News hot off the watercolour press

I’m posting this out a little later than I often do on a Wednesday as I wanted to include the outcome of my latest exhibition entries to the Worthing Open 18 which were only announced today.

The results

I submitted the maximum number of works permissible, which was three and, from a cursory glance at the decisions, it looks as if the judges selected approx 160 works to show from approx 550 submissions in total. So, with anticipation suitably heightened and without any further delay, the results are: (you may have to scroll over the images to reveal the results)

Yes, folks – you read it right! My painting of a summer’s day in Dieppe has been selected! As if this wasn’t enough to celebrate, my partner also submitted two of her hand-drawn/digital prints and had one of them accepted too!  Obviously, this is great news for both of us artistically, not to mention domestically – as it means we can both attend the Private View with our heads held equally high!

Naturally, I’d have been delighted with whatever painting made the cut as I do like all three and, each of them in their own way represents a turning point or breakthrough of some sort in my painting. Here’s the blog post that I wrote  about this particular painting: Dieppe, Normandy, Watercolour

The biennal Worthing Open exhibition will be open to the public from the 3rd November 2018 to the 30th March 2019. Here’s a quick glimpse of the venue:

The private view is on Friday 2nd November and I  hope you’ll forgive me if I post a little more information up about the exhibition after that – this is, after all – quite a rare treat!

In other news…

First up, some work in progress images of a sketch with a purpose. I say sketch with a purpose as I’ve been asked to do a painting of something ‘Brightony’ for some friends that used to live here. The brief is rather broad, ‘…something from the North Laines, the seafront or the South Downs’! This view is of Brighton’s bustling North Laines (the view along Gardner Street looking towards Bond Street to be specific!). The reference photo for this was taken on Saturday when we had a glorious autumnal day of bright sunshine.

Here’s the finished/final version in isolation:

Gardner Street, Brighton

I was quite pleased with this despite it being a little clumsy in parts, to say the least! It captures some of the atmosphere and I was pleased to be able to simplify such a complex scene.

And finally…

One more painting that’s a direct result of my recent plein air painting adventure. After finishing my painting along The Mall (see last week’s post for more details on this), I turned to walk back through St James’s Park and immediately came across another painter. The light was wonderful and I took a few photos of ‘the artist at work’.

The artist at work, The Mall, London

I really enjoyed painting this and it came together really quickly. I like the sense of the diffused late afternoon light and, once again, the simplification of quite a complex scene.

Phew, feels like quite a busy post this week – many thanks and congratulations to anyone that’s managed to read through to the end of it!

Thoughts on News hot off the watercolour press

49 thoughts on “News hot off the watercolour press”

  1. Hi John i have seen more of your work and love it. I also paint on quarter sheets where there are FIGURES IN LANDSCAPE like you paint. Half sheets would have larger figures and need details which i do not do or end up with blank faces. Half sheets are great for panorama and if there are figures they would be small and not need details. WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?

    1. Hi Bala and thanks so much – I’m so pleased you like my paintings! As for my opinion on figures in paintings and sizes of paper… I think the bottom line is that I need to get better at painting figures! I want to get to the point were I can paint figures convincingly whether I’m painting them large or small! Like you, I don’t want to get bogged down in details (and I admire anyone that can paint portraits in watercolour!) but I would like to be able to tackle figures a little larger than I often do.

  2. Yes Alvaro is a great artist and good tutor. I join him often. I hope you will get a chance paint with him. You have good painting style now. Good painting

    1. Thank Bala – I’ve only heard good things from those that have attended his courses or workshops but, for the time being, I’ll have to make do with his books and videos! Thanks so much for you kind words about my painting style. It’s taken a while but I think I’m gradually, my own ‘voice’ is growing and developing! Thanks so much Bala

    1. Hi Bala – I’m very jealous of you painting with Alvaro! I can only imagine what an inspiring treat that must have been. I’m a tremendous admirer of his work and often try to incorporate lessons I’ve learned from his videos and books into my own paintings. I’ve only seen photos of Girona but it looks beautiful. Definitely on my wish list!

      1. Hi John, I am so glad you also like painting style of Alvaro. I have painted with him for about 18 years. He has taught me all I know on the tours to Europe. He is at this EPC course in Gerona every year around October. I have joined him twice there.i will continue to look out for your paintings. You have a very nice soft moody style . Good painting!

        1. Hi Bala and thanks so much for this – I can ‘see’ some of Alvaro’s approaches to painting in your work too which is great! I’d love to attend one of his courses but at the moment my circumstatnces mean that it’s not possible – one day though! In the meantime I’ll keep reading, watching and, of course, painting!

    1. Hi Bala and many thanks for saying hello (nice to meet you!) and for your kind and encouraging words. Whereabouts in NZ are you? I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the North Island and have some great friends that live there – very beautiful and great for painting I would imagine!?

  3. I love your water colours of Brighton and London; I hope your show does well. As I have not traveled to England, so I shall experience it through you paintings.

  4. It’s still hard to believe you find it difficult to be accepted in exhibitions but anyway, now it’s finally happened, a big about-bloody-time to both of you! Having said that, I might have gone for the “morning coffee” myself but à chacun son goût and who cares anyway. I am struck by the duration of this exhibition; that’s over 4 months, isn’t it? local exhibitions in these parts seem to last either a weekend or a week. Are they up for sale or just on show, as it were?
    Well done again and have a nice bask in your well deserved glory – not forgetting to paint some more pictures, of course.

    1. Hi Rob and many thanks for this. I’m hoping that this is my ‘thin end of the wedge’, ‘foot in the door’, ‘acting locally thinking globally’ break into the big time! More likely however it’ll be the carrot that keeps me applying to exhibitions next year! As for the duration of the exhibition, yes, five months is a long stretch! I’m inclined to put it down to council budgets not stretching to allow a more packed programme of exhibitions. Works are up for sale at the discretion of each artist submitting (needless to say all of mine were submitted as ‘for sale’). There’s a hefty commission though, around 40% plus VAT. It’d be a great bonus to sell, but I’ll happily settle for a bit of extra exposure. I’d still love to have a been a fly on wall on the selection day, just to hear what they said about the works and how they arrived at their decision. It’ll be interesting to see whether I’m holding my head slightly higher than usual when I do my next painting!

    1. Thanks so much Jean – I must confess that there’s mixed sense of satisfaction and relief that the persistence has finally paid off!

  5. Congratulations! All three of your submissions were worthy. Who knows what prompted them to choose the one they did. Perhaps it fits in with the rest of the show. Perhaps it is a contrast for variety. No matter. You’re in! Finally. And congrats to your partner for being an exhibitor rather than a plus one.

    Lovely venue.

    Another commission? What ever happened to that one you did of your apartment complex?

    Your artist at work is an opportunity I’m glad you took advantage of. Now did you do that from your reference photo or did you stop and do it as your last plein air of the day?

    1. Hi Mary and thanks so much for this. I’ve long since given up trying to fathom out the why’s and wherefore’s of judging panels! Perhaps worth noting though that the one the selected is one that I’ve submitted to every other open exhibition this year! The other two are more recent paintings so thought I had nothing to lose by mixing it up a bit! I suppose if there is a moral to any of this, it’s purely about persistence!
      As for the commission of the apartments, it’s firmly on a back burner. My heart just isn’t in it. I’ve got lots of reference material but I just don’t find any of it particularly exciting and I can’t in my mind’s eye visualise a finished painting and I don’t see the point in pushing myself to do something that I’m not excited by. (Mind you, I’ve yet to have this conversation with the client!)
      My artist at work painting was done from reference photos that I took on the day. I didn’t have time to set up for another painting so I just took a few snaps. What was interesting about painting this was that I approached it very similarly to the plein air paintings that I did on the day. The sketch was very basic and loose and I painted it very quickly too compared to some of my ‘indoor’ paintings and I think this brevity is something I need to try to aim for more often as I think it suits me!

  6. Well done John. Hope they sell as well ( if they’re for sale). I like the final painting, just subtle bits of colour, that are changing throughout, gives it some dynamism and lift for me. I think that is where Zbukvic succeeds in his work.

    1. Hi Graham and thanks very much for this. Obviously selling would be a great bonus but I’m not holding out that much hope. It’s always a juggling act with regards to pricing when then venue put such a whacking commission on! Hopefully it’ll be good for raising my profile a bit though (certainly shouldn’t do it any harm!) Thanks also for the comments about that final painting too – really encouraging!

      1. Hi Margaret and thanks so much for your comments! I’ll be taking my camera or phone with me to opening so will hopefully capture a few snaps for the album when I’m there which I daresay will make it onto the blog! As for my thoughts, I’ll have to wait and see. As it’s an open exhibition there’s a huge array of work, styles and approaches. From what I’ve seen of the selected works, there won’t be that many watercolours on show. I also doubt that I’ll be able to keep any thoughts I may have entirely to myself though!

  7. Well done indeed John, and your partner too! Wonderful news and well deserved. I have a feeling the tide will turn in your favour now. 😀
    These paintings do appear to have a lot more colour than ones previously posted and look great.
    Hope you enjoy a glass or more of wine to celebrate!

    1. Hi Carole and many thanks for this, much appreciated! As I selected which works to submit for this exhibition I was struck by how much colour was in these three different paintings in particular! I daresay that shades of grey will always be a big part in my paintings but there’s surely room for a balance! Good idea about the celebrations – I’ll try to remember to pick a bottle up on the way home!

  8. Well done John. Did you use the new brushes? Also well done to your partner too, what a great result. All the best, Keith.

    1. Hi Keith and nice to hear from you – the smallest of the Alvaro Castagnet mop brushes is my most used brush at the moment and I’m really beginning to get a feel for it now! I’m mainly been painting on quarter sheets of late so haven’t used the larger ones as much but there’s no doubting that they’re terrific brushes. How’s your return to the easel going!?

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