The above painting was one from the selection we painted in the summer day course last Friday. We worked from a photograph I took on a trip to Shoebury on the previous Monday afternoon when the sun was shining brightly and the whole promenade was alive with sun seekers and holidaymakers, an absolutely perfect day to be at the seaside.

The design principal we used was repetition of shape, but there was also design in the palette with the contrast of blue shapes and white shapes. We were also learning how to paint rusty objects with watercolours, a theme that was present in all the paintings we completed.

With any architectural subject, it is necessary to complete a solid drawing of the shapes – in perspective. We are looking at a one point perspective but also lots of other perspectives too, so … use a ruler. The challenge I find for learners is they often “straighten up” lines that are diagonal and will make them horizontals or verticals. This is particularly true of the focal point beach hut that has the boat attached, the roof slopes away, creating a diagonal line. The set of steps also caused quite a lot of conversation and decision making. Lights and darks play the major part in painting this particular set of steps: there is a wonderful cast shadow of the beach hut on the sand, which I found very useful to make the step shapes.

Once the drawing was completed we prepared our palette: plenty of light blue, plenty of sky blue and plenty of medium blue. A chromatic black, yellow ochre, flesh tint, green , red and pink.

Palette for painting rust – rust is a fun element to paint and watercolour is the perfect medium for painting rusty objects. Blue, yellow, light red, burnt sienna, burnt umber.

We then started painting, working on the focal point first, the beach hut and boat. We wet the boat shape area on our paper (and had all our rust palette prepared) and then applied very thin washes of colour, tilting our boards so the colours moved, starting with blue, and then near the chain yellow, over paint that with light red, and then burnt sienna. Repeat the palette on other parts near the chain and keep titling the board so you see movement of the paint. We then painted the beach hut, light blue first and then when that was dry use a darker blue as a glaze.

We painted in all the beach huts and then painted the sand. Firstly, paint the sand with a flesh tint and whilst that is still damp use a stipple brush or natural sponge to add a variety of colours from yellow ochre through to green. The shadows – paint with chromatic black. The set of steps: I used my mixes for the rust.

For the sky – make a small paper twist using soft tissue. Wet the sky area with a hake brush, let that soak in, and wet again. Use a large round headed brush and load that with paint and apply to the paper, working from the top of the sky. I tilt this as a work. Then lay the paper on a desk and use a paper twist to drag across to lift out light cloud shapes.