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August 2015

Place Deffuas, St Junien, France


St Junien, France. 15" x 11".

The Place Deffuas in the town of St Junien central France.  Lots of dark shadows and bright sunlight in this one.  The left hand building worked well I think, painted very loosely with a medium mop brush and leaving the windows as bare white paper - helps having rough surface paper.  the foreground shadows went in last with the two left figures.  Composition is helped with the repeating patterns of the angular shadow lines.


Duras, France, and a bit of painting dark first then light


Duras, France, 15" x 11".

The Place du 11 Novembre, a small square in the market town of Duras, France.  Most of the time with watercolour you paint from light areas first then lay over darker tones.  With some bright objects in deep shade I normally paint around them (e.g. the cafe sign and the van on the right) with the dark shadows, then when that's dry I paint those brighter objects with the appropriate colour (with a bit of bleeding if the shadows are still a bit damp). 


Window Shutters St Tropez, France


St Tropez, France, 15" x 11"

So the challenge I set myself was how many windows and shutters I could paint in before I either got bored or gave up.  I think the danger with putting too much architectural detail in or making things look too tidy is that you verge on an illustration - not really what I aim for in watercolour.  My reference photo was taken on an overcast day so I invented some shadows coming down from the Gendarmerie building on the right.  Hopefully it works.


Trim Bridge Bath, looking up towards Queen Street


Bath, England, 15" x 11".

A view up Trim Bridge, through St Johns Gate and Queen Street beyond in Bath.  The familiar stone work colour here is done mainly with yellow ochre and cobalt blue to darken it up.  Also, as the paint was drying, I still add in a bot more colour so as not to make it too uniform.  The very dark areas were done with a bit of neutral tint with ultramarine blue.  All four figures were carefully painted around and they were the last stage - with the two left figures allowing their legs to blend in with the still damp foreground shadows.


Bath Abbey corner 2


Bath, England, 15" x 11".

The very back of the Abbey (on the right) and a view probably very rarely undertaken by anyone else!  There's some shops to the left and possibly residential houses in the background.  Lots of yellow ochre was the underlining tone to this painting, with some burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.  I think one of the figures would have been better being light against a dark background.


Green Street, Bursa, Turkey


Bursa, Turkey, 22" x 15".

Yesil Caddesi Bursa, or 'green street' in English, high up on the southern slopes rising above downtown Bursa.  It certainly is green and very peaceful away from the hustle and bustle of Turkey's fourth largest metropolis, and the area is better known for the location of the tomb of Sultan Mehmet the 1st and his smaller children.  I moved some of the street 'furniture' around to suit the composition, e.g. trying not to make that big lamppost dead centre.


Cadeques 13 - a quick sketch



Cadeques, Spain, 15" x 11".

A quick half hour sketch of a street looking up to one of the many hills surrounding the town.  It was based on a photo of mine taken near the bus station.  I had dismissed it for years as a painting subject and now took up the challenge to make something from it.  It was a useful exercise in perspective (getting the pedestrian crossing right) and practicing road signs and painting round wheelie bins.


St Tropez Harbour Boats 4


St Tropez, France, 22" x 15".

 A corner of the harbour where the sea wall joins a row of restaurants/cafes.  The row of boats here I painted in a very loose style but emphasized the bow shapes with the contrast of the dark wall against the lighter hulls.  In a similar way the figures were created with the darks of the shadows and a bit of 'negative' painting around their random shapes.  I think the darker cool sky worked well against the warm buildings (plenty of alizarin crimson, cadmium orange and yellow ochre in there!).

Painted on my normal Saunders Waterford Rough, 300 gms weight.


Mijas Tourist Shops, Spain


Mijas, Spain, 15" x 11".

A row of tourist shops in deep shade in the old town of Mijas.  These shops will all their products out in view under the canopies would have been a real challenge to paint in any detail.  I just put in a dark was, then while still damp, went in with even darker tones and a few dabs of bright red.  The white buildings are not actually 'white' but inherit colours from their surroundings and I kept them fairly warm with some yellow ochre and light red.



Practice painting for a recent plein air session on the River Avon


River Avon, England, 15" x 11"

A practice sketch for a plein air session with local artist friend Jem Bowden.  Jem said 'lets paint down by the river'!  Not used to painting 100% rural scenes without houses/cars, I asked for some photos of the area.  This is what I came up with.  I introduced 'fat man and his dog' into the people-less photo.  Not sure what possessed me to paint in those two stumps looking like up turned cigarette butts.