Doug Purdon – Painting a Marine Scene in Watercolour

{Submitted by Ingrid Mueller}


It was a pleasure to have celebrated Toronto painter, Doug Purdon, demonstrate and share his extensive knowledge of painting with watercolour.

As Doug started his demo, he discussed some fundamentals, and reminded us of the importance of knowing your medium and the working elements of the pigments.


  1. The types of colours – transparent vs. opaque
  2. When to use them, particularly when using washes
  3. Always use professional grade paints as the quality of pigment is drastically reduced in student grade paints.

Doug also suggested that the quality of paper will determine the successful outcome of your painting.  A long time user of Winsor Newton products, Doug also works for the company and recommends their products, as he did prior to working for them.

It was wonderful to know some of the secrets of a successful professional artist, and the following are some of his tricks:

  1.  Masking your painting can be done with both masking fluids and masking tape. Simply apply the tape to roughly fit the shape on the page.  Using a sharp blade, cut the shape closely to your lines.  This can only be achieved when using a heavier, good quality paper.  Doug also uses a ruling pen, dipped in masking fluid to mask fine, like highlights on water.
  2. Doug stressed that one must draw and sketch as often as possible. Carry a sketch book and draw your experiences and surroundings. One never knows when something wonderful will come out of it in the studio.
  3. A limited palette is necessary for watercolourists, especially for plein air. The Double Primary palette that can be used to mix any colour:  Naphthal red (Winsor red)/Permanent rose; Cadmium yellow medium/Lemon yellow; Phthalo Blue/French Ultramarine.

It was an informative, inspirational evening.

Doug Purdon’s work can be seen at

Plein Air – At Rosetta McClain Gardens

Several plein air enthusiasts met to paint in the gardens on July 11. The day started chilly, as a mist rolled in off the lake, but soon warmed up nicely. We scattered, each to find the perfect spot to study, sketch and paint shadow pattern, trees, flowers or people. Hopefully these quick studies will lead to more finished pieces later. Thanks to all who managed to attend.

Plein Air at Riverdale Farm

Several intrepid artists met at Riverdale Farm this last Tuesday, in spite of ominous clouds and a few drops of rain. Well, more than a few. We spread out, sketched and painted and smelled the lovely farm fragrances. Hopefully some studies will inspire finished studio works.

Friday Night with Jamie MacLean – May 12, 2017




“If not now…. when?” A question asked of Jamie MacLean during a seminar, in the early part of this century, about launching new careers.  His answer was, “yes, why not now”. Ever since, Jamie MacLean has been painting, learning, growing and selling his art, and he shared his journey with the DVAC Friday Night Club.

Although Jamie paints lovely landscapes mostly on canvas, inspired by scenery in Ontario cottage country, he has, for the past few years, also been painting on aluminum substrates.  It is a technique he has been perfecting, as he discovered that, especially in the smaller formats, customers are drawn to the sleekness and modernity the surface provides.  Not the typical landscape.

How do you make the paint stick?  He came well prepared to demonstrate how to prepare the surface to accept paint.  Although one can use oils, Jamie uses acrylics for this surface in appreciation of the quick dry time.

After planning your subject, and wiping the aluminum clean with varsol, one must rough the surface.  He used a dremel tool, but sand paper works as well.  Be sure to wear a dust mask.

He then applies a coat of clear gesso, allowing it to dry thoroughly before applying the paint.

The results are striking, and although this technique is not for everyone, it presented an option that may enhance some ideas.

When not painting, Jamie participates in about 15 shows a year and is an active member of the Artist’s Network.

You may see more MacLean artwork at his website:

Canada 150 Art Show – May 7 Community Day