Watermill painting tutor Sue Ford


Sue Ford

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Painting by watermill tutor Sue Ford

Alghero Harbour, Sardinia

Sketchbook demo, pen and wash

Pen and wash is a very suitable media to use for outdoor painting: a good drawing with colour washes. I prefer to use sepia pen rather than a black pen, as it's a little softer in tone. Sometimes I draw with the pen; at other times I place a couple of pencil marks first. If you're uneasy using a pen first, you can use a 2B pencil, to slightly sketch in.

This painting is of the Old Harbour in Alghero in Sardinia, a busy scene with lots of boats. You will see from the picture I have drawn the front boats, and only suggested the back boats. I then painted the basic colours, finishing with the shadow wash of ultramarine and cadmium red.

This method only requires a drawing pen, 2B pencil, watercolour sketch book, small box of paints and water pen, so you don't have to take the kitchen sink with you!

Painting by Sue Ford a tutor at the watermill in Italy

Boy on Rock


This picture is a pastel painting on sandpaper, similar to 'wet and dry' emery paper. The gritty tooth of this paper makes it an ideal support for pastel paintings as it grips the pastel. However it's hard going on your fingers especially if you like to rub pastel in!

The picture came from a photograph I took whilst walking in Richmond, North Yorkshire, A group of boys were jumping off a bridge into the water and this boy was having a rest on the rock. I loved the shape of the boy and the shimmering water behind.

I like to work on dark papers, using the dark as a tonal value to work against. I used a pastel pencil to draw the figure and rock shapes.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Sue Ford

Rainy day York

Acrylic and Collage

This painting was done as a demonstration for an Art Society and it is based on a photo I took whilst shopping in York, the wonderful historic city where I was born. The effect I wished to capture painting was a wet street with lights and reflections. The photo was taken on a dry day, so I had to use my imagination to transform it into a wet scene.

The initial preparation began in my studio with the orange acrylic under painting on mount card. Once dry, I used a black felt tip to pen in the detail, and then I stuck magazine paper onto the drawing with acrylic medium and left it to dry. It's hard to stop yourself tightening up the work, but I forced myself, to retain the impressionist style.

Painting tutor Sue Ford at the watermill in Italy

Rose and Co. Apothecary


This picture is based on a photograph I took on dull rainy day in Haworth in West Yorkshire, best known for its association with the Brontë sisters, who lived here. This quaint old chemist shop reminded me of Atkinson Grimshaw's work, a Victorian-era painter famous for his landscapes and dark streets with lights from buildings. I've done this painting twice, the first in pastel and this version in collage. I changed the daylight into night, and imagined how the light would fall.

I started with a piece of mount card, under-painted it with orange acrylic paint and when it was dry I used a black felt pen to draw the picture. Then, I tore up suitable tonal value magazine papers, sticking the paper on the drawing with acrylic medium. After this had dried I used black felt tip pen again to establish some details finishing up with acrylic paint to highlight the name and figures in the shop.

Course dates

Course Completed


Watercolours, pastels, collage and mixed media plus acrylic

Sue Ford is often inspired by the wide range of subjects on her doorstep in North Yorkshire and she has exhibited widely, both locally and nationally. She also writes for Leisure Painter and Paint! magazines.

Her classes, workshops and painting holidays, both in the UK and abroad, are very popular, not least because she is skilled in a large number of media and can give practical advice about materials and techniques, as well as more general tuition in composition, colour and so on.

As a teacher she wants to inspire and encourage her students to achieve their artistic goals and realise their creative ideas. She says: "The aim is to stretch all students regardless of ability, and with patient, professional tuition, to form a foundation of artistic techniques as well as developing their own style in a relaxed learning environment."

You can find out more about Sue on her website, www.sueford.co.uk