Open road, France, watercolour

A few week’s ago I based one of my paintings on a watercolour by Ian Potts entitled The Road to Choupeau. It seemed more than a coincidence then when I recently came cross a similar view and couldn’t resist trying to ‘make it my own.’

Here’s a series of work in progress shots, followed by the finished painting:

At this point I took a bit of a break. There was a lot I liked about it, but also something that niggled me a little bit that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. After I while, I decided to glaze a cobalt blue wash over the road and over the left hand field. This made me feel a bit better about it – sufficiently so to call it a day and resist any further meddling!

Open road, France, a watercolour painting by artist John Haywood
Open road, France

I was quite pleased with how this turned out and think it has some quite nice qualities to it. I particularly like the contrast between the smooth graduated wash of the sky and the choppiness and texture of the trees that look quite graphic. There are also quite a few things about it that I would have liked to have done differently, so I haven’t ruled out another attempt at this.

For the time being, however, this painting does evoke quite vividly many a holiday spent in France, and reminds me that I really do need to get a move on with booking this summer’s camping excursion!

Thoughts on Open road, France, watercolour

6 thoughts on “Open road, France, watercolour”

  1. I can see why you’re pleased with this painting. I can feel the heat coming off the road. It’s a little more orderley than Potts in terms of every line heading straight for the vanishing point and all the tree-trunks being very uniform but, then again, you are John Hayward not Ian Potts and you had a different set of trees to deal with! Good work. (By the way, been trying to mix the range of greens that he uses and it’s quite an interesting exercise. They’re bluer than yours but quite tricky to get precisely right.)

    1. Hi Rob and thanks for this. I think the rather obvious composition of this painting is one of its weaker points! I still haven’t let this stop me drawing out a smaller version of the same view! (I’m aware that I’ve got a little exhibition coming up soon and, without totting up what I’ve got, I think I could do with some smaller quarter sheet paintings!). You’re right too on the greens! I think my other Potts like effort was much closer to his greens, this one, perhaps due to the reference photo, was much darker. My plan on my next smaller one is to retain a little more colour. In terms of matching the colours, I’m not sure what Potts used, but I think that the closest I’ve got so far was using transparent yellow with ultramarine and /or cobalt!) – I hope you’ll let me know if you find a good recipe!?

  2. Margery Griffith

    Nice as usual! In the same day’s emails, I got my American Watercolor Weekly, a free ‘e newsletter’ (look foor it by tat name). Basically, a ‘teaser’ for Pleinair Magazine. Featured in this week’s e letter is an article, ‘Painting Without Purpose’. This article is about artist and teacher, Mike Bailey, who has been teaching for 20 yrs in California. He has his students paint large 22X30 ” water still life peces a boreing 20 times! after about week 6 or 7 the students suddenly ‘POP’! They have begun to forget nitty gritty details and suddenly see other ways to paint the same bloody subject and begin to develop their own last! Be it painting more abstractly, using mor line, or exaggrated color, they suddenly FIND their individual approach!
    I usually do more than one painting of a subjeect but intend to try this using 1/4 sheets to start, though I can see the value in the full sheet too. I think this sounds like a real breakthrough concept to solve a problem I now face! Idea of using a still lif is that it remaiins the same rain or sine, hhot and cold. Article didn’t way if each student had to stay in same position or could move around, but NOT move anything within the still life.
    Tomorrow’s the first day of Spring here…HA! Just another chilly, grey day with some rain due. UGH!
    Eough already!

    1. Hi Margery and many thanks for this. I also get American Watercolour Weekly and have just read the article you mentioned. I think it sounds like a great idea! I’ve done maybe 3 or 4 versions of the same painting but it’s normally been born out of frustration with each version, rather than as a means of experimenting and seeing how approaches develop over time. With the countdown on to my exhibition in May, I’ve got too much on at the moment to be able to take something like this on but I’d certainly like to try it at some point. Do let me know how you get on if you decide to do it! Thanks Margery, all the best, John

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