Cafe watercolour painting – rebooted!

Continuing my current theme of revisiting watercolour paintings that I’ve enjoyed painting previously, here’re two that I painted earlier this year, that I took as the basis for a new painting.

The location is a local branch of the Small Batch Coffee company here in Brighton. In the mornings, the light floods in via the two tall glass double doors. Sadly I’m usually in such a rush that it’s just a coffee to go for me and I never really get the opportunity to sit and bask!

Unlike last week’s painting, where I referred back to my original photo – this week I just used these two paintings as my basis. Working from both images, I was consciously trying to work our which elements to keep from each of them, such as the looser, sketchier feel of take 1 and the warmer colour palette of take 2 etc.

The two earlier versions were both half sheets. This new painting was done on a quarter sheet.

Two people chatting over coffee, watercolour painting by John Haywood
Morning coffee, Small Batch, Brighton: Watercolour painting by John Haywood

I can’t deny being really pleased with how this turned out. It feels much more free and expressive, lighter of touch and, dare I say, more painterly than the previous two versions.

I could tell I was pleased it because I was really eager to see what it might look like in mount!

In a mount, just for fun!

With some time still to play with, I returned to another view of Brighton Marina, similar to that which I’d painted recently but from a different perspective, and based on photo taken on a different day, again early in the morning, with a sky punctuated by jet streams.

Jet streams over Brighton Marina

While I don’t consider this to be a patch on my previous marina painting, there are parts of this that I think worked out okay. I quite like the suggestion of the cliffs on the left and parts of the sky are passable. The suggestion of light catching on the edges of the boats, just enough to give them some form is okay as long as you don’t look too closely. I’m not going to dwell on the parts that I’m less keen on, suffice to say there are quite a lot of them.

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that you can’t win them all, even if only as a reminder that you have to allow yourself to indulge in moment of celebration when you do manage to paint something you’re reasonably happy with!

Thoughts on Cafe watercolour painting – rebooted!

6 thoughts on “Cafe watercolour painting – rebooted!”

  1. I meant to say Jean Haines! I mentioned her before as a favorite of mine. She’s Welsh and adores Daniel Smith WCs!

  2. Oh what a relief it is! A line from an old American commercial, catchy but not successful if one can’t recall the product, now is it? But what a relief it is seeing BROWN instead of grey commanding your paintings! But still, overall ‘dreary. Darn! I do like the renewed harbor scene though with some nice color! You’ve corrected the walkway well, making it direct the eye around the scene, (but NOT letting it’s value steal the scene) first to the boats, then back around to the right forming a nice circle.
    I think you get the American Watercolor blog each Wednesday? One of the featured artists today talked about using Daniel. Smith’s granulating colors (mostly neutrals, a few muted colors) and I think you’d really love them as they leave a path of granulation behind in addition to the main neutral which adds a fabulous liveliness in your paintings. Some of the specific colors are named but I’d add Moonglow which leaves a hint of purple or lavender behind. A great addition to your usual grey tones! Neat brownsby Dan’s Smith are Burnt Bronzite, Durochrome Desert Brown, and Sickerite Gen. All have areal ‘sparkle’ to them, the Desert Bronze (duo chrome) is also luminescent. Daan’l Smith WC are available in England I understand (They’re a favorite of Jean Hines). Do learn to take risks even slowly if you must Nothing ventured, nothing lost!

  3. I remember those café paintings and liked both before , largely for the reasons you have mentioned . I agree that the reboot is very successful and is certainly worthy of mounting . Well done !

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