Peter took out second prize in our Second MAD Box Challenge with this interpretation of lake Ballard, which used clashing primary colours to suggest the stark, beautiful landscape of the West Australian lake in all its glory. Here, he gives us takes us through his creative process.


Step 1: Ink wash

Peter started by applying a protective coat of masking tape from left to right across the top third of the board, before applying a light wet turquoise ink wash , which was allowed to dry before removing the masking tape.

Step 2: Paint the hill

Using a spatula to apply red paint, Peter built up the iconic red hillock of Lake Ballard, using paint heavily to provide full depth, with some areas very shallow allowing for light to show through the board.

Step 3: Create the sky

After giving the paint three to five minutes to dry, Peter daubed a few red marks on the skyline and yellow blotches on the body of the hillock to create the impression of trees. Each tree was applied with a rough, downward stroke. The yellow sky was painted on with a scraping action of the spatula, leaving patches of white in the sky to give depth and light.

Step 4: Create the water

A large amount of blue paint was applied to form the lake, and then pushed left and right with a spatula. This allowed the paint to spread unevenly to give an impression of shape and light on the water. To imply a sparkle on the water, flecks of paint were picked off, exposing the board underneath.

Step 5: Create a reflection

Using a water based turquoise ink and a 20mm flat watercolor brush, Peter gently flooded the lake area, providing a beautiful wash, but leaving some light in the scene. To complete the image, he gathered an edge of red ginger paint on the spatula and pulled down in short strokes to imitate a reflection in the water.

Step 6 - Create the statue

Once this was dry, Peter painted the iconic Lake Ballard carbon steel statue rising out of the water using nib and permanent Indian ink for a finishing touch.
Download this info as a takeaway PDF