in one go, treating the subject matter as shapes rather than objects, and linking the shapes with variations of the same colour mixes as he goes. He squeezes tube paints into his palette before each session, to achieve a juicy mix more easily.

The sunny side of the jockeys' clothes had been masked out and the masking fluid was removed once the background wash was dry. He suggested pouring a small amount of masking fluid into a container, and dipping the brush into soap before dipping into the masking fluid; this protects the brush and also the rest of the fluid in the bottle from becoming contaminated with soap.

With strong mixes of all sorts of dark colours to accentuate the tones of the horses, and a size 12 brush, Jake worked from left to right, linking the horses but varying the colour as he went. He used warm colours for the leading horses and cool ones for the ones at the back.
Half Time
Half Time
He painted with light strokes so that the marks didn't become repetitive. This created more interest, especially around the horses' legs, which were almost abstract. He liked to make a warm grey from a mix of burnt sienna and violet.

Once the horses were painted, he started to put in the jockeys' clothes with bright colours - alizarin crimson, cobalt blue, Winsor blue and Winsor green and lemon yellow.
The finishing touches were to quickly indicate some shadows on the ground and a few splatters of dark brown really made the horses look as though they were moving and kicking up the track.

As you can see from the end result, everyone was fascinated to watch Jake work his magic.
Full Time
Full Time
Madeline Hawes
Watercolour racehorses
April 2009
Watercolour landscape
June 2010
Back to Demo Archive Watercolour birds
Sept 2012
Watercolour flowers
Nov 2016

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This document is maintained by Sam Dauncey