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May 2015

1866 Square, Chania, Crete, 2


Chania, Crete, 15" x 11".

A busy road junction in Chania with the main traffic flow going left to right and a smaller road coming towards us.  Pedestrian crossings are always a good element to have in the foreground with their parallel lines leading you into the picture.  I normally paint the 'white' bits first - just a fairly dry mix of darkish paint or whatever is in left my palette.  That's left to dry before I do the wash for the road.


Roseville Street, Dartmouth, looking towards the hills


Dartmouth, England, 15" x 11".

Roseville Street in Dartmouth, looking towards the distant hills which rise above the town.  Some things are fairly fixed in a composition - where the landscape is, where a house is and to some extent where parked cars might be.  But when it comes to figures they of course could be anywhere and I always analyse after a painting how appropriately placed my figures were.  For example, I could have put a lighter coloured figure at the end of the street, highlighted against the shadows, or maybe those two figures on the right could have been more centrally placed and their lower halves lost in the car shadows.


Faro Old Town 4 - Repeating Shadows


Faro, Portugal, 15" x 11".

Sunny streets in the old part of Faro in Portugal.  With brightly lit background buildings (muted a bit with a weak wash of yellow and cerulean blue) I had to go darker with the sky - a strong mix of cerulean blue and colbalt turquoise.  Then from a composition point of view, a foreground shadow which frames the picture and a smaller repeated shadow in the middle ground.  A couple of figures connect the foreground and background.  A blob of white gouache was the final touch to the street lamp.


heavy traffic in 1866 Square, Chania, Crete


Chania, Crete, 15" x 11".

The 1866 square in Chania, Crete, and a steady one-way flow of traffic going through this busy city.  It's also an area of transition between mainly two storey older buildings on the right running down to the sea and newer multi storey apartment blocks on the left.  Predominantly I used yellow ochre and cerulean blue for this painting.  Burnt sienna and cerulean together also makes a nice 'grey'.  From a composition point of view, having a row of cars and the light coming from one side makes it easier to connect everything.


Tavira, Portugal 15


Tavira, Portugal, 22" x 15".

The main street in Tavira heading up away from the centre of town.  Some simple shapes here in this picture.  Getting the initial drawing correct before laying down the first wash was imperative so as to get perspectives looking right - made a little more challenging with the road going up the hill.  Dry brush strokes with neutral tint give some definition to the architectural detail and lamp post on the left - like a golfer on practicing the shot, I practice those linear strokes before committing to laying them on the paper.  


Bristol Waterfront, Princes Wharf Cranes


Bristol Waterfront, England, 15" x 11".

A commission based on some previous paintings of the area.  This is the waterfront in Bristol, with the 3 old industrial cranes on the dockside and an old tug boat moored up.  The real challenge of this painting was the cranes - their structure is very complicated with lots of different shapes and angles.  So you have to make a decision, paint them in accurately after doing a precise drawing, or adopt a very lose approach and simplify the whole thing looking for shapes - almost imagine they are not 3 cranes in a row but just an abstract object that you are trying to interpret. 


Street Corner - Cala Mijas, Spain


Cala Mijas, Spain, 15" x 11".

A street corner in Cala Mijas on the Costa del Sol, Spain.  A fairly loose painting completed in maybe under an hour, with the background buildings left very simple.  I think that left hand figure might have looked better light rather than dark and could have made another little focal point.  One final technique I normally do in most painting which have buildings, is to make very dark dry brush strokes in lines to indicate architectural details, windows and general lines helping the perspective.


Corner Shops and Steps in Vilamoura Marina


Vilamoura, Portugal, 15" x 11".

A corner in the Marina in Vilamoura with steps leading up into the town.  The marina is all new build I guess in the last 30 years or so, but they still have the Portuguese feel about them with the terracotta roofs and the warm tones of the walls.  I think the perspective of the lines all leading you into the rising steps helps the composition.  Also, the painting was done mostly with a size 18 mop brush with a good point (apart from smaller details on the figures which were done with a small synthetic brush). 


Shoppers in Fore Street Exeter, Devon


Exeter, England, 22" x 15".

Fore Street in Exeter, a busy crossroads in the main shopping area of this city in Devon UK.  What attracted me to the scene were mainly two things - the angle of the light coming left to right (allowing me to introduce various figures of different sizes, and that lovely red building (this is Paternoster House, a Victorian house with a very ornate facade and a little white turret at the top) contrasting against the coolness of a winter sky and butted up against the yellow of the next door shop.


Row of shops at Cala Mijas, Spain


Cala Mijas, Spain, 15" x 11".

A row of nondescript shops with their apartments above, in the coastal town of Cala Mijas on the Costa del Sol.  It's summer and midday, so hopefully a feeling here of heat and bright sunshine.  I love painting rows of parked cars/boats, as anyone who follows this blog will know.  They have a nice pattern/rhythm across the composition and being parked together makes it easy to connect all the shapes so as not to make them too isolated.