Friday, September 2, 2016

How to Paint Like Turner

linking to paint party friday: am revisiting a cool epic painting project I undertook in 2012! Some of you might remember/have seen these before, but I just recently ran across this from the Google Play store! I suppose it's an ebook? Really fascinating, in any event! And it mega brought me back to when I myself was churning out JMW Turner oil reproductions on driftwood.


How to Paint Like Turner

JMW Turner is one of the greatest artists Britain has ever produced. His watercolours, with their extraordinary effects of shifting light and dramatic skyscapes, are especially highly regarded. For the first time, the secrets of Turner’s technique are revealed, allowing present-day watercolourists to learn from his achievements.

This book combines unrivalled knowledge of Turner’s working methods from Tate curators and conservators with practical advice from some of the world’s most respected watercolour experts.
This book is for watercolourists, which is a medium I'm not as happy in as with oils, but certainly I am very interested in this book.

(Any watercolourists among you: would love to see what you thought of this book.)

 I would especially be curious to speculate how my owm project would've developed if I'd had a book like this to guide me along during the sojourn. Even though oils are not watercolours I'm pretty sure I could have learned something.

In any event, I didn't seriously set out to reproduce, 100%, Turner's ouvre. If nothing else, the medium makes that task impossible.

For instance, Battle of Trafalgar is a painting that is taller and wider than me in real life! That in itself makes any attempt and desire at absolute reproduction impossible.
Battle of Trafalgar in process on old barn wood; Marshall, NC, 2012

As well, the wood itself, with its flaws, pockmarks, and texture, added something to the work that Turner's did not have. That would be my contribution to the piece.

The obvious third reason is my skill level clearly is not the same as the old master's. Try as I might, clearly I do not have his genius, but neither did I have his timeframe.

A Country Blacksmith disputing upon the Price of Iron on panel in progress (underpainting), Marshall NC 2012

As stated before, the purpose of the Kickstarter project (seen here) was to recreate, one per day, a Turner piece onto a piece of wood. For me, artistically, fabricating one of these per day was an exciting technical as well as creative challenge. Some of the pieces were no big deal to pull off in a few hours; whereas others took like 12+ hours to finish. Some, in which i had to use layering techniques, were only possible to complete over 5+ day time - what I would do in this case is have 5 simultaneously in production, and work them all every day so that at the end of the 5 day period (if I wanted 5 layers) I would be finished with 5.

In general am very pleased with the result, and am happy with the artistic outcome that the raw wood and the frenetic pace allowed me to capture of Turner's work, without, clearly, having the collection be anything like a perfect replica of Turner's work. I am glad to have been able to put some of my own artistic process and limitations into these wonderful, epic pieces.

In any event, I will get the book, and see if I do anything interesting with it.


  1. your rendering is quite beautiful. Not a great watercolor artist myself but I do find the books and classes very helpful even with other mediums. Happy PPF!

  2. I think I'm missing something here. Are you doing watercolor on wood and if so how? It surely looks like watercolor and very beautiful at that. I used to do oils and often used old wood to paint flowers on pieces, attached hanging rings and gave them to people. I am not advanced enough to answer your question about the book on Turner's methods. I'm still learning myself.

    1. no, I am doing oil on wood, but am looking at that watercolour instruction book bc i am interested in the artist and was wondering if the book was good - thanks for coming by :D

  3. Thanks for stopping by the BrownPaperBunny blog earlier. See I find oils completely daunting and am too scared to even give them a go....watercolor is easy by comparison - and certainly dries a lot faster too. ;)

  4. Beautiful work. If I visit London, I always go and visit the Galleries to see Turner! There was an exhibition here in Germany of his water colours which he made on a Rhine tour, and they were wonderful, too. Have a great week, hugs, Valerie

  5. Lovely creation on wood ~ well done ~

    Happy Weekend to you ~ ^_^

  6. Creating on wood is interesting to me. Oils hold no passion because they dry too slowly. Watercolor is definitely a challenge, but I enjoy tackling it and combining it with other arts. I did purchase miscibles (sp) however. Your works are engaging. Blessings, Janet

  7. Nice work and courageous to translate a watercolor into oil! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Appreciate it.

  8. So beautiful...kind of like yours best! Great style, a very industrious project!! Thanks for sharing!!

    Hugs Giggles


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