On my frequent visits to London, especially during the colder months, I explore the shape of its changing form, the inconstant light from an equally fickle sky painting the subject like a stage set. Subjects include The Shard, Trafalgar Square and Bar Italia. I employed techniques learned from a painting demonstration and workshop the previous week: underpainting, thin layered washes, tonal contrast. The painting of the railway tracks is not of London, but the entrance to the Channel Tunnel at Calais. It is based on an image I saw on telly, modified somewhat but keeping the essence of its simple graphic form.
Another month, another workshop! I was very pleased to have got a place on this on, I'm an admirer of Deb Walker's painting, with its dramatic subjects, vast scale (especially for watercolour) and intense contrast. Deb puts much knowledge and science into her work, and like most artists, has an insatiable curiosity as to how other artists create certain effects. This particular workshop focussed on Turner's watercolours and in which order he painted the parts: washes, detail, body paint etc. Deb demonstrated a few techniques which we then attempted, with varying degrees of success, to recreate. It was all subtle stuff and I was amazed with one technique in particular, that of laying multiple warm and cool glazes to create an illusion of depth in a sky. I enjoyed the day listening to Deb tell an assortment of amusing tales from her tutoring classes and learning much from this talented painter.
Most evenings, especially during the colder months, I sit, with a refreshment, watching a mix of crime and thriller series on the telly. During these sessions, my addiction to sketching force me to have the sketchbook on my lap, scribbling away wit a 6B water soluble pencil and water brush. Even when watching the subtitled programmes I can create something, often inspired by something I've just seen, or an image from memory. When drawing in the gloom of a darkened room an element of muscle memory is required, adding scope for accidents and forcing me not to fuss. Included in the gallery below are some of my efforts. I plan to put more into a separate section on this site. I hope you enjoy them, and of course, if any takes your fancy, most are for sale, probably around £10-£15 + post.
These are three full-sheet (30"x22") versions of a Beachy Head scene. I set myself a challenge to paint larger pieces, forcing myself to plan carefully and execute the brush strokes decisively. I think only one of them comes close to being successful, but learning from failure is how we improve, and improving is what makes us human. Although watercolour has to be painted in one go, i.e. you can't work over a painting and correct mistakes as you can with oils and acrylics, it is a relatively cheap medium if you buy the paper and paint in quantity. So ... onwards!
Slideshow and details of paintings below.
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