A tonal study 2

And finish it I did.  A bit clumsy in places, but maybe I’m nit-picking!

I like the freshness of the Cobalt, a beautiful warm blue.  Dilute Burnt Sienna  on the stonework adds its mite to the glow, while the mix gives me a dark which is not too great a contrast to the other tones.  Working this size is a blessed relief as more recent attempts have been a quarter of this size.    The idea of working small was to relieve the pressure of “making a painting”.  Frankly, I can “not make a painting” on any size of paper ….. it’s a skill I have been developing lately .  So maybe I should stick  to larger sketch pads in future.

This size has allowed me to indicate some of the intricate carving so characteristic of Lisbon architecture of this period.  You have to see it to believe it.  Think of baroque decoration then add more baroque decoration on top!  Every decorative carving is itself decorated.  Even at this size, it’s not possible to show all. Tiny shadows, flecks of light, must suffice.

Erddig Gardens

For our third sketching and painting day we met at Erddig, a country house not far from Wrexham.  It was a bit chill and rainy, but there were plenty of nooks, quite spacious ones in fact, to avoid the wind and showers.  The cars, carriages, bikes, trikes, etc., I decided could wait for a brighter day when the displays would be less gloomy, so I headed for the gardens.  Plenty of greens about, but it was the interplay of structure and planting which seemed to respond best to the uncertain light.

I was happy with the sketch I did in the morning.  I had found a relatively cosy seat with places to put my paints and water and was encouraged to dive straight in without any preliminary drawing.

It’s amazing what you can do if you try!   Brick and sandstone abound here, making a pleasing combination of colours.  I remember being attracted to them years ago when I first painted in these gardens.  The simple structures of these pillars with their distinctive banding got me off to a flying start and it was just a case of working outward from that firm foundation.  Through the gate, the garden was laid in with dull greens and reds.  These receded under the force of the brighter tones before the gate,  neat box hedging topped by a bright green creeper.  A rather shaky gate completes the sketch.  Considering that I was struggling to find the courage to lift a brush two weeks ago, I feel satisfied with progress.