A secret santa watercolour

As the title may suggest, I can’t give too much away in this week’s post – at least not until sometime after Christmas day!

The subject is the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence. I usually work from my own photographs but on this occasion, I’ve had to resort to finding one online. It is, however, a photo of a place that I have visited on a number of occasions, which is my vague and rather feeble attempt at making a personal connection with the scene!

The most important thing in my mind is that it should resonate with its intended recipient, who I can only hope isn’t reading this blog!

Here’s photo that I took shortly after I’d started painting and had mapped out the key areas.

Early days…

And here’s how it looked not that long after when I’d finished it!

Galleria degli Uffizi Florence (Crop 1 full image)

When I say ‘finished’ – I mean it’s where I decided to stop. It’s not what I’d call the finished article. I like some elements of this, for instance the sense of light, the recession towards the archway and the simple treatment to the foreground on right. I feel however that the left hand side building, especially in the foreground, feels unresolved and that I could perhaps do with some more figures in the left hand foreground.

I decided then to have a little look at a different crop:

Galleria degli Uffizi Florence (crop 2)

I’ll be painting this again, hopefully keeping some of the better elements and improving on the others! My plan at the moment is to go for the full image and, if I’m unable to resolve some of the foreground areas, I’ll look at cropping in again. Fingers crossed I get something that I’m happy with in time for Santa to deliver it!

This will be my last post until Christmas day. I should point out that posting on Christmas day isn’t one of my traditions, but posting on a Wednesday is, plus it will be my last post of 2019! Now I don’t expect anyone to read my Christmas day post, and that’s absolutely fine as hopefully everyone will be having too fine a time, but a routine is routine!

It only leaves me then to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. However you choose to spend it, and with whomever you choose to spend it, I hope it’s a time for joy, relaxation and reflection on all that we have to be thankful for!

Merry Christmas and all best wishes for the festive season.

Thoughts on A secret santa watercolour

17 thoughts on “A secret santa watercolour”

  1. Thank you Carole Rogers for agreeing with me when I say I’d like to see Moore color in John’s paintings! In his Holiday selections I was happy to see that when copying yet another painter, he (YOU, John!) have actually used color and quite a bit of it successfully! Such a pleasant switch from all the doom and gloom! I think I also suggested just playing with COLOR blobs, no subject matter, and seeing what FUN you have watching just the watercolor blobs merge and change! Not only is this FUN to do, but it opens up your mind to the real beauty of the medium! To me, the less control I try to impose on this gorgeous medium, the more exciting the results!
    I too am on Face Book but rarely post. I came to computers late in life and have never managed them well. Then too, I am bored with most of the trivia so many people like wasting my time with! Feel free to post to me and become a ‘friend’ owever that’s done! I’d love to see your work and visa versa! MARGERY GRIFFITH……and John, maybe FB will be a way I can prove to you that I CAN paint? Someone tell me how to find either of you? OR, just use my email address:margery.griffith@gmail.com

    1. Thanks Margery – and a merry Christmas to you. I’m not a big fan of Facebook for lots of reasons but I will look you up over the next week or two. I may not engage much on that platform but it would be nice to see your paintings! All best wishes for the new year Margery.

  2. Pingback: A merry watercolour Christmas to all!

  3. I’ve walked down that way. Not sure if I took a photo, though.

    If you need any other references photos of Florence, I have some.

    I must say I like both versions. Unusual as there are no plants or water elements. Just hard scape and people.

    1. Hi Mary and thanks for this, if this painting of Florence doesn’t work out I may well have to take you up on your kind offer of reference photos!

      You’re right about this landscaping though, it’s quite harsh in many ways! I’m not sure if this makes it any easier or more difficult to paint though!

      Hope you have a great Christmas Mary, and thanks so much for your ongoing support and encouragement, it means a lot!

  4. La Galleria degli Uffizi is an incredible place, I see in this painting some sort of solemn light, it’s beautiful. I like more the orizontal crop. Thanks John! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    P.S.: In the last post of my blog you will se a painting where I tryed your dry-brush technique on rough paper for some grass, the painting is awful, but I learned something, I’ll try again and again.

    1. Hi Luca and thanks so much for this, so pleased you like the quality of light in this one! I think I’m with you on the crop so will be working to this again next time. I’ll try to catch up on your latest post later on, but I’m afraid trying again and again and again is sometimes all we can do!! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Luca (perhaps with some painting!?)

  5. It’s not going to be very secret, is it, with your distinctive style? How many people in your family paint watercolours like that? Anyway, I’ll be looking out for your post on Christmas Day. Have a good one and thanks for livening up my last 50 or so Wednesdays!

    1. Aw thanks Rob. I really appreciate this and, by return I really appreciate the many insightful, funny, encouraging and often quite rude comments that you’ve made over the past year – they’ve helped to liven up my Wednesdays too! Hopefully I’ll be in celebratory mood on Christmas day, it will mark my hat-trick of posting weekly, every week of the year, for three years (the year before that I only managed 47 or 48 posts in the year because I used to allow myself holidays!) Merry Christmas Rob

  6. Oh, this painting makes me want to get on a plane to Florence, just for a cup of coffee! You’ve captured the mood so well. I especially like the warm light hitting the otherwise darker areas. Merry Christmas to you too and a Happy New Year. — Laureen

    1. Oh thanks so much for this Laureen – what a wonderful reaction! I hadn’t really thought about it until you mentioned it but now I really want to hop on a flight too! Hope you have a great festive season and New Year, all best wishes, John

  7. Hi John,
    I do much prefer the 1st version before the crop, again because it has more light in it. It’s a good composition and I do like your figures. I’m sorry to say that I rather take after Marjorie (I think it is) and would like to see more colour in your paintings. I’d love to see you just have a ‘play’ with colour one day and see what you come up with.
    I too have painted a secret Santa painting for a family member and love the anticipation of their reaction! I can’t put it on my FB art page as she’s not meant to see it yet either!
    Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas, and a creative and exciting New Year.
    Warm wishes,

    Ps I Will sneak a look on Christmas Day!😱

    1. Hi Carole and thanks for this, I think I agree with you about choice of crop – if only I can resolve the foreground a little more to my satisfaction!
      Absolutely no need to apologise for wishing to see more colour in my paintings – it is after all a deeply personal pursuit! I suppose it’s just not where I am at the moment or what attracts me to the work of other artists especially – but I certainly won’t rule it out sometime in the future!
      I hope that your secret santa painting remains secret and that the recipient is suitably bowled over by it. All best wishes for a wonderful Christmas Carole (and I promise to be brief on Christmas day!)

  8. I’m impressed with your ability to seek the perfect painting, and doing them over again to create the best possible result. After finishing a painting I just feel done with the whole scenery, and want to go ahead with something new right away. Anyway, merry christmas! 🙂

    1. Hi Kim and thanks so much for this! I fear it’s probably just an indication of my obsessive nature! That and my inability to do something I’m happy with first time round. Merry Christmas Kim!

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