Watercolour painting and footballing waiting

Last week’s post, about my ‘watercolour homework’ was posted just before England kicked off in their European Cup semi-final match with Denmark. Since then, it feels like much of my time has been spent just waiting.

I did, however, manage to make some good use of the waiting. I now have four finished works that I’m pleased with that are ready to send to Heart Research UK for their annual art auction.

I also tackled this city scene, a view looking along Madrid’s Gran Via:

Gran Via, Madrid

This was a quarter sheet that felt as much about just trying to keep my brushes moving as much as anything.

Considering my rather lowly expectations, I’m quite pleased with how this turned out. I like particularly like the sense of light and depth, and the simplification of the of all the buildings and just the vague indication of some architectural details.

Alvaro Castagnet step-by-step

As I was waiting for football to come home, I was feeling decidedly distracted ahead of England’s European Cup final with Italy on Sunday evening. I felt the need for a little creative hug, so I turned to Alvaro Castagnet’s book, Painting with Passion, Beyond Technique.

Towards the end of the book, there are four step by step demonstrations. I’ve already tackled one of them, Boats of Cadaques, which was a relatively quick study to undertake. On this occassion, as I had a half imperial sheet all stretched and ready to go, I opted for something a little more involved and was rather taken by the step-by-step demonstration of ‘Circulo Militar, Buenos Aires’.

The step-by-step demonstrations
A close up of Alvaro’s finished demonstation

When I sketched out my version of this, I wasn’t striving for an exact copy in terms of the placement of every element. What I was mainly after was a framework that wasn’t slavish, but would be a good exercise for practising a range of approaches and, especially, a variety of brushstrokes.

Here’s how I got on:

‘Circulo Militar, Buenos Aires’ – after Alvaro Castagnet

Without comparing to closely this to the original, I was pretty pleased with how this turned out. I think the first wash, of the yellow ochre for the buildings and the pale road really help with the feeling of bright warm light. I also like the variety of the brushstrokes that can be seen throughout. One remark I’ve received is that the painting really ‘invites you to step into it and cross that road’ – which was lovely to hear.

I did enjoy working on this, and it did help to distract me from the nerve shredding build up to European Cup Final! Sadly, as happy I was with this painting, it was of little consolation in the aftermath of England’s loss to Italy. I’ll let you do the math, but I was born in the same year that England last won a major footballing trophy. It’s been a long old wait, and the wait goes on!

Fortunately, the wait between my watercolour paintings is never very long!

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Thoughts on Watercolour painting and footballing waiting

8 thoughts on “Watercolour painting and footballing waiting”

  1. Pretty damn’ convincing version of a Castagnet! Have they all got their hands in their pockets or is that just my brain imagining what’s not there? As for the football, I only lasted 90 minutes, I’m afraid. Now in 1966 I was a braver man/boy. I was in an isolation hospital with my brother and mother – no one else there – suffering from smallpox and with a small misbehaving B&W TV that the doctor used to sort out when he came on his daily visit. Those were the days.

    1. Aha, yes, Rob, well observed! It’s the famous Beunos Aries slouch walk. I can still vividly recall my mum’s strict instructions about taking my hands of my pockets when I’m walking ‘it makes you slouch!’ – You’re right though, It would benefit from a little more variety in this area, and I include in this some more obvious female figures!
      I’m slightly jealous that you have actual memories of the 66 match (I was only 6 months old so it rather passed me by). I do however recall many years of watching pot black with my parents on a black and white tv – trying to guess what colour the balls were by their shades of grey!

  2. By the way, the Madrid picture is excellent and rather atmospheric. However, I would counsel against setting up your easel in the middle of the road in future.

    1. Thanks so much for this and yes, I quite agree! While watercolour is what I choose to do – I enjoy so many forms of expression! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.

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