Well it’s changed from autumn to winter in the last few weeks. I’ve been doing a commercial job so not as much painting as I would like. Three studio paintings got done though which is not too bad. I am still not convinced I am hitting the balance between finish and expressiveness in these paintings. I’ll get there I’m sure but it is being more tricky than I would like. I don’t want my studio paintings to just be pretend indoor plein airs, I want an additional formal element, but this inevitably means a trade off in freshness and immediacy. The plein air work has been going better though I am getting them slightly more economical which speeds them up, which is a definite bonus when it’s been as cold as it has. The other step forward has been to get set up for framing hopefully I will be able to try my luck with the various open exhibitions, it would be nice to sell a few pictures to pay for all the paint! I have been using Michael Hardings oils which I have to say are splendid, with wonderful strong hues and beautiful handling. I have fair few tubes of Rowney and W&N but the Hardings is much superior. Some of the pictures are clicky to show a larger image.
Michael Richardson of the Wapping Group has instigated a winter painting group provisionally called the “Brass Monkeys” and this outing certainly
lived up to it’s name. The wind was very cold so I painted this quick as I could! I was dissatisfied with it once done but seeing it next day I couldn’t
see what I was worried about. It goes to show you can never really judge a painting right after you have finished. Also pictures change when away from
their subject, usually for the better. I sometimes think painters could do with some “sports psychology” or some such to control the supply of confidence!
After the chill wind of the riverside this was more comfortable, but a lot to get down in a short while. I made it busier than it really was and narrowed
the whole building to improve the composition. I don’t often rejig reality in on the spot sketches but this needed a little help.
I have been wanting to paint the Rangers House up on Blackheath for a while, so when I took some pictures when up there with my good friend Anna
as she exercised her dogs, I thought it was time to attempt it. The light was good with the sun slanting across the front of the building, and with a bit of
jiggery pokery in Photoshop I got a composition that looked hopeful. It’s a bigger canvas than I usually paint and I might crop it down as I think there
is a better picture in there somewhere with a bit of a trim. This sort of thing is best done after a deal of consideration, mind you, as there is no gluing
bits back on. I think on the whole the building is too dominant and the picture has become more about walking the dogs than architecture and there
is no point in fighting it. It goes to show how strong figures can be in a composition… use with care!
This is a preliminary sketch for a painting I have been considering for a while. The morning light on the platform is often very beautiful and I
like the figures of the people engrossed with their early morning thoughts. I have quite a few photos that are good now but I’ll likely do another
sketch or two before I settle on a final composition. This one is a little boring so I will move the view point to take in more of the station building.
Though the train pulling in is fine but I think it is too dominant, so I might have the platform empty and the passengers in a suspended moment.
This is a studio version of a plein air I did a few weeks ago, I am still struggling slightly with the balance of finish and free brushwork.
Winter has arrived early, I have never before seen snow in London as early in the year as this. Some wonderful colours with some of the autumn hues
still remaining, the snow seems to reflect light back into the trees and amplify the colour. I was getting pretty chilly after an hour on this but as the snow
unites and simplifies the scene it makes a far easier subject.
I went into Lewisham to warm up and have a hearty (and unhealthy) breakfast. Afterwards I painted the street market which had less than half
its usual traders due to the inclement weather. Normally I wouldn’t be able to set up and paint here as it would be too busy and I’d get moved on,
but it was so quiet it was no problem. I forced myself to be very systematic on this as it was so cold. I took a little longer than I normally would to
get the drawing tight, then used as fewer hues and tones as possible putting in every occurrence of a particular tone before moving on to the next.
I added the two men on the left at home in the warm!
Next day I was lured into the park across the road from me again. All sorts of subjects presented themselves that would not have made a painting
in better weather. This is a very nondescript little corner transformed by the snow. A very easy subject so I got it done in under an hour.
After popping back home for a warm up I went out again to paint this wee 7in by 5in which was lovely to paint with wonderful bright reds from the
branches of the trees. Tit white, Alizarin, Ultramarine, Yellow Ochre, and Sap Green were the only colours needed.