Understatement of the year

It’s been a funny old week.

Since January this year I’ve managed to put a post out every Tuesday. In that time I’ve had the odd blip of enthusiasm, confidence, material or inclination. But nothing like this. Last Thursday, the UK voted to leave the EU. I, along with many more of the other 48% that voted to remain within the EU, am still reeling with the shock, dismay and disappointment of this result. And, while life – and painting – must go on, I must confess that painting hasn’t been foremost in my mind this week. 

Fortunately I have up my sleeve a couple of efforts that I painted a fortnight ago but haven’t had the opportunity to post as yet, and now seems like perfect timing. I decided to take on a Rowland Hilder sketch of Rye Harbour. The original is a loose (by Hilder’s standards) pen and wash sketch and, while my first effort was little underwhelming:

I liked some elements in this painting, particularly the sky, but overall found it a bit bland and wishy-washy.
A second version with a much stronger harbour wall and weight to the water was much more satisfying:

Take 2 on Rowland Hilder’s Rye Harbour sketch
The more that I’ve looked at and lived with this painting, the more it’s grown on me. There’s a calm tranquility to it that I think comes partly from Hilder’s approach of ‘flat washes confidently applied’.

Aside from a few paintings, I’ve also distracted myself with a few other housekeeping chores. Regular visitors may have noticed that my site is sporting a jaunty new look. I signed up for one of WordPress’s regular courses for aspiring bloggers and it inspired me to make a few changes – most significant of which is a change of theme from ‘Blask‘ to ‘Rebalance‘. I really like the look and ‘feel’ of it, especially the way the blog posts are now displayed but it’d be great to hear what anyone else thinks about the change.

Aside from some other minor cosmetic modifications (such as a new header image at the top of each page), the only other item of note is a new ‘me versus Instagram‘ page where I compare and contrast my most liked image on Instagram with my own personal favourite. Again, I’d welcome any views this page.

I expect to add another page dedicated to the forthcoming World Watercolour month. This will kick of on the 1st of July and it’s my aim to paint a sky a day for the month. It might be the case that some of these are painted each day, or that in some cases I’ll be keeping my eyes to the sky with my camera so that I can capture images to paint later with little catch up sessions. In preparation for this, I’ve already taped up a half imperial sheet of Bockingford extra rough which I’ve then quartered. I’m quite excited and nervous at the prospect of this as I’ve never done anything like it before. Not quite sure how I’ll share it yet but will work that out as I go. I’m also looking forward to see how so many other watercolour artists and enthusiasts participate and contribute too so please do share any plans you have with me!

Purely co-incidentally, I’ll also be marking the month with my first ever watercolour course. I’ll be painting with the Edward Wesson expert and afficianado Steve Hall for a full week and I’m really excited! Again, I haven’t quite  worked out how I’ll document and share this experience, but I’ll try to make sense of this during the week.

I’d like to apologise for any lack-lustre-ness of this post but, as I say, it’s been a funny old week.





Thoughts on Understatement of the year

14 thoughts on “Understatement of the year”

  1. Hi John, Totally in agreement with your brexit views, (read my blog) on reading one of your earlier blogs I see you are not familiar with monastial blue, it’s pthalo blue.
    I have only just discovered your website and can honestly say that your standard of work and your approach to it is second to none that I have previously studied. Love it!!

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Ray – and for giving me a plug on your site, all much appreciated. I’m also hoping that your monastial/pthalo blue clarification will help too – I’m sure I’ve read that a few times but it’s never really sunk in! It could be because I only use cobalt, ultramarine and winsor blue but (and sometimes feel like even those three are too many!). Great work on your blog too – love the directness of your painting and your writing!

      1. And thanks for your comments ref my website. The ironic thing I have found out since last night is that you are indeed familiar with “Monastal blue”, it is none other than Winsor blue. Ref Rowland Hilder, notes on blues, page 120 “Starting with Watercolour” Rowland Hilder. I hope you enjoy your painting course with Steve Hall, but you could be running courses yourself!!

        1. You’re far too kind Ray – I went out painting today and had a disastrous time of it so personally, I can’t wait to get a bit of properly ‘expert’ guidance! Glad too that you got to the bottom of the Monastial, Pthalo, Winsor blue mystery. I knew I’d read about it somewhere and it’s most likely that very book as, even though it’s small, it’s packed with great tips and advice (I often carry this book if I’m travelling somewhere as it’s small and light and so easy to flick through – and I usually pick something new up each time I scan through it.)

  2. Before I go search in my Hilder books, its probably in the only book I dont have from him? ­čśë great article! love to read your lines! looking forward to your postings after the Steve Hall week!
    regards Edo
    I dont have hilder sketching Country

    1. Thanks so much Edo. I think it’s one of my favourites of his as it features more of his informal preparatory sketches that I often prefer to his ‘finished’ works so I really recommend it. As for the Steve Hall week – so excited but really need it to stop raining – it’s been relentless!

        1. Hi Edo and yes (page 54 in my edition of the book!) I know that I got my copy on eBay and there’s usually a few copies available on there although some are for crazy prices!

          1. Thanks Edo, so pleased that you like the book – definitely one of my Hilder favourites which is saying something when there are so many excellent ones to choose from!

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