A new watercolour and a new video

This week saw me tackle another interior. The venue is the The Set Restaurant at The Artists Residence hotel in Brighton, which some may remember from another recent interior painting:

The Set, Restaurant at the Artists Residence Hotel

I don’t visit often but it’s a nice treat to go there every now and then as a family for breakfast. The occasion this time was a belated Father’s Day breakfast. The food was fabulous and I also couldn’t resist getting a few more photographs! What I liked about this view was the light and the mirror on the wall.

The Set, Restaurant at the Artists Residence Hotel

I built this painting up with a series of washes which rather frustrated me. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with building up a painting like this, unless of course that’s not what you’re trying to do! I was actually hoping to paint this a little more directly and I fear that, the gradual building up of the washes took away the liveliness of any brushwork! It’s not without points of interest, but it’s also not quite what I was striving for!

After looking at this for a while, I felt that the bottom third of the painting, especially on the left hand side, was a little lacking in terms of suggestion.

Feeling that I had nothing to lose, I went back into this with some very thick dark paint and put in a few dry brushtrokes to suggest the legs of tables and chairs etc. I also strengthened up the contrast in the distant figures by the window to improve the sense of light falling onto the table.

This was all done with the kind of fluency and energy that I think was lacking in the painting thus far and I think these additions helped to lift it a little.

Finally – a new video

Well, after much gnashing of teeth, I’m pleased to be able to report that I have finally finished the short video that I’ve been working on in the background recently. This latest foray into video follows on from my first effort in which I introduced my Binning Monro Palette from John Hurtley’s Little Brass Box Company.

This sequel introduces my favourite palette for sketching, the Frazer Price Palette Box. Ever since I first wrote about this back in 2016, it’s been one of the most visited posts on this site so I thought that a little video of it would be a helpful addition. The other reason was that it felt like a safe subject for me to practice my filming and editing skills! Still a long way to go but I think this is a much more interesting and visually varied video to watch than the first one I did. I expect that this video will mainly be viewed on the original Frazer Price post but I’d obviously welcome any thoughts or opinions on it here too!

It’s exciting to think that I’ll soon be sat somewhere in Southern France with this palette and my little sketching kit (hopefully within arms reach of a fresh baguette, some cheese, and maybe a cold beer!) Roll on the summer holidays!

Thoughts on A new watercolour and a new video

13 thoughts on “A new watercolour and a new video”

  1. Reblogged this on NathansPaintingHacks and commented:
    I am currently doing an online drawing course on a website called outschool.com. I’ll do another post once I’ve completed the next assignment for it, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share this post with you.

    I think the end results of the paintings are really cool, and also the Palette Box looks very clever and compact – which is also cool!

    1. hi Nathan and thanks for this! So pleased you like the painting and the palette box and really appreciate you sharing this post on your fabulous blog! Happy painting Nathan!

  2. Your cafe is a very tricky subject: very atmospheric but an atmosphere teetering between the contemporary intentionally minimalist look and the unintentionally bare look of a 1950s pub with no style at all, a few blokes sitting around in silence with a blue haze of fag smoke and the odd flat cap, reeking of years of spilled beer and smoke – (fag = cigarette). They were grey times and I just think your painting needs something to help the viewer – a bit of warmth, a bit of detail – to tip it into the modern day. I see the central wall is red brick, the mirror has a gilt studded frame, the chairs are reddish tubular steel (Google images); anything there you would want to use? Probably not, but I hope you see what I mean. Of course, you could argue that you are merely reflecting the current state of the world!

    1. Hi Rob and you’re quite right! It’s fair to admit that this painting didn’t reach the dizzy heights of brilliance that I’d hoped for (so often the case I find!). While I’m never seeking for a photographic likeness, I was hoping to evoke a sense of a room suffused with light. This turned out far too dingy. As for my figures – I’m having a mini crisis with them at the moment, which means rather than having a room bustling with people, I’ve got a slightly more bleak and funerial feeling! I like the idea that I could merely be channeling my views on current affairs, but I fear that would smack of terrible post-rationalisation. I’m coming round to the idea that ‘my painting’ needs a holiday as much as I do!

      1. I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick here, John. I only say these things because I like the sound of my own voice and I certainly don’t expect you to pay too much attention. Your paintings wouldn’t be “you” if they were bright and cheerful and full of detailed smiling faces – and feet. That’s not how you want them to look and lots of people like them for that very reason. Even my wife prefers them to mine – almost bought one!! – so I should stick to my guns if I were you. Maybe I should start blogging and let you snipe at me!

        1. Thanks for this Rob and apologies for not replying sooner. Really, I don’t consider any of your comments as ‘snipes’ – you’re a great painter too and, although we’re different in style and approach, I really respect your comments and observations. So please don’t stop for fear of upsetting or offending etc, it’s great to hear your views and opinions!

  3. Margery Griffith

    Good job, John! So happy you gave those nice folks a place to sit though! Now that we’ve seen your lovely palette I hope you have happy sketching in S. France and USE all those lovely BRIGHT COLORS! Look forward to the results! I just bought a lovely new palette here in the US. It’s got deep wells, 21 of them, 3 different sizes, and 6 removable mixing areas plus the lid and a tray inside that! So often there aren’t enough areas for mixing. I’m dragged down doing a portrait and am making myself wait til it’s finished before I decide which paint colors will go where! Have a great trip, when do you go and for how long?

    1. Hi Margery and thanks for this and congratulations on your new palette – I don’t know what I’d do with space for 21 colours!! I’m not off for another 12 days or so and sadly, it’ll only be for a fortnight – but it’ll feel a lot longer (I hope!) I thought of you today as I popped an email off to Nancy Hillis!

    1. I love how your comments always make me re-read my entire blog post to figure out what on earth your comment may be referring to, before sending me scurrying off to google to seek answers there!

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