I have been reorganising my flat to take account of my ever increasing painting storage problems, in the process my painting studio has everything in it that was in the bedroom, and the rest of the place is covered in tools and bits of MDF. As a result I have nowhere to oil paint that won’t threaten the soft furnishings… I have tried to get out and paint after finishing working but it’s hard when you are tired so I have just painted in the streets around where I live. The weather has of course decided to be especially beautiful just when I can’t get out and paint much!
In clearing rooms I went through the ritual looking at old paintings of course, I was struck by how very bad we are at judging the quality of our own work. Some things that I remember feeling very pleased with looked distinctly lackluster when looked at a decade later, whilst others that had been almost discarded at the time of painting looked fine. I suppose it is the emotional baggage that builds up when you create something, you have this glowing vision of what you are about to achieve and if in a good mood your brain makes it look that way even though in realty it doesn’t. Obversely when looked at pessimistically a perfectly good daub might look terrible and be binned with much cursing. I try and use the usual ploys, catching a glimpse of your work in the mirror works quite well and shows up obvious drawing blunders but after a while your cunning subconscious updates that perception too.
First up is a watercolour done before DIY destroyed my life. It was done from a photo taken early in the morning in Child Okeford in Dorset. The path
to the top of Hambledon hill an ancient hill fort. People have been walking this track for thousands of years. I laid the shadows in over the whole picture
in various shades of blue then washed the brighter greens over the top so that the shadow greens were made by mixing the two layers. I wanted to get
the feeling of the early morning light streaming over the fields as that was my main memory of the moment. Arches quarter sheet.
After zooming out to get timber in the rain, I came back to be greeted by wonderful light in the street outside my house. Unable to resist I rushed in and
grabbed my gear. With only a short way to go I used an 18in by 14in canvas. I had to work very fast so I simplified the tonal values as much as I could,
blocking in areas broadly and then refining with as few a strokes as possible. None the less I ran out of time but had more than enough done to catch
the feel of the light. One of the discomforts was that in order to get the nice reflection in the puddle I had to stand next to another flood and so got
soaked every time a car went by. It only took half an hour indoors to finish it off adding the figure and car lampposts and other bric a brac.
When going to water my allotment which is suffering from the drought I took my paints along. I spent a peaceful hour painting this with nary a soul
passing by. Rather foolishly I had forgotten to put my brushes in as they were drying in the kitchen. But at the bottom of my bag was a battered hog
flat which I use for scrubbing out watercolour washes, so that is what I used… I didn’t to be honest find it much of a hinderance, which in turn made
me wonder why I spend all that money on expensive brushes of every shape known to man… 10 in by 8in
Another local scene, the light has been just beautiful and this was a joy to paint. I cunningly parked my car out from the curb so I could get the view
I wanted without being run over! Around 10in by 7.5in
Another unremittingly lovely day. I could not resist this old Citroen van, one of the easiest vehicles to draw known to man. I considered making it a
more contrasting colour but decided against, which now I see it a few days later was a good call. I am certainly getting plenty of practice in painting
parked cars. This is around 10in by 7.5in.
Sometimes I haven’t got out until late, the light was almost gone and I could hardly see what I was doing so a bit rough around the edges. The colours
are boosted by the warm hue of the street lights which I find rather appealing, though mixing them was bit hit and miss.
On my previous late night expedition I had noticed this scene and also a sign post that had a light that was perfect to paint by being not too warm.
As the light had completely gone I had a reasonable amount of time to finish this. Also nocturnes are quite easy subjects as most of the detail is lost
in the gloom. Both the last two are very hard to scan as the darks loose richness and subtlety with reflections from the fresh paint. 10in by 7.5in.
I hope to be back doing a few larger paintings as soon as my studio isn’t full of beds and wardrobes.