The Brass Band – a painting in stages

This was one of those paintings where I whined “what should I DRAAAAAAAAAW” and someone said “do a brass band”.

I clearly didn’t bother doing any research on what instruments actually look like. Also real brass instruments, are not sentient.

The Brass Band

The Brass Band

I took a few photos of this one while I was painting it to show my methodology. Also as I got a new watercolour set that i wanted to have a go with – Oh my it’s a good one. I am never going back to those cheapy sets. (I find I don’t use tubes cause I tend to do this sort of painting on my knees on the couch so holding it in my hands is easier than having a larger palette laid out)



This is a windsor and newton set – got it on ebay for a really good price. There is a slide out bit under the palette for mixing plus that little water thing comes off and attaches to either side. What great design! The half pans are replaceable. I think i will exchange at least one of the oranges and one of the greens for colours I will use more often, like paynes grey and indian red.

First I did a pencil drawing which I then do the finished drawing in pen, and rub out the pencil lines.


I usually pick  a main theme colour for these paintings and go from here. This one was of course brass, so it was in yellows and reds.

Sometimes with watercolour I will just directly start painting and sometimes i run the paper under a tap and soak it, then I dab on colours to do a light colour wash with. this gives a thin background colour. You can get creative and unexpected effects this way. Sometimes i’m in the mood for that, sometimes not. depending on how watery the paper is you get blobs and streaks and clumps and no sharp edges.

It can look pretty naff at this point but bear with it.


then i blob more colour in and get more coverage, this is also thin washes of colour with a smallish brush this time



Then it’s a matter of detailing in and just painting ‘normally’ by mixing paint and filling it all in. With a wet brush you can tidy up the edges if you want but i often don’t bother. I recently found my tube of white gauche, which is an opaque white, and i’ve started using this a lot in my colour mixes. I like the result, you can dab in highlights which is something that my watercolours till now have been lacking – the general idea is that you’re meant to work out where the highlights are at the start of the painting and leave those bits unpainted – that is sooooo how i do not work and it’s one of the reasons i stayed away from watercolour for years.

Never let anyone tell you you can’t do something in painting. I had someone tell me this was the wrong way to do it. I want to go back in time and punch them cause they were wrong and it kept me from this medium for years. Some people just like to opress and repress.

The watercolour set looks a lot more used now.


See the blobs of paynes grey and white I put in the mixer trays! those dry out and thus i have extra colours.