I wanted to try out some textures on this one with the sky, sea, rocks and pebbles all requiring different approaches. I would like to have added further detail and texture, such as building up the seaweed and pebbles, but was aware that I was getting too fussy. It was a good exercise and like so many paintings, you get to the end and realise that there were slicker and better ways of achieving your aims. So perhaps another go later.
I was thinking about entering the marine artists exhibition in London. I had a couple of suitable paintings but wanted something a little different so that I could judge what it is that they are looking for a bit better and worked up this idea. Now that it’s complete I’m a little underwhelmed by it. I have got tighter than I would have liked. I’ll prop it against the wall and have a look at it over the next week or so and make my mind up. I have used motifs that I have used as subjects before, in case you are wondering whether you’ve already seen it.
I was taken by the image of the three sunlit boats against the shade of the harbour wall, but despite mixing colours on the paper the harbour wall has come out rather dead and there is a lot of it. Well, I thought that it was a good idea at the time.
I had a number of photos of boats in the small harbour at La Val Andre in Brittany and wondered how they would look in an elongated format. I was taken by the two red boats (off different photos) against the grey green of the water.
I was caught by the orange hull against the blue of the water. I thought by bluing out the background it might further highten the effect of the light on the central boat. The painting is actually bluer than this image suggests. I also like the shot of red on the adjacent boat which brings in some dissonance to the basic complementary pairing and as such I haven’t echoed it anywhere else.
The area here, to the north of Southport, is very flat and subjects can be hard to come by. Even so I went out on my bike one morning and did some on site painting and took a number of photos. This painting was from one of the photos. I need to get a collection of local paintings together for a couple of up-coming exhibitions, so all other projects have been put on hold.
Last September I went out painting on one of the few bright evenings we had in late summer/autumn. I sat myself down near some old farm buildings surrounded by trees and started to draw and then paint. I hadn’t counted on the sun disappearing behind the trees so quickly ( very different to when I was out in June). The interesting assortment of buildings in light and shade quickly merged into a dark mass in deep shadow. So I packed up and, as the sun was still hovering over the horizon, decided to call in to the Mersey estuary where the local river, the Alt, merges into it. There are a many boats moored right along the estuary, all the way out to the Mersey. When I got there the tide was out and the sun cast everything in an orange glow. The river carves its way through the mudflats to the Mersey and the sun created intriguing patterns on the mud, reflecting off the wet mud and being absorbed by the drier areas. The scene was changing too fast to paint so I took a load of photos and painted it later on a half imperial sheet. I wasn’t happy with the result and had another go on a smaller quarter imperial sheet. I am happier with this. There isn’t much to the scene and probably too many darks, but I think I’ve got the feeling of the place as the sun disappears over the Atlantic.
As I’ve said before I love painting contra-jour – just four colours used on this one which bestows cohesion and prevents me struggling around with detail that inevitably kills the image. And with it a whiff of summer on this cold, windswept January day – well, that makes me feel just a bit better.
As promised, or threatened, in my last post I said I would present another scene of the Leeds Liverpool Canal from where I was painting the other weekend. After the boats on the left and right had departed another boat came in under the bridge and I reached for my camera. It seemed like everyone was making the best of the good weather to get their narrowboat moored up for winter. I particularly liked the smoke coming from his exhaust or chimney – not sure which – which partially obscured the bridge.
With the latest spell of good weather I have been trying to get out and do some painting, although it hasn’t been too successful either in actually getting out and then choosing the time to get out. The other day I went out in the evening and found at this time of year the sun can go down very quickly changing shadows so fast it becomes almost impossible to work.
However, last weekend I was able to get out in the morning and wasn’t confronted with this problem. Instead the subjects took off. Luckily I had taken photographs and had actually drawn them in my sketchbook (see below) but first the boat on the left departed and then the boat on the right untied and came up towards me. I did complain to the man behind the wheel that he was upsetting my painting, but he didn’t put the boat back.
But it was a glorious morning and the scene was superb and even a jogger stopped by twice to see how I was getting on. The painting above was one I did from a number of photos and the painting below was my on site sketch.
As I was doing the sketch, after the boats had departed, another one came under the bridge and I was able to get a photo or two of that which will be the subject of my next painting. The morning proved very fruitful with some great scenes in the low morning sun.