Sunday, 26 June 2011

Waiting for the Tide

Waiting for the Tide
Watercolour on Paper
55cm x 35.5cm (21.5" x 14")

I’ve been meaning to paint this collection of boats for some time. They are in the harbour at Wells-Next-The-Sea. The distinctive Granary building is directly above them.

I kept putting this picture off because of the painting of Brixham Trawlers that I included on my first post (The Natural Way To Draw).

The Brixham painting is one of my favourites. It was the first time one of my paintings exceeded my expectations.

I was reluctant to paint another harbour view in the same style because it is time consuming and I was worried I might not be able to repeat the experience.

I’m not sure this is a better painting, but it demonstrates some improvement in technique.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Saint Peter's

Saint Peter's
Watercolour on Paper
25.5cm x 35.5cm (10" x 14")

This porch was built between 1320 and 1340 and the site has been a place of worship for 1300 years.

Our great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grand parents might have prayed here (assuming an average gap between birth of parent to birth of child of 25 years and knocking off a couple of generations because we weren’t born yesterday).

I’ve been meaning to paint this view for some time because of the interesting shadows on the statue of Saint Peter.

Unfortunately, the statue hasn’t worked particularly well and there are a few other bits that didn’t come out exactly as I planned.

One thing I particularly need to think about is the composition with the large dark shadows in the middle. I’ve painted a number of pictures that have shadowy doorways towards the middle of the piece. Elaine doesn’t like them and I am beginning to see her point of view. I hope there isn’t some repressed shadowy part of my psyche trying to reveal itself.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Jack


Jack
Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")
 
Jack (aka Salty the Sea Dog) is Paul and Wendy’s dog. He earned his nickname for his antics on a number of boating holidays. On his first voyage, Paul threw a twig the size of a blade of grass over the side of the boat. Jack launched himself into the water, swam to the bank and dragged half a tree out of the undergrowth. That was a few years ago. He is older and a little bit wiser. He doesn't fall in the water so much but he is still a puppy at heart.

This is my first attempt at a portrait. It was daunting to try to produce a likeness of Jack rather than a picture of a dog. I agree with John Singer Sargent’s definition of a portrait as a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth.

I based the painting on some photos of a walk through a bluebell wood. My original intention was to include some bluebells in the picture, but as it neared completion, I decided the simple background was more effective. The texture is the result of placing cling film over the paint while it is wet and leaving it to dry.


One of the biggest challenges in the painting was Jack’s dark coat. It is notoriously difficult to paint large interesting dark areas with watercolours. In this picture, I built Jack’s coat up with multiple layers of browns and blues.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Moo

Moo
Watercolour on Paper
25.5cm x 35.5cm (10" x 14")

It is typical. You spend the whole day looking for a cow and when you give up looking, you bump into a herd of them. I met this one on a recent walk through the Cheshire countryside with David, Jane and Lydia.

This is my second painting using the style and techniques taught by Jean Haines (http://www.jeanhaines.com/). The first one was the picture of Whitby Abbey that I posted a few weeks ago.

Since then I have bought and studied Jean’s Amazing Ways with Watercolour DVD.

In some art DVDs, I have the impression the artists are trying not to give too many secrets away, but Jean is very open about her style and provides a clear explanation of the techniques she uses.

Her style provides an excellent means for learning about the mysteries of watercolour. She works with a lot of pigment and a lot of water - for the uninitiated, this can be an unpredicatable combination.

Her key message is that watercolour is controllable. I suspect she means controllable in the same way as a surfer controls the sea. It is a case of learning to work with it and anticipate its behaviour.