March 4th, 2017

Thrill of the Race

Artist: Colleen McCafferty, Australia
Artist Statement: Sailing played a large part in my life for many years when my three children were young. They all learnt how to sail and every Sunday was spent at the local yacht club racing dinghies. There was always much excitement after the racing and many hours spent recounting the events of the day, which often included the occasional spill into the water and drenchings. It was great fun. My son went on to join the Navy and other family members either have been or are still in the Navy and own or have owned boats. So we have a lot of the ‘sea’ in our blood and I truly love painting boats and trying to capture the movement of the boats and action of the sea.

My method is to firstly draw it out in pencil – roughly for the water but more accurately for the boat. I then do line work in ink over parts of the boat, but not all. I never start the watercolour until I know that I have a few hours free. Not because it takes me that long to paint it, but I can’t stop in the middle of a wash. The sea is mostly painted in one go with a lot of water and I just go for it. Once that is done, the rest is much easier. I prefer translucent colours and if I need to go over it all again with a glaze to intensify the colours, then I carefully do so. For me, the longest part of the exercise is the thinking beforehand as I try to go through the painting exercise mentally before I start. The smooth heavy paper in the Stillman & Birn Zeta series journal is excellent for the way that I paint.

MEDIA: Watercolor, gouache, pen and ink
SURFACE: Zeta Series – Extra Heavy Weight – 270 gsm – Smooth Finish

Colleen McCafferty is an Australian artist who is feels herself fortunate to have the opportunity to frequently travel around her beautiful country and particularly into the Outback. She is retired and has been painting on and off for over 30 years. Her preferred medium by far is watercolor, but she also loves sketching in pen and ink. More of Colleen’s work can be found on her website and on Instagram at


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