Another Saturday another model. This was an exceedingly difficult pose, not for me but for the model. She stood for over 2 hours without support. She did very well.
I felt this worked a bit better than last week. I find the standing model generally uninteresting, but the lighting helped, with natural lighting coming from her right, giving some nice highlights, despite the overhead lighting which they insist on keeping on. I tried to do most of the work with a flat brush but then picked up a couple of rounds which resulted in a loss of consistency. Under pressure to complete, I lose my purpose sometimes.
I have had a few weeks off life drawing for family reasons and went back this Saturday. I envisioned a strong tonal painting but instead it took control of me and turned out a bit insipid and tame. Well there’s always next week.
A friend of mine, a very good watercolourist, gave me a couple of sheets of watercolour paper he uses. It is quite rough, but also the texture of the paper is quite flaky and loose, you can see discrete particles which make up the paper. I’ve had it for a while and thought that I would give it a go with this sketch.
The painting is of the Corsican coast. I only used two colours: Windsor blue and cadmium red. The surface of the paper isn’t as tough as my usual Arch paper, so when I started to scratch back to regain some white, the paper seemed to ball and I had to carefully remove the balled fibres with the tip of my scalpel.
Also marks appeared. You can see a dark blob to the left of the sailing boat. Also there are lines in the far hillside on the left and they also appear on the right.
I cant understand anyone using this kind of paper. If you put a lot of effort into a work – which I didn’t here – you don’t want imperfections showing up. It would be embarrassing to sell this work particularly if dark stains start appearing.
The only thing I was impressed with was the lack of cockling when I applied my initial washes. Normally I stretch my paper, but this time I just laid it on the board and sloshed on the water. It stayed flat.
I was down near St Ives in Cambridgeshire the other day and was walking along the river in the late afternoon sunshine. I saw these two guys fishing and they seemed to be almost part of the landscape. The close range of colours gave a very calming effect adding to the deep concentration in their task. They were a subject waiting to be painted.
On a bright day at the end of the summer we took a walk along Formby Beach. The sand dunes are gradually being devoured by the sea, but even so the beach seems to go on forever. This was a view as we made our way back to the car.
I love the rivulets crossing the beach. In low light they sparkle whilst the sand around them darkens in the shadow, giving interesting patterns away into the distance.
Well, it’s a bit of a cheat, but I have just been adjusting this painting. I painted this a few years ago. It was a big piece so I decided to cut it up. I sold one slice a couple of years ago – a bit like pizza. The other week I sold another two. So I was going through my work and looked at it again with the intention of glazing it as I had glazed the two I had just sold and they looked so much better. I felt the original was a bit unbalanced, so I added some more colours in the top left and middle. It looks more coherent now and when the paint dries I’ll get the dammar varnish out again.
I sat by the Leeds Liverpool Canal one sunny morning the other week and painted the canal by the swing bridge. The on site sketch is below. I thought that the second painting might be better as a wide format image.
On the morning when I came to leave, a narrowboat was coming up to open the bridge. With the wide format I thought that something on the left hand side might balance up the painting a bit more, so I included this boat
in the painting. It now seems to have taken over as the subject of the painting.
I just wanted a tonal painting of the model, finding the light on his hands very interesting. Then I got distracted and started to add colour in line with the scarf he was holding to support his hands. Once I did that I applied the colour to his gold chain. I managed to halt the slide down the slippery slope, stop and get some fixative on it before any more damage could be done.