More watercolour news, less watercolour painting!

Some posts feel like they’re chock-full of watercolour painting with some other bits of news chucked in, and some feel like they’re all news with only a little bit of painting, perhaps just for some colour!

This week’s post feels a bit more like the latter! As I’m much more interested in watercolour painting than I am the other stuff, that’s where I’m going to start.

Back in the summer we holidayed in France and I had a wonderful time and, by my standards, had a very productive time in my sketchbook.

I’d been meaning to return to some of these for a while now and this week the urge became too strong to resist. Here’s the sketch (the top one) of a street corner in the beautiful French town of Brantome that I was particularly keen to revisit:

From the ‘France 2018’ sketchbook

And here’s what I did with it!

Street corner in Brantome, Dordogne, France

Although I enjoyed painting this I already feel that I can do this scene more justice. Here’s what I’d like to achieve with my next effort:

  • more warmth! The original sketch feels much warmer in every respect – the second one has much more blue in it, particularly on the road areas.
  • a different viewpoint. The viewpoint of the original sketch, more of a ‘worm’s eye’ view, is much more interesting and I think creates a more dynamic perspective.
  • the placement of the figures – I think I could improve the composition with some more thoughtful placement of the figures.

Worthing Open 18

The Worthing Open 18 has its private view on Friday which I’m much looking forward to attending and seeing my Dieppe painting in situ.

A watercolour painting by John Haywood
Lunchtime on a summers’ day In the square of the Church St Remy, Dieppe

I checked back in their website to see if there was any more information about the exhibition but only found this press release that does contain some information that I wasn’t previously aware of, so thought I’d share it with you:

“Worthing Museum & Art Gallery has today announced that they have received a record-breaking amount of entries from artists across Sussex as part of their popular Open 18 exhibition.

The bi-annual exhibition invites amateur and professional artists from Sussex to submit their work to the museum, for the chance for their artwork to be displayed in their distinguished gallery space. This year they received 563 individual submissions, 41% more entries than their previous record-breaking Open16 exhibition.

The successfully chosen work was narrowed down to 148 pieces, which were carefully selected by three local judges. These were Alex Michon, Director of Transition Gallery and former costume designer for The Clash, Gary Goodman, Artist and Art and Design tutor at Northbrook MET, and Carole Whitcombe, Executive Assistant to Adur & Worthing Council’s Chief Executive.

Emma Walder, WMA Art Curator, says “This year we received an almost overwhelming number of entries. Selection day was even more challenging than it has been previously because we can only select around 150 pieces in total.  The panel were focused throughout the day and discussed every piece considering a wide range of criteria. At the end of day it really depends on the dynamic of the panel and it really doesn’t mean that the un-selected pieces have any less merit.

Everyone should come along and see the exhibition because it reflects what local artists, local communities and professional artists are creating at the moment. There’s always such variety in Open exhibitions and this is no exception with many landscapes, portraits, abstracts and variety of media as well. Lots of these items will be available to purchase, so people have the opportunity to take their favourite pieces away with them at the end of the exhibition.”

The Open 18 exhibition will be displayed in the Main Gallery from 3rd November to 30th March. For more information and to find out the chosen artists, visit

I’ll take my camera along to the Private View and will see if I can capture anything worthy of sharing next week!

The Anonymous HeART Project

I mentioned some time ago that I’d been invited to submit some A5 pieces to Heart Research UK’s ‘anonymous heART’ fundraising initiative. Well, as chance would have it, the online auction also begins on Friday November 2nd. I know! What are the odds!? Nothing all year then two significant watercolour events in my calendar on the same day!

The Anonymous HeART project flyer

You can sign up to receive an Anonymous heART project alert to remind you to check out the eBay the auction when it goes live. I’ve signed up to this and am really keen to see how this all works and, in particular, to see the huge variety of works that I expect will be on display. I’m really looking forward to seeing whether my submissions stand out as being ‘obviously mine’ – and I daresay I’ll be spending quite a bit of time trying to work out who else may have submitted what from the list of the great and the good!

Hopefully, once this is all out the way, I’ll be able to return to focusing more on painting and less on other fripperies in future posts!

Thoughts on More watercolour news, less watercolour painting!

11 thoughts on “More watercolour news, less watercolour painting!”

  1. I really like both versions, but only you know what you were feeling at the time. From my perspective as a photographer, many times the first viewpoint can be the best. I must admit I liked the warm feeling from the colors of your sketch.

    Sometimes when I am out hiking or whatever looking for photos to shoot, I will see a scene for just a moment from one particular angle, and I keep moving for a few moments. Then my mind says, “hey there’s a photo there, go find it.” So I will try to backpedal my steps until I get back to that first viewpoint. Sometimes there is a photo there, and sometimes not.

    Anyway, I so enjoy your posts, not just for your great work, but because you offer so much insight into your thoughts and process. Thanks so much for your posts. I love them.

    1. Hi Tim and thanks so much – I was thinking how similar your description sounded, of retracing your steps and looking for the image, then I realised why! It’s exactly what happened in this instance. My circumstances mean that I’m usually working from photographs so my while I’m always trying to imagine the composition for a painting, I’m usually trying to do so through a camera’s viewfinder. I’m also usually with my family when photographing so rarely have long. In this instance, I’d ‘spotted’ this scene and it co-incided with sitting on a wall for a bit to get our bearings. This gave me time to rattle off a whole series of photos. I like to think that I’m a better painter than I am a photographer because having identified a scene I usually take lots and lots of photos from slightly varying angles in the hope that, by the law of averages, one of them will be okay. The difficulty I have later on is choosing which one or two to base my painting on.

      Anyway, even writing this I’ve been reminiscing about that particular day, so thanks very much for the memory and, as ever, for your support and encouragement, it’s much appreciated!

  2. It’s interesting how much more “involving” the lower viewpoint is when comparing the two versions of your painting. Perhaps it’s to do with the fact that we see so many tourist photos taken from standing head level and there’s a certain distance inherent in being a tourist. Perhaps it’s related to the fact that sitting down implies being part of a place. Or is it a child’s view and therefore reaches something even deeper inside… Well, that’s enough vague nonsense for one post; they are both very nice paintings but I marginally prefer the first.

    1. Hi Rob and many thanks for this – I like all of your analyisis of the lower perspective very much! That particular viewpoint originally came from the road that I was standing on to view the street corner dropping away quite steeply so I was able to get both the eye level view and also the looking up view in my reference photos. I like that your interpretations carry much more psychological depth than my ‘well I just think it looks better’! Many thanks Rob

  3. Love your work! Very impressive! and Very Talented! I love to see what you are going to “show” us next. Your before, during and after photos keep it real for inspiring artists. Thank You for sharing! Enjoy your inspiring day.

    1. Thanks so much Diann – I really appreciate your comments and constructive feedback, it means a lot (I also really enjoy seeing the images of your environment too – so different to anything I’ve experienced and really inspiring scenery!) Thanks Diann!

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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