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October 1st 2021  Terry Whitworth
Demo of Flowers painted in Watercolours

Thanks, Simon Gray and Penny Lamb, for photos and write-up.


Terry-Whitworth crop.jpg

 Terry Whitworth is  the president of Lyme Regis Art Society and works in mainly acrylic and watercolour, and Friday he will be demonstrating a Still Life in Watercolours.

Terry, who trained at TwickenhamCollege of Art & Design, “loves living near the sea”. “Dorset offers great access to beaches and coastal walks,” he says. “The gentle, undulating countryside around where we live in West Dorset is magnificent in all seasons.  So much of the county remains ‘un-spoilt’.”

The county provides much inspiration for Terry’s paintings. “Some of my best paintings have probably taken less than an hour. Although watercolour and pen and wash have been the medium I’ve worked with for years, I’m painting on a larger scale these days using acrylics. This sort of work can take a lot longer as it changes and evolves.”

His two favourite places in Dorset are “Eggardon Hill for the breath-taking views and Lyme Regis for its overall beauty”.

During his career, Terry has had regular calendar and publicity commissions from companies including International Paints, British Waterways and English China Clays. His recent paintings, whether watercolour, oil or acrylic, generally combine strong elements of colour, composition and tone.

Whether it was the petrol shortage or the fact the nights are drawing in,

there were disappointing numbers at the OVAS demonstration, which was

a shame as the artist  Terry Whitworth treated those who attended to a

masterclass of painting with watercolour. 


On an A3 sheet of Saunders 300lb NOT (Cold Pressed), he started by lightly drawing the subject matter, (a couple of end of season hanging baskets of geranium, lobelia and terracotta pots).

The idea was to produce a large and lively painting, fairly loosely and then tighten the whole thing up towards the end.


Terry explained that practicing small still life pictures with a limited palette was like practising scales at the piano. It fine tunes the hand and increases confidence.  


So no light washes for Terry it was straight in with the darker areas, establishing the drama of the piece more concerned with tones, than colour. He used Neutral Tint (a warm grey) and Windsor Blue. The No10 brush was held alternatively on its side and pointed rolling the colour on to really bring out the darker and shadow areas.

He explained the idea was to provide the illusion of clustering and overall shape.  It was important to ensure the whole picture was interpreted in a similar style. He didn’t want tight and loose  areas.


The baskets had been place on a white cloth, so some indication of the background  was included, giving a sense of vertical movement. The same colours were used but this time very much watered down.

The geranium leaves are a particular shape so important to get definite representation. Very important to get the tonal areas right to break up the foliage to make it look convincing. The pinks and reds of the geranium flowers would be last to help bring the whole painting together.

The green foliage was next, Terry explained his thought process with regard green. He only has one green in his paint box Olive Green, which he mixes with either Windsor Blue or Yellow Ochre, to get the right balance. He didn’t want  an overpowering colour. So again mid tones with loose brushwork, working from the centre of the painting gradually working outwards. Being really careful not to get lock in and overly precious about a particular area.  The occasion paint flicking helps to break up the extremities. The dark areas to be reinforced towards the end.

Next the terracotta pots Yellow Ochre, Raw Umber and Light Red. Here the focus was on correct perspective and balance lines to ensure visibly convincing shapes.

There were a couple of areas where wet into wet was used carefully to help the 3D effect to be exaggerated.

Terry explained that clean colours are paramount, and the beauty of watercolour is that as long as the first layer is dry additional layers can be added. He even suggested the use of masking fluid!

The white paper was beginning to disappear, further colour to establish the leaves, reinforce the earlier decisions and consolidate the painting.

Then using a rigger to draw in detail, and make sure the pots look like they are standing on something (not floating in fresh air).

The lobelia was next Windsor Blue & Windsor Violet continuing to ensure a loosely painted picture. Finally the Vermillion and Cadmium Red were used for the geranium  flowers, continuing to make sure the petals were painted to give a 3D effect (some side on some angled).

Terry then decided there needed to be more contrast, tried to  reduce the mid tones, to enhance the overall effect. And the painting was finished.

An enjoyable and informative evening with an artist who is confident with his medium.


Terry finished off by saying “Not everything works, and its important to realise like everything in life, continual practice is the only answer. There will be parts of painting you like, remember how you achieve the result and incorporate it into the next attempt. Half an hour a day, a cup and saucer, a small vase of flowers, any thing that is about. You need to take risks and be really objective”   


Otter Vale Art Society

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