Watercolour Journey – Turner-inspired Painting

I’ve recently been inspired by J.M.W. Turner’s watercolour paintings, so I decided to attempt his style myself. Turner used a technique of extreme layering in his paintings allowing him to make minute changes to the tone of the paint over the course of one painting. Watercolours were perfect for this layering technique allowing a painting to be built in many tiny increments from light to dark. This technique was also useful for Turner’s commercial endeavours because it allowed him to work on many paintings at the same time using the same paints while waiting for each to dry in turn.


Smugglers’ Tower – Watercolour – March 2022

I am very pleased with how my Turner-inspired painting, Smugglers’ Tower has turned out. Overall, I believe I spent about 8 hours across 4 or 5 sessions working on it. I tried to adopt the extreme layering technique that I described above and, although I didn’t use quite as many layers as Turner himself, I can see how the process can yield some very atmospheric results. It certainly sharpens the mind when thinking where the light and dark shades are going to sit and how much of each layer to leave exposed.

Crop of the tower base and rocks.

Crop of the sky and ocean on right side of the painting.

I think the main thing that has inspired me with Turner is the blending of sky with ocean and/or landscape. For my next painting, I am going to produce another Turner-esque piece, but this time either a mountainous region or a flatter landscape.

If you would like to see more artwork you can check out my Instagram page.

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