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Painting DVD: Splashing Paint by Watercolorist John Lovett

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John Lovett Splashing Paint DVD Review

"Splashing Paint" DVD by Australian watercolorist John Lovett

Image: © 2008 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

The Bottom Line

If you're new to painting, you'll find the step-by-step demos easy to understand and encouraging to attempt. If you're an experienced painting wanting to work in a looser style, you'll see techniques to emulate. If you're feeling jaded, it will be hard not to feel inspired to paint again as Lovett takes such obvious pleasure in what he's doing and sharing.


  • Demos range from simple subjects (trees done with a battered decorating brush) to complex scenes
  • Clear explanations of techniques and approaches
  • Loose style of watercolor painting, encouraging experimentation rather than pre-planning
  • Uses a small set of colors and brushes, plus a dip pen for ink


  • Don't watch it all in one go (though you can) or you'll go into visual overload
  • Watercolor purists take note: demos include using ink and opaque white.
  • Remember the price on his site is Australian dollars not USA.


  • Zone-free DVD. 2 hours playing time.
  • Includes 16 step-by-step demonstrations, plus tips on setting up a studio or painting space.
  • John Lovett is an artist with more than 30 years experience. He works in watercolor, oil, and mixed media.
  • Lovett has been teaching for more than 10 years, through his website, publications, and painting holidays.
  • Only eight colors used: phthalo, ultramarine, cobalt blue; aliz' crimson; quin' gold; indigo; burnt sienna; permanent rose
  • Brushes used are a 1/2 and 1" decorating brush, 1/4 and 1" flat one-stroke brush, #2 rigger, and 3" hake
  • Demos include Easy Trees, Simple Skies, Reflections, Location to Studio, Taking Risks, and Simplify/Suggest.
  • The demo worksheets on Lovett's website show you exactly what the DVD covers.

Guide Review - Painting DVD: Splashing Paint by Watercolorist John Lovett

I admit, I've a sentimental spot for Australian watercolorist John Lovett because his Watercolour Studio Workshop 2 was one of the first things I reviewed after I started writing the Painting section of About.com in 2002. But sentimental isn't a word I'd apply to his demonstrations or teaching approach. Rather words such as straightforward, do-able, and inspirational come to mind.

Lovett's Splashing Paint DVD makes full use of the improvements in software since his CD-ROM was published and is easy to navigate, whether you want to watch a specific element or everything. It's not a video where you watch him paint from the same angle throughout, but rather boxes pop up showing, for example, the colors or brush being used or close-ups of what's being done.

Strictly speaking six of the 12 demos count as mixed media rather than watercolor as Lovett uses ink and opaque white (gesso or gouache), but there's no reason you couldn't adapt the demos for pure watercolor if you wanted. (Though I suspect few people will be able to resist trying pen and ink with their watercolor after seeing the great effects.)

The day after I first watched the "easy trees" demo on this DVD I went to my local DIY store and bought a cheap, one-inch decorating brush to give the technique a try. I've also watched the piece that shows the inside of his studio several times because I love seeing other people's painting spaces, how they're organized and what there is. My favorite demo is the Simplify and Suggest one, where he simplifies a harbor scene and adds mist to increase the moodiness of the painting.

This is one of those DVDs I know I'll watch again and again, particularly when I'm feeling tired and uninspired, in need of an injection of enthusiasm and painterly enjoyment to get my fingers itching to hold a brush again.

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