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November 2016

October 2016

5 Parked cars, Chipping Sodbury


Chipping Sodbury, England, 15" x 11".

I have done this scene so many times before in similar ways - looking into the light, dark background buildings, a row of cars highlighted, a few figures and the road in the foreground.  So here I have decided to experiment with either new techniques or timings.  For example the roof line applied while the sky wash was still damp.  And the road allowed to form a few 'cauliflowers' - sometimes a no no in watercolour!


Iglesia de Santa María, 3 Colours, San Sebastian, Spain

Iglesia_de_Santa María_3_colours

San Sebastian, Spain, 15" x 11".

Another of my limited palette - 3 colours only - paintings.  This is the facade of Iglesia de Santa María in the old part of San Sebastian where all the Pinchos/Tapas bars are located (they are actually left and right of this scene).  I thought it made a nice composition with entrance to the church slightly off centre, the shard of light coming through the middle and then random people - some lit up and some in shade, silhouetted against the church steps.


The Thames at Old Billings Gate Market


Thames, London, 15" x 11".

I think this is my first attempt at a Thames River scene.  Not exactly a scene inspiring for me for the reason of the modern buildings in the background, but worth a shot and a good exercise again in simplification of all those architectural details.  My initial wash brought the warm reds of the building down into the river.  A bit of white gouche at the end with a small fine brush, helps with the boat details and rigging.  I probably would prefer a scene from a 150 years ago - older buildings and old Thames barges.


Practice sketch for a La Plage de la Ponche, St Tropez


St Tropez, 15" x 11".

A practice sketch for a scene I have done a couple of times before and a demo preparation.  The tones of the buildings are possible slightly more vibrant and warmer than reality, but I think it needs it and helps that Mediterranean feel.  Handy to have the dark background and then slap some light figures in front of it to captitalise on the contrasts.  Plenty of neutral tint used in the shadows to get those deep darks.



Foot bridge over the River Avon, Bradford on Avon


Bradford on Avon, England, 22" x 15".

A plein air painting on a recent outing this summer with my watercolour friends.  I had selected a painting position on this side of the river, I thought quite peaceful and out of everyone's way, but that wasn't to be.  For a starter, that shallow bit of water in front seemed to be a magnet for every dog off their lead, so they would be diving into it either encouraged or discouraged by their owners, and the path to the side was fairly busy, so passers by would be coming up and looking over your shoulder with a few positive words for me.  Ahh the challenges of Plein air!


Four boats in a row, Biarritz


Biarritz, France, 15" x 11".

Another sketch from the Port des Pecheurs in Biarritz and four boats in a row with their reflections.  The reflections and the rippling waves are the key things in this painting.  There are 3 main things in making boats look a little more realistic I think: Add a dark waterline (I use anything dark left in my palette or even use neat neutral tint), and some kind of coloured line around the top of the hull (like I used a red line on the second from left boat), and then with some white gouache add some details to the superstructure of the boat like some radar or railings or ropes. 


Shady pedestrian crossing, Biarritz


Biarritz, France, 15" x 11".

Quite a large square around the Tourist Office in Biarritz.  Quite a loose treatment of this painting - the pedestrian crossing 'roughed up', the roof tops pf the background buildings allowed to bleed into the sky and the foreground shadows with different colours dropped in while the wash was still moist.  The building on the corner is a restaurant, so I painted around the menu outside the front door.


Jacaranda Trees in blossom, Faro, Portugal


Faro, Portugal, 15" x 11"

I got a bit carried away with the main colour theme here - the purple/lavender of the flowers seemed to have spread into the neighbouring shadows.  Anyway, I am pleased with the overall effect.  I have also used some consistent brush stroke styles here in the trees and shadows to make it a bit more harmonious.  Blue skies always seem to work well butted up against warm terracotta roof tops.


The rear of Bath Abbey and a previous online demo painting


Bath Abbey, England, 15" x 11".

A demo I did online some time ago and hopefully a better reproduction here.  It was a good exercise in taking an unusual view of the Abbey and introducing some light and shade across the composition and then using some figures and cars to connect the different elements together.  Hopefully a good balance between the two figures on the left with the cars on the right.  On some compositions like this, I might actually start with the figures first and then add the background after.


The Port des Pecheurs, Biarritz


Biarritz, France, 15" x 11".

The Fisherman's Port at Biarritz.  Reached by steps down a steep slope below the main part of Biarritz, it has a lovely bit of old charm and a few restaurants of course specialising in fish dishes / mussels (and chips).  So a simple composition with the slipway on the left (it needed a figure or something at the top), the quite high harbour wall, a few small craft and the port buildngs as a background.  The Villa Goeland is the castle like building on the horizon, with the sort of architecture you would expect over looking the Rhine.