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“Turning the tide” by Helen Carter, using Inktense Paint

  • Feb 21, 2021
  • Written by: Helen Carter

In the midst of winter, what better way to warm up than painting a sunny summer scene to remind us of holidays and warmer climes.

What you will need:

Download the reference photograph:

Derwent Turning the Tide Set Up

Set Up

STEP 1 – Preparations

Derwent Turning the Tide Preparations

Step 1- preparations

Tape your Derwent Inktense Paper to your desk along each side to create a crisp edge to your painting. Using a 2H pencil, lightly add the horizon line, making sure it is level. Sketch the four closest boats and a few of the boats in the distance.

I have added a blue masking fluid at this point to protect the white highlights, but this is optional.

STEP 2 – Initial washes

Derwent Turning the Tides Initial Washes

Step 2- Initial washes

Sky – Using a wide paintbrush, apply a light wash of Turquoise in long horizontal strokes across the sky.

Gradually darken the top by adding more layers. You don’t want any streaks, so work quickly.

Water – Using a wide brush, wet the paper then apply a light wash of Bright Blue. Keep the area next to the skyline as light as possible and fade the bottom edge out. Paint around the boats in the foreground, but don’t worry if you go over those in the distance. Add the blue boat shadow at this point with a darker layer.

Skyline – Mix a little Violet into your Bright Blue wash and paint a bumpy, thin shape to suggest the distant hills on the horizon.

Sand – Paint a light wash of Light Yellow Ochre in horizontal strokes that gradually darkens to the bottom of the page. Layer over the bottom quarter of the blue where it is lightest to create a slight green tint.

STEP 3 – Seaweed

Derwent Turning the Tides Seaweed

Step 3- seaweed

Mix Racing Green into your Burnt Yellow Ochre wash to create a pale dirty green colour. Paint the seaweed areas making sure to keep the edges irregular. Use dabbing motions with the tip of a round brush for added texture. Begin to layer stronger values where you see them.

Add the shadow of the red boat.

STEP 4 – Boats

Derwent Turning the Tides Boats

Step 4- boats

Using a round brush, paint a light wash of Bright Orange over the red boat. Do not paint the front plate, wooden planks or rear seat at this point. While you have this colour, add a little into the seaweed.
The blue boat needs a light wash of Mid Ultramarine over the whole thing. Darken your paint slightly to shade the inner side and two footwells.

The two white boats only need a pale blue wash at this point. If you have not masking fluid, be careful not to paint over the highlights.

STEP 5 – Distant boats

Derwent Turning the Tides Distant Boats

Step 5- distant boats

These need little detail. Use a darker mix of Mid Ultramarine for the hulls and sterns (back), Paynes Grey for the masts. For the mast reflections, use a lighter Paynes Grey mix and paint a straight line with a bit of a wiggle at the bottom.

STEP 6 – Details

Derwent Turning the Tide Details

Step 6- details

Add more texture to the seaweed by layering Racing Green and Paynes Grey. Use small strokes, building layers. Darken the bottom of the blue boat with Paynes Grey. Darken the shadow on the water using Mid Ultramarine, adding in the reflection line. Deepen the shadow of the white boat above with Paynes Grey and add interior shading.

For the other boat, create the reflection with White. Natural Brown for the shadow under the hull, and for the outline in the reflection. Add more detail to the shading inside with Natural Brown.

Derwent Turning the Tide

Blue boat

For the red boat, add Red Oxide to darken the front inner edge. Blend that out to orange towards the rear.
Paint the outside rear with Cherry, and then mix that with Mango on the left side getting lighter towards the front.

The floor is Mango, and the shadows have a little Paynes Grey and Racing Green added.

Derwent Turning the Tides Orange Boat

Orange boat

The wooden planks are a very pale Natural Brown with some thin lines for texture. The rear seat is also pale Natural Brown painted messily to suggest wear. The front metal plate is a very light Black dabbed on randomly.

Derwent Turning the Tide Final Piece

Final piece

Derwent Turning the Tide Drawing

Final piece

Thank you to Helen Carter for this blog. We would love to see what you can produce with Inktense Paint.

You can find Helen here: