Gates of Chester – first stage

Mixed media is not something I have been successful with – it feels vaguely like cheating!   – one should be able to achieve the desired effect in the medium of choice.  However, I did overcome many of my personal prejudices when painting for my book, “The Bridges of Dee” so it’s about time I dealt with this one.

The first necessity was to change the way I viewed painting in this way.  It’s not a cheat, it’s using things to express a different interpretation not in competition with a single medium but beside it.  It’s using the strengths and delights of all to show a new way of looking.  In truth, I’m only half  convinced,  but enough to give it a go.

The Wolf Gate
The Wolf Gate

I chose one of the City Gates of Chester.  The Walls enclose the entire old city, based on the original walls of the Roman Fort, though most of what you now see is medieval.  The Gates through the Walls have all been re-built or created since then except of this one and maybe the Kaleyard Gate, the most famous being the Eastgate with its ornate Victorian Clock.

The Wolf Gate
Detail – wax crayon

Dipping my toe gently into this new pool, I chose to work first with wax crayon emphasising some of the stones of the arch and the wrought iron gate. the brighter reds and yellow are to the right hand side while the purples and blues predominate in the increasing shadow on the left.  It’s all a bit tentative, but I’ll be able to do more on top of the watercolour wash.

The Wolf Gate
Wax crayon and prepared tissue paper

Near the bottom of the paper (Bockingford) I have stuck down crinkled tissue paper to create the bed of pansies.  I have used this on a whole painting before and do like the textured finish it achieves.  Integrating it as part of a painting will be interesting as the “join” has to be managed.  I’m sure I will need to do more in wax, but I am getting nervous of all that white paper.  Usually, the paper/canvas has an initial wash of colour within the first half hour.