It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas…

After last week’s rather tight (and in retrospect, mildy frustrating efforts) I felt the need to purposefully seek out something a little more free, loose and liberating. And also to try to refocus on what I most love about the medium. I think my last few paintings have been trying to control and often fight with the medium, rather than work with and nurture the wonderful qualities of watercolour.

Whilst I’ve been enjoying working from my own photos, I was drawn back to the work of my favourite artists for help and inspiration. I’ve also been struck by a certain festive feeling – I think it’s the bright, cold and crisp mornings of late that are responsible for this – so I was particularly keen to seek out a suitably festive image, which is how I arrived at an Edward Wesson winter scene.

First Festive Effort (After Edward Wesson)
I really enjoyed being able to sketch this out and paint it so quickly – it felt so joyful! In retrospect, the sketching may have been done a little too quickly as I couldn’t help thinking how impossibly steep the dominant hill was! As I’d had so much fun, I thought I’d do another one:

Second Festive Effort (after Edward Wesson)
I think both have their merits: I prefer the sky in the first one, however the second one probably edges it for me. What I like most in both versions is the main bank of trees, however they’re still a long way off the seemingly effortless panache of Edward Wesson.

In terms of an exercise, it did feel a bit like going back to basics, but it also felt like a very necessary exercise too. It was important to remind myself of how brilliant watercolour is, and how all the more brilliant it is the less you muck about with it!

Thankfully, that Lisbon tram already seems like it was long long time ago. All I need to do now is make sure that I carry this approach and attitude into my next painting!

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