Earlier this week I was commissioned to paint a large (30"x22") version of my Calais Tracks piece. It is a subject which I knew would successfully scale up from the original 15"x11". The paper is Saunders Waterford 200lb rough, my current favourite and easily up to the task of a full-sheet work. I didn't take enough photos for a full sequential process but hopefully these few might explain my approach.
I taped the paper to the board and using a 0.5 HB propelling pencil drew the skeleton of horizontals and verticals. Then the tracks and a number of lights were then drawn in single flowing moves with masking fluid and a mapping pen. I experimented with and without masking fluid in other versions, and decided that in this situation, it's essential. Once dry, the first wash was laid, a dark, red blue mix with a few dabs of a blue/umber mix added at random.
Subsequent washes of a less saturated mix using blue/umber, were laid, each time leaving the light in the middle, feathering the edge with clean water.
In the next image, you can see that I have leapt ahead withthe darks and graphical elements. The finer lines were paintied with a pointy Jackson's Perla brush, nothing smaller than a 12. Both wet and dry brush employed. The dark is a magic mixture (thanks to Deb Walker RI for this tip) of Winsor blue and umber laid on with my 14yo 2" Da Vinci flat brush. Once I was happy with the general arrangement, I removed the masking fluid and softened some of the edges prior to adding red or yellow for the lights.
You can see in the image above that the figures are simple blobs applied quickly. I tried to capture furtive movement and study sketches of people in the wild really helps here. My goal is to use as few marks, as little information as is possible to convey the figure.
In this final image there are several small tweeks evident. The foreground track highlights were painted over to offer a plainer lead-in. The red light to the right was knocked back to leave only one key red. I softened the join between figures and horizon. Plenty to improve but getting there.
I hope the painting's new owner likes it.
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