Following on from my Calais Tracks painting, I decided to have a go at something more complex. The scene I chose is very busy but offered scope for some strong graphic elements. The source inspiration was a few pics of mine and one I found online, all with dull daylight skies. From the start I had an image of a dramatic sky and kept this throughout the process.
Stage one was to draw the skeleton, then add the tracks with masking fluid. These were put down in single confident strokes to give a flow to the line.
The next stage involved a thin grey underpainting of abstract cloud. Over this (once dry) came several washes with a bias towards a warm red. Whilst still wet, I lifted a few rays, but not so many as to make it cartoonish. Happy with the sky, I laid down the thin graphic lines of steelwork and cabling, using the reference images as pointers but making up most of it. A railway engineer wouldn't recognise any specific part but it sort of works. Lots of dry brush for this and the track area below. Then came the thicker, wetter paint for the dark areas. This is where I bacame aware that I was painting on the back of another painting, and the paper even dry, wouldn't become flat. Anyhow, cheapskate or not, I was really enjoying this piece and getting quite excited with the verticals and horizontals. As always, I used a pointy synthetic brush, never smaller than a 12.
When this lot dried, I removed the masking fluid and softened some edges. This compostition, unlike the Calais tracks, has a number of red lights, and fewer figures. The effect is quite dramatic. I also added some shadows to the tracks and the posts.
The finished item presents a striking scene and enough unsaid for the viewer to make up their own story.
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