A few weeks ago I did a painting of Barmouth beach. In the accompanying post The beginning of something big? – I explained that it was my first effort after a few weeks’ holiday and that I’d enjoyed painting it. This original version was done on a quarter imperial sheet of Saunders Waterford and, since completing it, I’ve been mulling over whether this would work at a half imperial size: would the washes have even more room to ‘breath’, or is there insufficient detail and interest to really hold the eye. I was also a little reticent about painting this scene again as I so liked this first attempt.
I’d already taken quite a few liberties with the original reference image but felt quite happy that the outcome justified the means.
There were however aspects of this that I felt I could improve on, some of the modelling of the background hills for instance (and trying to avoid any cauliflowering from applying a wet wash onto already damp paper) and the buildings on the far left of the image.
I deliberated about using the original painting as a reference source whilst painting the bigger version but decided against it. I thought it may influence me too much when what I really wanted was a ‘new’ painting – one where I wasn’t trying to colour match to a previous painting.
Again, I really enjoyed tackling this subject. I think I liked the balance between the large expanses of washes where you can be pretty free and loose versus some areas of detail where a little more control and discipline is required.
I adjusted the composition slightly so that I could do a better job of indicating the buildings on the left, and I kept the colours on the beach a little more muted. I also tried to me mindful about ensuring that brushstrokes and passages of colour all helped to lead the eye towards the focal point of the main building. I was pleased that my concerns over whether the image could take being enlarged were unfounded. I know it’s hard to tell from these images when they’re shown at the same size side by side, but I do think that the image on the right works better and does manage to sustain interest (well, this viewer’s interest at least!).
Now that I’m properly into the Barmouth beach groove, I have some more photographs that feature this building, taken from a slightly different angle but still set against the backdrop of these foreboding hills that I’m keen to try to paint over the coming weeks.