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May 2016

Porthleven Harbour, Cornwall, 2


Porthleven Harbour, Cornwall, 22" x 15".

The sturdy inner harbour wall in this Cornish coastal village - the Atlantic is off to the right.  I thought this made an interesting composition to paint - a number of lines leading your eye towards the background buildings, punctuated with some horizontal structures along the way.  Then a couple of figures on the left, connecting the foreground to the background.  it could quite easily have been some masts.



Sainte Foy La Grande, France, 15" x 11".

I think this is the Marie's building in central St Foy La Grande, SW France.  A complicated scene with all the parked cars and vans pointing in different directions.  I allowed the background buildings roof tops blend in a little with the sky - sometimes that technique works, sometimes it does not.  I think having a cool sky against warmer tones of a building works well, and those buildings need to be roughed up a little to make them look old, some blending in some greys and blues while the wash is still damp.


Harbour Inn, Porthleven, Cornwall 2


Porthleven, Cornwall, 22" x 15".

Another attempt at painting the Harbour Inn at a different angle and into the light.  Thankfully the right hand side of the road has a column of parked cars to balance the composition with the dominant left hand wall.  And the pub sigh silhouetted against the sky helps that further.  A few of the figures I have tried to blend into their background or shadows.  Sometimes figures can be overdone I think and need to be understated.


City Gate, Old Town, Ancona, Italy


Ancona, Italy, 15" x 11".

A city gate in the old part of Ancona, Italy.  This was a good exercise in many watercolour techniques - 1) the initial wash and leaving out part of the road surface by painting with the side of a mop brush,  2) wet in wet areas in the shadows  3) softening edges with a brush and clear water (the foreground shadow)  4) negative painting around figures and the car, and 5) using a bit of body paint for figure details and the no entry sign.


Mount Pleasant Road, Porthleven Harbour, Cornwall


Porthleven, Cornwall, 15" x 11".

Mount Pleasant Road on the west side of Porthleven Harbour, and a couple of fishing trawlers, one called affectionately 'Sheila'.  Great location here for painting - good subjects (buildings, people, vehicles, boats etc), nice light (okay not as bright as say Spain but great for the UK) and a nice pint for lunch.  Sadly this one is not a plein air, but based on one of many pics I took during a recent trip.


Allee Coreilles, Sainte Foy La Grande, France


Sainte Foy La Grande, France, 15" x 11".

The Allee Coreilles street in St Foy La Grande in South West France.  A simple view through a shaded car park to some larger buildings near the middle of town.  When shadows take up a large proportion of the surface area, they need to have differences of tones to give them a bit of interest.  So while still wet I lift out some paint, add in other colours and added a couple of figures.  Beware the gut second from left - he seems to have accidentally had a blue radiation warning sign on his chest - pure accident with the brush!


Harbour Inn, Porthleven, Cornwall


Porthleven, Cornwall, 15" x 11".

A view along the front of the Harbour Inn and harbour wall in Porthleven, Cornwall.  Quite a simple composition but attempting to connect things together like the shadow across the middle.  And I really only used 4 colours - Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and a bit of Cadmium Red for the Life Buoy.  Some people ask why do I leave the pencil lines still showing from my outline sketch.  Well I think they help with the 'loose' feeling, but I do sometimes rub them out if there's some bare paper left as a highlight.


Harbour Steps, Porthleven, Cornwall


Porthleven, Cornwall, 15" x 11".

I was aiming for a bit of golden glow on this one, so decided to do the sky in a weak yellow ochre, then with this first wash a cool blue for the far side of the harbour, then a bit warmer for the harbour itself.  The row of boats are just 'shapes' rather than individual boats and hopefully what makes then appear as such was a bit of negative painting around their tops and some long shadows.  The foreground shadows were done in one pass with a good sized mop brush well loaded.


Figures in shadows, Eymet, France


Eymet, France, 15" x 11".

Painting figures in shadows or part shade is always a bit tricky.  Do you make them darker than the shadows or lighter?  How detailed do you make them?  Are they a focal point of the painting.  Well in this one a did a bit of everything.  Also the building on the left in bright light is left a little bit understated with just a few window details.  The buildings on the right also had a bit of reflected light coming from the left, so I leave a few areas unpainted.


Fishing Boats at Low Tide, Porthleven, Cornwall


Porthleven, Cornwall, 22" x 15".

Porthleven Harbour and a couple of rows of small fishing craft almost silhouetted against the darker background of the harbour wall.  Like a row of parked cars, I find it easier to think of the shapes of the tops of the boats rather than painting in each boat separately, apart from the foreground boats that is.  The background actually had a couple of washes - the first one dried too light so I glazed over with a darker wash.  Some white gouache was used for the finishing touches like ropes and masts.

This painting has been accepted for the Bath Society of Artists Exhibition running to the 4th June.