Hello. I am Tim Wilmot, based in Bristol UK and I’m a semi-professional watercolour artist (full-length video tutorial of how I painted the introductory image can be found below!). I say semi-professional, in that I do have a full-time job unrelated to painting, which does take up a fair bit of time as you can imagine!
So I’ve painted on and off all my life, and I would say almost exclusively in watercolour. I love watercolour. Most people say it’s the most difficult painting medium to use – after all if you make a mistake, that’s it. Do the same in oils, and you can paint over it. So it’s the challenge I think with watercolour to pull a painting off, but also it’s about some of the unique things you can do with watercolour that is difficult or impossible with say oils – e.g. try and do what they call ‘wet in wet’ in oils!
I also love the spontaneity of watercolour and the speed at which you can work, often being able to complete a painting in under 2 hours. Also the freshness you can get with watercolour, the attempt to make one brush stroke work just right and it communicates exactly what I want.
I have painted more actively since about 2009 and try and do about 4-3 paintings a week. As regards subjects to paint, I love doing landscapes and seascapes. Pretty much a scene anywhere in the world as long as there is some strong light.
Watercolour loves strong light, areas of high contrast, and warm tones up against cool tones. And ‘contre jour’ as they say – painting into the sun. I try to get out and about as much as I can to paint, but most of the time I’m indoors (well when you’re in the UK you don’t always have predictable weather), in my studio and painting from a photo.
I am often asked about what materials I use. I think it’s best to try and buy the best possible materials you can afford. You will generally end up with mediocre results with cheaper equipment. Starting with the paper, I mostly use Saunders Waterford watercolour paper.
This, I buy in large sheets and cut down into smaller sizes as I wish. With watercolour paper you get a choice of surface textures – Hot pressed is very smooth (great for botanical painting), NOT is medium and then Rough is as it says. I use mostly Rough and NOT. You can also order in different weights, and I use 300 gsm or 140 lbs.
I would recommend tube paint rather than ‘pans’. Pans can ruin the point of your brushes and tube paint is easier to work with and mix. I have a limited range of colours, and I would recommend anyone starting out on watercolour to limit their palette and not have too many colours – it can get confusing!
So my colours are neutral tint, burnt umber, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, viridian green (I don’t often use this and prefer to mix my own green with a yellow and blue), cobalt green (great for reflections in harbours), cerulean blue, cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson, cadmium red, light red, cadmium orange and cadmium yellow.
Sounds like a chemistry set but they work well for me. As regards brushes, I use mainly synthetic brushes and fairly large ones as well. I use a big mop brush for much of the painting and have smaller brushes for detail work and a rigger brush for doing fine lines. Big brush and small size paper is a good thing to keep in mind!
WATERCOLOUR TUTORIAL: How To Paint A Simple Rural Scene
I sell my paintings worldwide, have had many paintings into exhibitions mainly in the UK, and have won a few local competitions. I also run a few workshops in the UK and Europe.
For those people who can’t travel, I offer online workshops (we paint in an interactive way over the web at a time to suit you), normally on a one-to-one basis covering any subject you want. I have a fairly active YouTube Channel with over 20,000 subscribers and new videos being posted every few weeks.
I am also a member of the Bristol Savages, a Society concerned with the pursuit of the Fine Arts, Painting, Music, Poetry, other Performing Arts since 1904.