West Street, Brighton, Watercolour

Bit strapped for painting time this week as I continue to settle into the complicated new patterns of this complicated new year. My partner and I are both trying to work full time from home whilst also trying to home school our daughter. It’s a situation we never wished to find ourselves in again after having done it during lockdown one last year, but here we are.

One of the many consequences is that finding the time for painting, writing this blog (and just about anything else you can think of too!) is even more challenging than usual.

This view is based on a photograph I took on the same Christmas shopping trip into Brighton that I captured the photo that led to this ‘Winter light‘ watercolour painting:

Winter light. St Nicholas Church, Brighton, watercolour painting by artist John Haywood
Winter light. St Nicholas Church, Brighton

Needless to say, I didn’t quite capture the same quality of winter light in this effort but I enjoyed painting it. So much of the approach that I took to painting this was similar to wat I did at my recent Alvaro Castagnet workhop – so it felt good to be reinforcing some of what I’d learnt.

The view point is looking down the main road that runs from Brighton train station right down to the seafront.

It was only after I painted it that I recalled having painted a similar view earlier last year albeit from the right hand side of the road. Here’s the painting that did last April:

Looking down Watercolour painting of the view looking down West Street from the Clocktower, Brighton, by artist John Haywood
Looking down West Street from the Clocktower, Brighton

It’s interesting that on both of these paintings, I much prefer the handling of the buildings on the left hand side, in the shadows, than the sunlit right. I do still like the energy of the earlier painting, but I think that the more recent effort is a more complete and satisfying painting.

Happy ending

Some of you may recall that some time ago, back in 2020, I did a painting of the interior of a cottage in France that we stayed in many years ago. Just to recap, the house was owned by the parents of a dear friend. When my friend saw the painting, she asked if she could buy it as a gift for her parents.

French country cottage

In one of those rare coincidences, just before christmas one of my neighbours told me she was travelling to the same town that my friend lived in to spend Christmas. I cheekily asked if she’d be willing to deliver the painting to my friends. So my painting travelled from my home, to Wales and then, on Christmas day, was distance delivered to my friends’ parents.

It was such a pleasure to receive this photo (and the accompanying text message) just as the painting had been hand delivered, on Christmas day. It’s so nice to be able to see the expressions of surprise and, I like to think, a little bit of joy too!

A socially distanced Christmas day delivery!

They absolutely love it! And they were very touched. We all shed a tear. Thank you so much, it will mean so much to them.

Accompanying text message

New Year Resolution

I mentioned last week that one of my main creative resolutions for the year ahead was to take more photos with my camera, as opposed to relying purely on my phone. One wise person commented that a good way to help this along, was to ensure that I carried the camera with me more often! I know it sounds obvious, but it’s also so true!

I was pleased over the weekend when I remembered to take my camera out with me on a quick visit to the seafront. Not that I’d expect any readers to be holding me to account on this, but I thought I’d post some proof! I took quite a few photos, of which this was favourite:

The hare and the tortoise – Brighton seafront

It’ll be a slow process but I’m hoping there’ll be some enjoyable moments along the way, and hopefully the odd decent photo too.

I know that there are likely to be a few camera experts out there so I’ll happily take any advice that anyone may have. In case it’s useful, the camera I’m using is an Olympus Pen F.

That’s my lot for this week. Fingers crossed I can squeeze a bit of painting time in before next week!

Thoughts on West Street, Brighton, Watercolour

11 thoughts on “West Street, Brighton, Watercolour”

  1. These are lovely! I love the colder tones you’ve used in your winter light painting. I think it really works!

    I hope things go well using your camera. I’m making a similar switch this year too.

    1. Hi Jo and thanks so much for this, so pleased that you like this one. Good luck with your switch to using the camera more! (I got another new camera lens for mine today, so theoretically I’m covered for all eventualities now… as long as I have the camera and all my lenses with me at all times!

  2. So glad you took your camera!😁 You have a good eye…lovely photo. I enjoyed the story about your painting and her expression is precious!
    Stay safe,

    1. Hi Carole and thanks so much for this! Love your ‘precious’ description – that’s spot on and why I was so happy to receive it! It speaks volumes and when you’re having works delivered to people, you never get to see this moment! Precious indeed! Thanks Carole

  3. Strangely enough, John, I used to have one of the original Olympus Pen-F film cameras in the 70s or 80s. It was half-frame so took 72 pictures on a roll of film. I now have a Fujifilm X100F, which is surprisingly similar to your new Pen-F – except that the lens is fixed. Enough on hardware; back to the art…
    Your painting took me back to winter twilight in Birmingham (in the 1960s). My only question is, “Where are the flocks of nattering starlings?” It’s very evocative and Alvaro seems to have done you proud. I much prefer it to the older one.
    A lovely story about your painting delivery. I can imagine what a great surprise that must have been for them.
    Finally, my commiserations for your work/education situation. Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can do to help though I personally have plenty of time on my hands while my wife works away in her “office” to keep food on the table. I’m old now, you see… Should even be getting my vaccination by mid-February if you believe what you hear. Best wishes for your endeavours, anyway.

    1. Hi Rob and thanks for all of this, I really appreciate it, especially the empathy around the work/education situation! I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a brilliant bunch of colleagues, many of whom are in a similar situation so there’s a high degree of understanding and appreciation but – there’s no getting round the facts that it’s a totally unsatisfactory situation and I’m a totally unsatisfactory teacher! Doesn’t help that the end date feels as if it’s more likely to be pushed back than brought forward. Good luck with your vaccination! (I got a letter through the other day which I thought was my call up – even though I’m way down the pecking order of priority – but it was only reminding me that, at my age, I’m entitled to a free flu jab!

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