A confection of motifs, some of which I have painted before, to try and evoke long languid days on the Leeds Liverpool Canal , or any other canal come to that. With a barely perceptible flow, canals create, in me, a calmness that befits a hot summer’s day.
I started with reds greens and yellows; colours of the summer, washing them across the sheet and then added vignettes of animal and human activity – or lack of it – in an effort to fill the space.
I have a couple of demonstrations to do next week and I like to have a practice to ensure I can do them in under the two hour time slot that they tend to give you, as when I do them originally I never watch the clock.
For the first one I was asked to do this family of swans that I saw when I was out painting along the canal bank one morning. The lady who engaged me had seen the first painting in an exhibition and like the way I had done the water. I posted the first painting on this blog a while back.
On this one the background ripples seemed a bit bent and the swans had an improbably large family so I had another try.
On this one I think I got the ripples right but I did like the tone of the near water on the first one and now the cygnets are barely discernable. Anyway, now I can see the problems and can draw out something that might work on the day and I now know I can complete in under the two hours. So on to the second demo…
Whilst visiting my daughter we were walking along the river Chelmer – near Chelmsford in Essex – on a bright autumn day. I saw a swan bathed in sunlight and was hoping for it to open its wings as it preened itself. Unfortunately it was disturbed by a couple of fishermen, so for this painting I had to make something up, but I managed to capture the lighting effects against the darkness of the background which had first caught my eye.
One morning, a couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the canal edge painting when this entourage drifted by. They came up from behind me and I had to drop the painting, brushes and palette and scramble around in my bag for the camera, all without upsetting the group. I crept along the bank taking a number of shots from which
I compiled this painting.
I think that these are Bewick’s swans that I photographed at a local bird sanctuary. In hindsight I should have done this in a landscape format, but I wanted to really focus on the birds and then one thing led to another and I included extra birds and well… here we are.