Painting Crummock Water, Buttermere, Lake District

Crummock Water
Photo of Crummock Water

Lake District

In between lockdowns, Susan and I have tried to take advantage of the freedom on offer to take in some new scenery. In 2020 we managed a drive over to the Lake District. We often stay at the Trout Hotel in Cockermouth which is a great base for the northern lakes and the Lakes Distillery. I was quite taken by this view of Crummock Water as we drove towards Buttermere. There’s usually a sketchbook in my bag and some watercolours, so I found a safe place to pull over and began to paint. Despite the heavy clouds that were merging into the landscape, the sun was making a valiant attempt to break through the clouds. A few dabs of Cadmium Yellow top left, gave a suggestion of sunlight. Some Paynes Grey was flooded into the rest of the sky for contrast and drama.

Crummock Water
Painting Crummock Water


The wash for the sky continued down the page into the lake, then I paused to let it dry. It was very cold, however the paint dried more quickly than I thought. I was soon able to pick out some of the features of the distant hills. This was followed by a wash of light rusty red as a base for the foreground.

Pressing on, I “drew” with the brush and paint, rather than using pencil, defining the hill on the left with a green mix and more Paynes Grey. The green ran over into the foreground into the rusty red wash. I had made sure that I picked out the narrow road to Buttermere by leaving it the white of the paper. The composition was pleasing with different aspects of the landscape taking your eye through the painting. Crummock Water is defined by its surroundings. It’s important the all the colours and tones provide harmony and balance.

Crummock Water
Watercolour “en plein Air”


The stone wall became a necessary part of my outdoor studio, acting as an easel. It also became a work surface to rest my tiny box of watercolours and small bottle of water. Placing it on the wall and stepping back helped me to evaluate the colours. The painting could afford to go darker with the foreground, so I intensified some of the colours bottom right.

In the end, I was delighted with the final result which is now available as a limited edition print.

Buttermere Paintings

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