Barcelona alleyway watercolour

After finding last week’s Bartender subject matter in my Barcelona library, I continued to look for any other previously overlooked gems. The one that stood out for me on this occasion did so for two reasons. First, I really liked the quite graphic composition of it, formed by lots of uprights and strong light and shadows.

Barcelona alleyway

Second was how much it reminded of the painting I did some time ago based on the photograph by Fan-ho. I think is was the way the light was falling and almost trapping the lone figure.

Watercolour painting based on a black and white photograph by Fan Ho titled 'Mystic Alley' by artist John Haywood
Watercolour painting based on a black and white photograph by Fan Ho titled ‘Mystic Alley’

I think that the Fan Ho painting is much more successful, and I recall that I enjoyed painting it much more than this Barcelona alleyway scene – which I always think speaks volumes.

The Fan Ho painting was trying to portray a much softer diffused light that plays much more successfully to the inherent qualities of watercolour. The light in this Bareclona painting is really strong, creating much harsher shadows.

It’s not totally without it’s moments – but it’s a painting that, to depict the harsh definite shadows, and lots of long straight edges, I couldn’t help but tighten up!

Not sure what will come next, but I’d ideally like it to be something a little looser and more expressive!

In the meantime, here’s a random selection of some other Barcelona inspired paintings:

Thoughts on Barcelona alleyway watercolour

2 thoughts on “Barcelona alleyway watercolour”

  1. I reckon you’re lacking a bit of pollution in your new painting (atmospheric = pollution = brown paint) and also Fan Ho likes to grab your attention low his low viewpoint: his photo/your painting are seen from the gutter but your new one is clearly shot from a drone. I think that’s what makes the difference. I reckon he used a twin-lens reflex (Rolleiflex or the like) which allows you to put the camera on the floor and compose the photo looking down at the ground-glass finder. Most of his drama seems to come from that and the early morning smog.

    1. Haha, until reading your comments, I never really noticed my elevated viewpoint! This is odd, not least because I don’t have a drone, and am not in the habit of carrying ladders with me (or even stilts!) when I go on holiday! No idea where that viewpoint came from – I’m pretty certain that I was on the same level as the lone person in this painting! Ah well, back to the Fan Ho drawing board, maybe I’ll have better luck next time!

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

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