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