Brighton Painting Group – April 2023, Blakers Park

The Brighton Painting Group’s April meet up found us in Blakers Park, in a delightful and predominantly residetnal area of Brighton called Fiveways (due to the five main arterial roads that converge in the area). I’m slightly ashamed to confess that although I’ve driven past the park on many occasions, this was my first ever time of stepping foot into the park.

It’s a relatively small park, but quite delightful too. I arrived late on the day and most people had already scouted out their location by the time I got there, which only added to my sense of urgency! I had a quick wander round, before settling on this view:

The clocktower, Blakers Park, Brighton

The clocktower is the perhaps the park’s most notable feature, so I couldn’t resist it, even though it did feel like a bit of a cop out! I liked this view because it was looking up to clocktower, which gave it a greater sense of scale. I also liked the pattern of the shadows in the foreground. Unusually for me, this was a view with the sun behind me, so while the shadows of the trees were distinct, the clocktower itself was in full light.

It was also the first time of trying out a new lightweight set up, which I might speak more of in a separate post, but here’s a glimpse of how it looked before I started to splash some paint on. The other notable thing was that I was painting on a half imperial sheet, which is much larger that what I usually paint on. I had a half sheet and quarter sheet already taped up on this board and obviously had a bit of a devil-may-care about me as I’ve shied away from this scale in the past.

All set up and ready to paint!

I was pleased that I managed to see this view with the sun on it because it didn’t last for very long! Once it clouded over a little, the light became very flat so I did need to rely on my memory (and a couple of the photos that I’d taken) to remind me of what it was about the view that had drawn me to it in the first place!

Here’s how it looked as the session drew to a close:

Where’d the sun go!?

And here’s the painting in full:

My watercolour painting of the clocktower in Blakers Park, Brighton

I enjoyed painting this. I particularly liked working at this scale, which felt great. I liked the treatment of the clock tower too, which I thought captured the feel of it without getting too fussy on any details.

After that, however, I felt things went a little downhill! I think the trees in the background are too crude, and I don’t think the greens in the foreground have the vibrancy or the drama of what attracted me in the first place. I think this was partly due to the light going and trying to paint slightly from memory, but it lacks the dynamism that I was striving for.

It was still great to be painting on location again and, as ever, I feel I learn so much on these occasions – especially being forced into making decisions about what to leave out and what to include in order to capture the scene.

I also enjoyed the many conversations that I had with people too, of which there were many as I as set up right next to the little cafe that serves the park (and I can highly recommend their flat white coffee!).

News in from Bologna!

I had totally forgotten about the Fabriano Acquarello exhibition in Bologna until I suddenly received a couple of messages, one from a follower of this blog and another from someone that follows me on Instagram. Both were writing to say that they’d been to the exhibition and had seen my painting. One of the was even kind enough to have take a photograph of it in situ:

Me, or rather my painting, in Bologna.

It’s such a treat to think of my work being seen in Bologna by an audience that is largely comprised of watercolour artists and enthusisasts. I’d love to visit in person one day, partly because I’m sure I’d love the exhibition, but even moreso because I’m sure I’d love Bologna!

Thoughts on Brighton Painting Group – April 2023, Blakers Park

2 thoughts on “Brighton Painting Group – April 2023, Blakers Park”

  1. Très belle aquarelle, avec une mise en page originale. Une très grande importance accordée aux ombres des branches (la moitié de la feuille !), et puis ces lignes obliques qui attirent le regard sur la tour de l’horloge. Les arbres du fond sont juste suggérés et cela suffit, à mon regard. C’est très bien ainsi. Peut-être effectivement, quelques taches jaunes cadmium par exemple, dans les herbes du premier plan aurait apporté un peu plus de dynamisme à la lumière, quelque-chose de plus dramatique !
    Bravo John

  2. Congrats again on your painting in the exhibition.

    I’ve been to Bologna, but only for a day. During that day I took a food tour that lasted the entire day and it was fabulous. We went to a factory where they make DOP Parmesan-reggiano cheese, then a farm where they make DOP balsamic vinegar, a shop where they make prosciutto (a fascinating process), all with free samples and bargain purchases and lastly to a restaurant for a 7 course tasting meal that was beyond delicious. I really didn’t see much of the city at all but I would go back again just for that food tour.

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

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