I apologise in advance for the brevity of some sections of this post and promise to explain at a later date! Right now however, I have to rush a little to get this written and posted!
Saturday saw the February meeting of the Brighton Painting Group. The venue was the seafront on Hove lawns – absolutely perfect for me in many ways as it’s less than 10 minutes walk for where I live. A complete nightmare in other ways because I find it such a difficult vista for inspiration. On this occasion, this was compounded by flat grey light. With not a shadow to be seen, I was struggling for inspiration from the get go!
In the end, I decided to paint the cafe on the seafront. I was attracted to this because of the contrast between the roof of the cafe and its shape set against the darker buildings in the background. I also thought that the cafe would have a steady stream of people popping up to it so I’d get some figures in there too, and thought that I might be able to make something of the pop of red awnings.
Here’s how my effort was looked as it neared completion:
There’s no doubting that I found the location and weather a real challenge, but I was pleased that I persevered and ended up with a painting, even though it’s not what I might call one of my most successful!
Painting still in progress!
Last week I shared this painting and my dilemma about how best to treat the final piece of this painting, a large tree in the foreground.
I received some really kind and helpful suggestions which I greatly appreciated. I realised that it might also have been helpful had I shared my reference photo, so you may be able to get a better sense of the challenge I’m trying to rise to!
And for ease of comparison, here are the two side by side:
It’s a long time since I shared a reference photo with my work as increasingly, I found that the reference photos became a distraction. The automatic tendency is to compare the painting with the source image, rather than see the painting in it’s own right and merits. The source photos are usually a starting point for me and I’m not one that seeks any form of photorealism. I’m sharing on this occasion so that you can see the composition and the look and textures of the tree that I’m trying to tackle.
I had hoped to share with you the finished painting this week but I’m afraid time has run away with me a little. Instead, in the hope it might whet the appetite for next week (when I’m sure to have finished it!) here’s a few quick studies that I’ve done to help me decide what might be the best approach for me to take.
Studies one and two – for these, my intention was to freely splash some paint on using a mop brush with a view to adding additional textures and branches when they were dry. From the moment I did these, I didn’t think that this was an approach that wanted to pursue for this particular endeavour!
Study 3 – was done mainly with a flat brush using very light dry brush strokes to build up the mass of the trees. I varied the color as I went, finally adding in the branches. At the very end, I did apply a little water spray to the perimeter of the outer branches to to soften them a little.
Study 4 – was done by first applying a very pale wash to define the mass of the trees, on top of which I then applied the dry brush strokes before finishing with the more substantial branches.
Of these different approaches, I’m inclined to follow ‘study 3’ as I think it best captures the feeling of the trees that are in the photograph. As ever, I’d welcome anyone thoughts on this before I commit to it! (And many thanks for all the thoughts and advice and suggestions so far – it’s been really helpful!)