I think this is as far as I go to rescue this painting!

The buildings have more windows and balconies,  more definition generally, though how much to put in is one of those imponderables that can only be resolved by practice.  Looking at it, I think the details further back are too strong.  Since the foreground figures are also stronger , they are not overcome by looming architecture.  The highlights on the heads and shoulders, added with gouache, also bring them forward.

This enterprise has been enjoyable in a frustrating sort of way.  The sheer size of the paper  was a new experience, and following Hazel, thus understanding how to work on a larger stage, has been very rewarding.  The sequence she chose to follow this time  differed from that used in her videos, again useful.  The colours she delights in  are a joy to the eye.

As a teacher, it has been salutary to be a student again!



Verona continued.

Hazel had specified many “lifting” colours in her palette for this painting which is proving to be more than helpful.  If you re-wet the offending areas, and pat with a clean rag, most of the colour will go.  Then you can re-paint with a clear conscience!

I’ve tidied up the Blue side of the street where the brush had been too enthusiastic, removing much of the central figures that were so unconvincing (not yet reinstated), the figures on the right (wrongly placed), and the car (now more recognisable).  The tall gent has a good pair of shoulders on him now while the three figures to the right of his girl friend have heads correctly placed.

Once I paint the central figures with some  confidence, I will feel more content – well, content enough to “dress” the buildings.  The street looks empty without more windows with their attendant  balconies and flowers.  Those blue doorways need variation, and the distant buildings just a little more definition.


A street in Verona

Hazel Soan’s workshop last Saturday took this photo as the source of her painting.  As you can see, it’s a busy street in Verona, lots of people, lots of architecture, lots of back lighting!

The size of her  painting was about 11 x 17 inches, probably necessary for a meaningful demonstration of technique.  The format of the course was the standard one – a period of demonstration, during which Hazel painted, explained what  she was doing, and more important, why, followed by a short question time; this alternating pattern was repeated over the three hour session.  The option for the students was either to paint along with Hazel, or to try to catch up during the question time.  Neither are entirely successful.  If you paint along you miss half the instruction, and the question sessions were not long enough to catch up!  I don’t know the answer to this one.

First the drawing.  Hazel found the centre of her (rough watercolour) paper and the centre of her image.  Starting from there, she expanded her drawing, only putting those lines necessary to guide the brush.  The figures were placed but not fully drawn.  As Hazel said, if you were doing this outside, the people wouldn’t wait for you!    It would be different people by the time you got to paint!

After masking out the high lights on head and shoulders, Hazel wet the area of the buildings and floated in their basic colourings, dropping in the darker windows, eaves, balconies etc while the paint was wet so that the edges blurred slightly.  If an area dried out too much to allow this to happen, she left it to dry completely, then re-wet it to finish the job.  These passages took about a hour.

Next she tackled the people, either singly if alone, or as a group, persons and cast shadows together.  All are back lit, so each silhouette was created in mid-tone ultramarine then “dressed”.  Aim at approximation and don’t fiddle!

A final passage over the street surface and the addition of any final details  that the PAINTING told you were useful completed the workshop.

It was very instructive to work with Hazel on a large painting in real time, something DVDs can’t do, the rhythm of thought and execution so affirming,  so encouraging, so positive.

Here is my (unfinished) painting.


Splodge complete?

I think I’ve finished.  I’ll need to leave it visible for a week or two, but there will not be any major changes.

The water has “worked”.  I’m surprised as still water reflections are smooth and this technique is made of discrete parts.  I’ll admit the sky reflected in the water is laid on, more like water lilies.  Within the  limits of this painting, that is acceptable.

Attempting this technique has increased my respect for this artist and my enjoyment of the painting itself.  To see a scene in such clear, shaped colours, while retaining the atmosphere of the sunny, carefree day, is no mean achievement.  Nor is the painter a “one trick pony”, as we own another, also created with a palette knife, of flowers.  It couldn’t be more different.

I love them both.