I did a version of this in pastels a while ago. I regularly go through my painting portfolios in order to cull them and spotted the first version of this and thought I could improve it in watercolour. So off I went. In the end I think it came out a tie. I love the rich energetic foreground foliage illuminated by the low sunshine against the calm river below, pausing before it goes over the weir.
Perhaps it is the trees and their branches on the right which unsettle me. The actual branches did stretch out and disappeared into the sun, but in the painting they seem ungainly and clutter the place. In contrast the group of trees on the left provide a good coda and, as such, maybe I should echo them on the right and let the eye wander down the bank of trees that line the river.
Last week I was in Durham and was able to get outside painting on a couple of warm and sunny days. However, the painting above was done at home. I had spotted the subject whilst sketching the dead tree beside the river, below – in fact this view above was behind me as I sketched, but getting the filigree foliage against a smoky forest backdrop needed a bit of thinking through, so I declined the challenge and painted this instead.
In hindsight I should have given it a go. Still, it was good to have an unexpected chance to get outside. The day before I sat and sketched the city skyline into the light.
This was again done on the banks of the River Wear with a curious bull snorting near my back from the field behind me. Fortunately the seemingly flimsy barbed wire fence did the trick and I survived to paint another day as this blog and my final sketch: looking up the hill to the other side of the river – testifies.
Despite obviously skipping their medication they are almost putting a sentence together, though the punctuation needs more work – perhaps when kindergarten resumes it will be a subject that will be covered.
As for the non-art: this is my Grande Jatte painting but without the monkeys. I loved the way the figures were lolling around by the side of the river, obviously taken by some action upstream. I added a fourth figure and have been fiddling around with the painting for a while and will probably continue to do so.
I was going to show something else I had done in pastels, but have been struggling with, probably because I am working too small. Anyway, here it is as I should show the problems as well as the other stuff.
Because of copyright I had to make alterations to the image and the painting hit the buffers. Maybe one to reprise in the future.
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.
The second day of navigating the upper reaches of the Mekong. I did these first two in the misty morning.
The afternoon sketches were much brighter when I looked at them – It seemed I was affected by the intense light.
We arrived at Luang Prabang which was once the capital of Laos. Today it is a laid back town on the confluence of two rivers mixing eastern and French styles. A welcome break after some of the frenetic cities we have visited.
Well it’s hardly floating, more flying down the fast flowing river powered by a large motor. The captain sits at the front kept company by the cook, as you can see in the first sketch.
As the scenery changed and passed out of sight so fast I decided to do small thumbnails.
However, being on the boat for six hours with nothing else to do allowed me to practise my watercolour, whilst the rest of my fellow travellers caught up with their sleep. There were some great views particularly in the later afternoon sunshine.
I did the original sitting by the river at the end of June and posted it at the beginning of July but thought that it might be worth having another go in the studio. I loved the different levels the river had created and their shadow lines and the light reflecting off the damp mud. I also scattered some animals about, all of which I had seen as I walked along the river. Having climbed over a fence to get there, solitude and calm abounded on this still summer’s morning.
This was done in my favourite three colours a warm red, yellow and blue and allowed wet colour mixing on the paper to get a myriad of subtle shades before picking out some recognisable shapes and forms.
Originally I had an image of a mountain river I took in New Hampshire one fall, but I felt the background was too dark. Recently I saw a woodland scene on the TV and it gave me an idea for a more interesting background. Both were contra jour so fitted well together and seemed to add up to more than the sum of the parts.