True Colours

 Back at my mooring buoy in Poros, Greece I have spent days working on a new watercolour. 
I wanted to do something different this time and walked around the shoreline looking for subject matter. Just as I was about to give up I stumbled upon this scene. A guy in a camper van had hung out his washing between the trees at the waters edge. In the background was an old boat moored to a tiny jetty. The wind played with the washing giving it life and the sun enhanced the bright colours of the clothes and foliage.

I made a sketch and decided to mask all the washing in order to work freely with the background. The sketch was in fact quite detailed as I didn’t want to forget anything. This was done en plein air (on location) but I took photographs to continue with it back at my boat. It turned out I used the wrong masking fluid ( it was written in Russian) So I ripped the whole sketch up in anger and started right from the beginning!
The sketch with masked and taped
 the outlines of the washing
The first colours of the foliage were added
ultramarine and cobalt blue were used for the sea
and shadows between the leaves give the scene some depth
I added burnt sienna to the tree trunk and foreground

Now it was time to remove the mask

As a base colour for the boat and
some of the washing I used magenta red

Finally the last details of the washing were painted  and the grass in the foreground was added.


Greetings from Fabriano watercolour festival (with video)

On the way to Fabriano with my travelling companion
the danish artist Heidi Andersen.
This year's international watercolour festival FabrianoInAcquarello in the small town of Fabriano Italy was truly an amazing event. There were 1400 participants, many in person, from 70 different countries. It was such a wonderful experience to meet so many interesting people, all with a mutual love of watercolour. Throughout every day workshops, demos and courses were held. The paintings were exhibited in historical buildings throughout the ancient town. There were even night time demos with live classical music and excursions to nearby attractions with time to paint and well worth visiting.
An experiment I did at a workshop about using
synthetic paper, lead by the artist Didier Brot.
I called the painting "Memory of a wave"
Watercolour painted between rain showers
"The painters" A quick sketch of my
colleagues painting the view from the village of Genga
I used a drone to capture some arial footage of the small towns
in the mountains we visited.
This is a shot of myself captured from the drone before take off.

Painting at Serra San Quirico
Me working on a watercolour of the view over Fabriano

Paintings by the participating artists from England

"A walk in shallow water" my painting
exhibited at the festival Fabriano In Acquarello 2018
click here to see My video with scenes from this years Fabriano in Acquarello

I have been making so many amazing new friends from 
all over the world in Italy. The most unlikely encounter happened
on a tiny mountain road at the village of Serra San Quirico.
I was walking along admiring the view when I was stopped
by this beautiful lady Babita Johri Saxena from Bangalore
“ Are you Elizabeth Tyler?” she asked and told me she had been
seeing my videos on YouTube for years and recognised me from them.
I didn’t know I was world famous!
We had a nice chat and she made me promise to upload more videos soon.


My painting as magazine cover

 My watercolour painting is now on the cover of the quarterly Swedish sailing magazine Odyssé
I was asked to write an article for the magazine  about my background and my adventures, trials and tribulations as a solo sailing artist in Greece.
After seeing the article the editors asked me if they could also use one of my paintings on the cover. Although the watercolour had to be cropped to fit the A4 format I am very pleased with the result.

The article I wrote is in Swedish but there is a summery in English

Another article was published in the magazine by the author Katinka Bille who wrote about about my lecture in Gothenburg and an interview with the renowned yachtswoman Christine Schildt. In both an editorial and article Claes Wessberg wrote about my talk in the Mediterranean Sailing Association at Lomma. 


The Famous Blue Raincoat

"Its coming in to land - No not there! - No, not yet! - Oh no! - Oh yes, -phew!"
Using a table cloth as launching pad for the Mavi pro.
photo: Appe Alm
I’ve been meaning to update this blog for some time but I really find the art of multitasking quite challenging. When I am absorbed in the process of a painting I can’t break off my train of thought to write anything and vice versa, so it all takes time.

My recent project has been to produce a new video about painting watercolours on the beach. I decided to drive to my favourite beach at Kullaberg where there are steep cliffs, lots of stones, rocks and seaweed. For the new video I wanted to send a drone up to film the whole scene from above. I had bought a new drone, a Mavic Pro (after my first one was lost at sea) and persuaded my friend Appe Alm to come with me as drone pilot to take control of the remote. Not an easy task, as neither of us had tried it before. We did a trial run near home first and took it in turns to launch, fly, turn round and land in “beginner mode”

Starting the painting with large brushstrokes.
Then I put on five layers of clothes and took all my art materials, camera equipment, coffee and sandwiches and off we went. On location the temperature was zero degrees so both flight time (cold battery) and painting time ( freezing fingers) were limited. However I got started on the painting and could work on the basic shapes and preliminary composition.
Filling in the details
I borrowed some of the stones from the beach ( they will be returned later) and some seaweed to take home and continue there. 
The work in progress was filmed step by step. It took a long time so the seaweed started to smell and was thrown out. A whole month went by before the weather was suitable to continue filming and painting again.
Me, from the drone, in my famous blue raincoat
( the tiny blue spot by the rocks)
The actual video will be published later when I have finished the long process of editing. (The art of multitasking again)

Drifted Ashore   watercolor 54 x 75 cm
 © Elizabeth Tyler 2018


A question of attitude

"A New Dawn"  watercolour    26 x 33 cm   © Elizabeth Tyler 2017.

I began to paint this watercolour of the view from my cockpit while anchored in the bay of Dokos island in Greece. The sun was about to rise and sent a bright yellow glow across the sky, splitting up the dark clouds of the night. The hills were still in darkness but it was possible to see the sparse vegetation on the slopes. The sea reflected some of the light that was promising to brighten the day.
When I started the painting I was in a very sad and pensive mood, absorbed in deep and serious thought about my life. I was soon to leave my boat, my friends and Greece for the year and, at this age, could not know for certain if I would ever return. Not only was the summer but also, I felt then, a period of my life over.  I painted the clouds even darker than they were and the hills as silhouettes in ivory black. The sea was only suggested with a few strokes of grey.
After returning home to Sweden I left the painting out of sight for a couple of months. I considered it a worthless failure, which also reflected my mood at the time. However after gradually and step by step regaining a grip on myself I took the painting up again and used it as a kind of therapy. I lightened the clouds, brightened the details and created more light by washing the darkness away.
A promising new year was about to begin.

I thought about attitude in general.
Either you only see the threatening clouds, the dark landscape and the murky water, or you see something quite different;
The promising sunlight, the warm glow, the fascinating landscape and the refreshing water.
It’s the same scene but it’s your choice how you look at it.


New video

During the summer months, as often before, I spent my time living aboard my boat in Greece. This time I concentrated on writing a book about painting the sea. It's still not finished but it will be soon, I promise!
In the meantime I did do some sailing and in order to document it with a video I had the help of a friend who filmed my boat under sail from a distance. Also I had another friend, Kirsten, who joined me for a week so we could paint watercolours together.
We didn't do much painting but we had a great time! She managed to film some sequences during very hard weather, something I couldn't do while I was steering the boat. 
The last voyage of the season was a nine hour journey from Poros to Kilada. After a good night's sleep I painted and filmed the work in progress of a watercolour of the bay before dawn from the boat.
This is the resulting video.

My watercolour painting " Before the dawn"

World Wide Watercolour exhibition

My painting "On the rocks" at the World Wide Watercolour exhibition in Hillerød

It was a great honour to be invited to participate in the World Wide Watercolour exhibition in Denmark, so I travelled from my boat in Greece to be there for the opening. I am so glad I did because I not only had the pleasure of meeting old and new friends amongst the visitors but also fellow artists from all over the world. I wouldn't have missed this for the world!
Here is a link to Marianne Gross blog with lots of photos from the exhibition.

About the exhibition:
Denmark's first truly international watercolour exhibition;  World Wide Watercolor opened at Annaborg in Hillerød, Denmark on the 19th of August and will continue until the 1st of October. 
Never before has there been an international watercolour exhibition with such diversity on Danish soil. The audience can see works by 32 artists from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Germany, England, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Serbia, Thailand, New Zealand and Canada. The exhibition is composed so that it shows a wide variety of expressions as well as subjects, techniques and sizes. In total more than 125 works are displayed on two floors.

Over the years, Hillerød Art Association has built a reputation for arranging Danish and Nordic watercolour exhibitions of high artistic quality. This time the field expanded to this international exhibition featuring high-ranking artists from several European and even overseas countries.
The artists Mona Sloth and Marianne Gross, both from Holte, have curated the exhibition for the art association. They have their background in the international watercolour scene, both from private contacts and from their involvement in the Nordic Watercolour Society.
The artists are, in alphabetical order:

Annette Bryne,  Ingrid Buchtal,  Austin Corcoran,  Anet Duncan,  Per Henrik Eriksson,  La Fe, Graham Flatt,  Lilianne Goossens,  Marianne Gross,  Lars Holm,  Leila Hunter, Margaretha Jansson,  Hanne Julie Johansen,  Karin Keane,   Inge Mette Kirkeby,  Arto Korhonen,  Lars Kruse,  Jonina Ninny Magnusdottir,  Jan Min,  Derek Mundell,  Peter Vilhelm Nielsen,  Maija Närhinen,  Endre Penovac,  Lars A Persson,  Jonas Pettersson,  Esther Sarto,  Måns Sjöberg,  Mona Sloth,  Hazel Soan,  Monique Tevenie,  Elizabeth Tyler,  Piet van Leuven.
Opening hours Thursday 15-18, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 12-16 in Annaborg, Frederiksværksgade 2a, Hillerød. There is a free entrance.
Waves over rocks  watercolour 54 x 37 cm
 At the opening the visitors were encouraged to hug an artist. This is me hugging a fan; Christian Lemée
Surf over stones  watercolour  54 x 37 cm


A new book emerging

In case anyone’s wondering what I’m up to I thought I’d better publish an update.
After months of hard work with paintings and exhibitions it was time to take a break and do something else. Something I have wanted to do for quite some time.
So I am now sitting on my boat in Greece writing a book. This time the book will printed on real paper and not an ebook.
Actually “writing” is not really a description of the work I’m doing as the book will mostly be comprised of photographs of my artwork. There will be short descriptions of each piece and small anecdotes about the work. The theme of the book is the sea, so as I sit here surrounded and inspired by the sea, the book is gradually taking shape.
Bit by bit, page after page the layout is created on my computer with the over one hundred photographs of watercolours and acrylic paintings. 
I know I can’t keep away from the actual process of painting for very long so I’ll get back to that in due course but until then I spend every day in front of the computer.
Sitting in the shade in the cockpit of my boat, creating the layout for my new book.


Sea birds

Final approach                                              Watercolour 56 x 75 cm                                       © Elizabeth Tyler  2017
In these latest watercolour paintings I was inspired by the seagulls I have often seen along the coast of southern Sweden. Sea birds are often considered a symbol of freedom and this was very much the case for me. I grew up in the middle of England, as far from the coast you could possibly be. We didn't see the sea at all most of the year so it was a great treat and part of the wonderful feeling of being on holiday when we could take a trip to the coast. On the way the whole family would compete with each other by spotting the first seagull. Then we knew we would soon see the sea.
In the first painting "Final Approach"  I have tried to capture the moment when the seagull lowers it's "landing gear" and prepares to land on some rocks on the breakwater. I liked the combination of rocks, seaweed and calm water with the seagull suspended in air for just a moment.
Seagull in Storm                                         Watercolour 56 x 75 cm                                       © Elizabeth Tyler  2017

At my favourite location Kulla Berg I encountered another seagull suspended in air. In "Seagull in Storm" the bird was seen against the backdrop of dark granite cliffs. Although the seagull was actually quite still, balancing in the wind, the sea and spray was in violent motion. I purposely painted the background out of focus with no sharp contours to create a feeling of distance and movement. This was done by using the wet into wet technique, layer over layer while the bird was masked out. After all was dry I painted the details of the seagull and softened the edges.


New video on youtube, sailing and painting.

Although this video starts with clips of me solo sailing in Greece it is also about how I find inspiration for my paintings and some of the techniques I use. In this case it is a watercolour painted from my boat at a mooring off the island of Poros. Hope you enjoy it.
click here: sailing on single handed
Early morning on Poros                                             watercolour                                       © Elizabeth Tyler 2016


Painting larger than life

For my upcoming solo exhibition in a beautiful art hall in Denmark I decided to have a splurge and paint something in a large scale.
I rather like the idea of tall narrow paintings inspired by the traditional Japanese hanging scrolls. In these the eye can wander through the painting from bottom to top taking in the details on the way.
I felt this subject with stranded seaweed on the beach could almost be reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy. The composition itself matched the planned format nicely.
Taking many (and I mean many)reference photos along the local beach I finally narrowed the subject matter down to this ( see below). By cropping and adding details in the foreground the perspective was purposefully exaggerated.
After covering the white canvas with a base colour of pale orange I painted the sea and sky, graduating from light ultramarine to light turquoise and back.
The rocks in the background were painted diffuse with pale shadows. An acrylic marker was used to sketch the stones and shells on the sand. 

In order to keep track of the perspective I put all the shadows in place by painting these in paynes grey.
 Then the laborious work of filling in the details could begin.

drinking a cup of coffee in front of  the finished painting
"Calligraphy of the Sea" 220x100cm © Elizabeth Tyler


Splashing sea

No, I am not changing my style of painting to a Jackson Pollock lookalike. (I could perhaps be tempted as his price record for a painting was 140 million USD. ) It was Pollock who replaced the brush stroke with millions of drips and blobs in the abstract expressionist style of the middle of the last century.
I'm not using so many drips and blobs though, mostly squiggles.

But no matter what you use or how you
applying thin lines of acrylic paint with a fine pen.
apply paint to a surface, its the end result that matters and before that the noble art of being able to judge when the painting is finally finished. A close up view of any painting or photograph will look totally abstract because it's brought out of context. When working on the finer details of my paintings I nearly always have my nose just a few centimetres away from the canvas. With my reading glasses on I can concentrate on the nearest area of the work and the rest is out of focus. There is then the danger of losing the overall impression and composition. So a few steps back to look at the work from a distance is very often necessary many times during the painting process. The larger the work the further distance it should be viewed from.
The finished result  "Splashing Sea" 32 X 32 cm © Elizabeth Tyler 2016


Seascapes in acrylics

My painting "Morning glow" ( 33 x 97 cm) in the cockpit of my boat
Being surrounded by seawater for several months a year I feel inspired by it every day. I felt an irresistible urge to describe the ever changing colours, the random patterns of shapes in the ripples and the sparkling light and deep shadows in the waves. Also the way the sea sometimes disappears in haze in the distance, merging in a horizonless transition with the sky.
So I decided to work on some paintings with only the sea as subject matter. The sea would be the centre of attention in itself. No stones, rocks or seabirds, just water.

It's been done before, I know, by millions of artists throughout time, all over the world, there's nothing new under the sun.  Nevertheless I wanted to capture the scene at different times of the day and give each painting my own personal interpretation, rendering them in every detail.
"Misty sea" acrylics on canvas 45 x 69 cm


Step by step, an acrylic painting in progress

Painting on board my "floating studio" in Greece
The first four stages of the painting

This painting is 97 cm x 33cm. The step by step photographs were just taken with an iphone in varying light conditions, the quality is not so good but gives you an idea of the work involved.

The beach was bathed in a glowing yellow light just before the sun went down so I started by grounding the white canvas with a flat layer of yellow ochre. Then I added transparent washes of yellow, green, blue and white for the sea.  After that had dried I broke up the surface with short brush strokes of the same colours. The stones at the edge of the sea with their shadows and highlights were added and  blues and greens of the wet sand were worked into the surface. For this I used brushes of varying size and while the colour was still wet I lifted the paint again with a colour shaper. This technique reveals the underlying colour in stripes and dots to render the surface of the beach.

The last four stages of the painting "Evening n the beach"
I added darker shadows between the ripples and small waves and varied the direction slightly to give the impression that the water is flowing onto a slanting beach.
Using brushes and fan-brushes to seamlessly blend the colours I then used toothbrushes to flick tiny spots of colour for the spray and the sand. a colour shaper is great  to move the wet paint into flowing lines, and a natural, wet sponge to lift the colour and merge into diffuse patterns. Lastly I used a ruling pen to draw the light yellow lines across the wet sand.
I decided the painting needed something more in the foreground so I placed a few imagined stones at the bottom, taking care to use the same light and shadow as the existing group of stones in the centre of the painting.

The white foam spray looked a little artificial at first so it took some more work to add shadows between and under the tops of light spray.