Barflies watercolour painting

Picking up where I left off last week – here’s the ‘work in progress’ painting that I’d started. The pencil lines of the initial sketch still visible through the first wash.

After the initial sketch and first wash

I procrastinated for quite a while before I did anything else with this. This was mainly because I wasn’t sure how best to tackle the rest of it!

The general rule is to work from light to dark, but I could quite see the easy way of doing this with this particular subject. After much pondering, I decided to start with the figures, and work out from there.

My thinking was that if I totally messed these up, then there’d be no point spending too much more time on the rest of it.

Here’s how it turned out after I’d spent some more time with it!


I’d fully intended to take a series of progress shots as this developed, but I’m afraid I got carried away with the process.

As I wrestled with this – wondering at times why I was finding it so challenging – I realised that this subject represents quite a rarity for me.

Whilst I’ve painted lots of interiors before, the lighting of them has usually been from daylight streaming through a window somewhere.

I think that this is the first painting that I can recall that is entirely lit by artificial light sources. I don’t think this is the only reason that I found it challenging – I’m also feeling quite ‘rusty’ – but I think it was a contributing factor.

I’m pleased that I persevered with it though. I like the atmosphere that this evokes. I also found myself romanticising much of my misspent youth (and well beyond!) during which I enjoyed far too many an hour with dear friends in various hostelries putting the world to right.

I hope that this painting captures some of the fondness that I have of those memories.

Thoughts on Barflies watercolour painting

11 thoughts on “Barflies watercolour painting”

  1. Turned out nice, John, though I understand that most of your interiors do rely on outside light streaming in and this one lacks that sort of dazzle. It works quite well, though.

    1. Hi Rob and thanks for this. You’re right that this does lack my usual contre-jour ‘dazzle’! I’m struggling with a number of things at the moment and I’m trying to branch out and not be so reliant on the bright back lighting. I’m also finding inspiration a bit thin on the ground, and lack of time seems to be an ever present issue – which brings me to the lack of replies on the blog! The website is working fine – I’m afraid the tardy replies are down to user error on my part! I still see and value every comment, but I’ve been remiss in responding to them. I shall redouble my efforts on this front, beginning with this more timely reply!

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