In the sunshine 03

I’m working on the distant and middle ground.  The distant hills are not, in fact, that distant!  The very pale lilac I have used so far gives the impression the the hills are miles away, but they are barely one mile distant.  I’ve deepened the tone of the hills, given them more shape and introduced colour into the hillside.  Those brighter colours are working well with the turquoise vase, and the darker tones bring the hillside a little nearer.

Railing detail.

I’ve indicated the top of the railings more as a line in the wet paint than as a separate painted element, so it’s green rather than black.  That’s fine as it is present but not strident, and I am delighted that some of the random brush strokes look like leaves – serendipity again!


Making progress.

In the sunshine 02

This is such fun.  I’m enjoying this happy picture. I’ve started to give more energy and colour to the sky. Originally, I had intended only a thin wash of pale blue without any texture as there seemed to be so much else going on, but correcting the size of the heads had introduced thicker paint there, so I decided to repaint the whole sky, largely blue I agree but showing the occasional fluffy cloud perhaps.  I think this makes a better balance.

I think the tree must be a member of the larch family. Its needle-like leaves fall from the branches like lazy hands trailing in the water. I have built up the perspective there by  using different colours and tones as I passed over the area, first Ultramarine Blue, then Ultramarine Violet, then Viridian with the addition of Burnt Sienna.

I strengthened the painting without altering the tone of the distant hills, then turned my attention the the garden.  Since we are raised above it, only the tops of the trees and bushes show, so a mixture of dark and light green suffice.  I’ve gone in with strong darks behind his shoulder and legs, enjoying the contrast with his white shirt.  These darks will hide some of the metalwork he is resting against beautifully.

Canal boats 04

So the canvas is largely covered.  I have extended the blue area behind the boats.  I may have overdone it.  In fact I’m sure I have.  The light reflecting off the side of the cabin of the middle boat loses impact against the light background.  However, there is just some of the water on the right hand side to rough in now, so I can see how the painting will turn out.  I’m very pleased with the composition.  With a bit of work, this is going to turn into a good painting.  Boats are fascinating.  There are so many lines and angles.  They catch the light in so many unexpected places.

I have started to clarify the painting of the middle boat, and for some reason the reflection looks wonky!  I didn’t notice this when I was painting, so the photo has done me a service. For a start, the reflection of the prow is at the wrong angle, and where the prow becomes the side (a nebulous place!) also needs a little more definition.  Although the red of the cabin wall has been calmed down with the addition of a little Burnt Sienna, it seems to glow even more.


Canal boats 03

I roughed in the background to help the define the upper edge of the boats and to set the atmosphere.  It’s a bit dark, though the blue positively glows in contrast.  I’ll think about that while I cover the canvas.

The boats themselves are also roughly painted.  I do like to cover the whole canvas as quickly as possible especially when I haven’t toned down the white prior to drawing the image.  Toning down is not quite what I do, for I frequently paint the whole canvas bright orange, such a cheerful colour!  Well, I didn’t do it this time so need to accommodate the dominating white as I chose my tones.

This photo show you how very sketchy the painting is at this stage.  Part of this is the need to cover the canvas, but it also allows me to choose how much detail I want to add later, besides giving me confidence that the drawing is largely correct.  Sometimes I catch just the right brush stroke at this early stage, like the reflection of the side of the green boat,  and can let it be part of the final painting – one of those pieces of serendipity I mentioned when I started writing a blog.