Saturday, 30 June 2012

Pier pressure

No moody monochromes this time ... just lovely rich Daler Rowney tube colour! This is based on a photo I took on our recent trip to Weymouth in Dorset on the Southwest coast. The long stone pier used by local fishermen,  that makes it way out almost to the middle of the bay, the blustery coastal sky and the distant shoreline studded with steep chalk cliffs, all help to make this a pleasing composition.
Happy painting.

Weymouth Bay, watercolour and fineliner pen on Saunders Waterford 140lb Rough, 10x11", 25x28cm

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Black as thunder (updated)

The weather here in the UK is still too poor to do much plein air work, and so I have been playing with big brushes and trying to loosen up a little with lots of rich tube colour. I tend to use pan colours mainly and so it's really freeing (and great fun too) to just slosh pigment around as though it's going out of fashion! I thought it would be nice to get the feeling of the brooding skies that we have been having a lot of here lately. This one is the best of a few of the 'moody monochromes' that I painted using only Winsor and Newton Lamp Black, a lovely warm inky black.

*** Updated ***
The original photo was a little blurred so I have retaken this using a better camera :)

'Home just in time', Monochrome watercolour on Cotman 200lb, 9x12"

Monday, 18 June 2012

Oil and water

We  took the train down to Weymouth in Dorset on the South Coast last week. I didn't get enough time to sketch while we were there, but I did manage to get a few reference photos of the area including some of the picturesque working fishing harbour, the impressive breakwaters that help to form one of the largest man-made harbours in the world, the ancient and modern wartime defences and some lovely views of the nearby Isle of Portland.

Portland is a rocky promontory that is accessible only by a causeway from the mainland. The island houses a small population, located in a handful of villages that are scattered around the undulating terrain. It is also home to three lighthouses, including the famous Portland Bill lighthouse, Pulpit Rock, a precarious looking rock formation on the southern tip of the island that is continually being beaten by the crashing waves of the English Channel far below (and with a view that is not for the fainthearted). Portland also houses a prison, which makes it a kind of British Alcatraz I guess!

Much of Portland has been quarried for its white-grey limestone, the stone being used to build many famous buildings including St Paul's Cathedral and Buckingham Palace in London and the UN headquarters in New York! This first painting is a small pochade of the view from Weymouth looking west to the dark forbidding silhouette of the Isle of Portland, painted in water mixable oils.

Portland, oil on canvas board,  6in x 8in
  I have always struggled with acrylics, never knowing whether to use them as watercolours or as a thick paste for oil techniques. For this second pochade, painted from imagination and visual memory, I treated them purely like oil paints. I even used the same brushes as I did for the first painting, after they had been thoroughly cleaned of course! I even added some water mixable oil by mistake for the distant coastline but then decided to scrape this area out and replace it with acrylic paint of a similar colour and a little white to suggest the chalk cliffs. I'll remember to put my oil tubes away to avoid any confusion next time!

Dorset chalk coastline, acrylic on canvas board,  6in x 8in

Happy painting!