Watercolour painting conspiracy!

Recent events seemed to be conspiring against me having much to show this week!

Between a painting that I’m waiting on permission from a copyright holder before I can share, a commission that I’m sworn to secrecy on, and spending a few days holidaying in London – I have precious little to share this week!

In one sense, that wouldn’t be the end of the world – and it would have been a small price to pay for the joy of a weekend away in London!

I can hardly begin to describe what a thrill it was to experience something beyond the 400 metre radius from our home that has, for vast majority of the past 15 months or so been my ‘bubble’.

As much as I’d love to regale you with our adventures at London Zoo, strolling along Regent’s canal, Camden, The South Bank and Borough Market – I’m also mindful of the real purpose of this blog!

It was wonderful to be able to step inside a gallery again! On this occasion, it was Tate Britain, which due in no small part to it being home to the largest collection of work by JMW Turner, is one of my favourite of London’s many galleries.

Always worth looking up! The magnificent glass dome at Tate Britain

The main attraction was to see Heather Phillipson’s immersive installation and takeover of the Duveen Galleries. Nothing to do with watercolours but a wonderful assault on the senses and just great to see our daughter transfixed by the ‘otherworldliness’ that the artist has created.

The biggest thrill for me, however, was to be able to sneak off and have a look at some Turners!

Because the gallery – like everywhere else – is limiting the numbers it allows in at any one time, I actually had entire rooms of Turners all to myself!

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites, oil paintings rather than watercolours, and often studies rather that finished works, but all stunning!

So with most of my time eaten up, and unable to share the other paintings that I’ve been working on lately, I thought that perhaps I could fit in a quick study for what I think will be my next half sheet painting.

The view is of a scene in Barcelona taken on our holiday there some years ago. It’s an image that I’ve long had in mind to paint, but have just needed to wait until the mood was right!

Taxi, Barcelona – watercolour sketch

This study was done on the back of one of my failed paintings. I did do some very loose, indicative pencil outlines, just to get things placed in the roughly the right areas and make sure that the perspectives weren’t too far off.

As long as I try not to compare myself to the genius of Turner, there are parts of this I’m quite pleased with. The handling of the buildings on the left hand side I think is pretty successful. The foreground figures and shadows are, however, a little overworked and heavy handed but hopefully I’ll be able to do a better job on these next time!

Having had a little play with this study, I’m really looking forward to working on a larger version.

Thoughts on Watercolour painting conspiracy!

5 thoughts on “Watercolour painting conspiracy!”

  1. John, I think your “ Taxi, Barcelona “ is wonderful —- those foreground figures and shadows included !! 👍🏼😉👏🏼 Thank you for sharing your passion and all your masterful creative forays with us !! 🤗

    1. Oh Maureen – thanks so much for such wonderfully kind and generous comments! I know that my blog is a bit of a labour of love – and sometimes it’s more labour than love! – so to get such positive comments means so much to me – thank you!

  2. I went to bed last night worried about your well-being; what a relief to see your blog pop up this morning – even if it is a bit thin on its normal substance. Glad you made it to a gallery and saw some paintings (as well as “a wonderful assault on the senses” which is fine but would be better housed in a theme park in my aged opinion). A nice sketch of B’lona and very much “one of yours”. My only criticism is that it doesn’t, for me, conjure one city more than another – cf your London view done with Castagnet. (God! I’m a bit crotchety this morning; your blog really needs to catch me at a more mellow time of the evening!) Glad you managed to get away from it all for a brief time; you seem to have had a pretty busy time during the last year or so. How about a nice little holiday?

    1. I’m so sorry to have caused you any worry Rob! I’d written the post but, in the midst of a frantic day, totally forgot to post it! I was rather hoping that no-one would notice but perhaps I should have known better. Hope you’re feeling less crotchety by the time you read this! I was going to take issue with you about the Barcelona scene not saying Barcelona any more than any other city (I was going to go with the colour of the buildings, the distinctive black and yellow taxi, the smell of tapas, the background chatter in Spanish etc) but in the end, I’ve decided to agree with you. To mitigate this in the future, I think I’m just going to be more ambiguous with my titles! I’d far rather people identify with my paintings as being reminiscent of something they’ve experienceg somewhere – rather than making it overly specific to a particular city – that after all is only my association with it. Do you think this could work? As for a holiday. Yes, I’d like one of those very much please! Work dictates that, aside from the odd day here or there, I can’t take any substantial time off until the middle of August, so I’m just going to have to hang on until then!

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

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