A watercolour painting by John Haywood of a cafe in Paris

Nothing to lose

Only two weeks before my micro-exhibition and I’m still hoping to produce new works to show!

A few weeks ago I posted some small A5 sketches of a cafe view in Paris. I was quite pleased with these sketches and I signed off wondering whether the scene would work at a larger scale.

You can read the full post here but here’re the sketches:


Personally, I wasn’t at all convinced that I’d be able to upsize it, or that it had enough about it to work at a larger size. Someone however responded with the brilliantly simple and apposite comment:

Why not try a larger one? Nothing to lose.

So – here’s me with nothing to lose, upsizing my sketches to a quarter imperial sheet:

A watercolour painting by John Haywood of a cafe street scene in Paris
Red blankets, Paris
This worked out much better than I’d anticipated and I definitely felt the benefit of having done the preliminary sketches. It’s also gone straight into the pile of possibilities for my 2 Knoyle artists’ open house.

What I’m still deliberating on however is what I’ll paint whilst I’m there on Sunday 28th May! What I’ve proposed is that, weather permitting, I’ll splash some paint about – which I hope keeps it suitably vague and at least helps to manage my own expectations. I’ve purposefully avoided calling it a demonstration as I don’t really feel qualified to ‘demonstrate’ anything!  

I’ve been leafing through some more reference photos from my recent trip to Barcelona and have pulled out a few that I think might work and which I may try to do a first take on before trying to paint one in public.

What I’ll try to keep in mind is a lesson well learnt: that I’ve got nothing to lose – after all, it’s only some paint and paper!

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Thoughts on Nothing to lose

6 thoughts on “Nothing to lose”

  1. Red blankets looks good. Definitely for show. Now, for your demo on the 28th, take all day to do another larger size or close crop of one of the other smaller versions of that scene. 👌

  2. When I do painting demos I always have the drawing done before hand. Gives you a confidence boost, plus people want to watch you paint, not draw. Sometimes I will bring along a back up drawing just in case something goes wrong. Doing a walk through beforehand on the studio, like you said, is a good preparation not only for the painting process but for a breakdown of what you will talk about as you do the demo.

    1. Thanks for this Glenn – much appreciated! I hadn’t really thought of what I might say or try to explain while I’m painting! I’m still imagining that people will pass through rather than stop and watch for very long! I think I will have a back up scene sketched out too as I think it’s highly likely that something will go wrong! Really appreciate the tips – thanks. I’ll pop a post up about how it goes!

      1. My pleasure, I’ve been there, I look forward to hearing about how things go. Another thing about demos is I find they go easier if I treat the painting more as a sketch than a finished work. Enjoy yourself and have fun.

        1. Thanks Glenn and again, really sound advice! I think most of my ‘finished’ paintings are usually still quite sketchy so it will be an interesting experience! I’m taking comfort in the fact I haven’t committed to doing a timed 1 or 2 hour slot – more of a I’ll be painting on and off during the day so it makes it easier to paint when I feel like it and to stop and chat when I feel like it. Beginning to look forward to it now (I think!) – really appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to pass on your experience and advice – thank you 😊

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