New Paintings Still Wet
This was painted during a recent visit to the wild and unspoilt North Norfolk Coast with my friends David Bachmann, Karl Terry, Marc Dalessio, Jory Glazener, Roy Connelly, Tim King, Tony Dakin and others this piece has grown on me. It recalls the misty serenity of the day to my memory with stunning clarity. From the distant walkers on the sea wall to the random boot prints in the foreground mud each element belongs. The tonal pattern is very simple and clear and the piece tells a calm story of that short spell when the tide is about to flood once more and in a few minutes of unhesitating surge the grounded craft will float again, the birds will search the waters edge for prey and the artist will scamper through the putty with his easel to the bank! For me the acid test of plein air painting is the truthfulness, not in a topographical way but emotionally, to take one back to the place of the observation and re-create the experience and the magic of the day.
People often ask me how to put people into paintings as they are often not confident that they will not ruin a perfectly good painting! One way to avoid this is fairly simple, paint the people first and then paint the surroundings so that if the figures really are a disaster then there is not much lost. This way the figures look as if they "belong" in the painting and they avoid the "cardboard cut-out" effect that can happen if they are added later, especially if, God forbid, they are just black silhouettes! Another piece of advice I give is to start small and work up. Place the figures a long way back initially and as you gain confidence, bring them forward and give them more prominence. It is a subject which often comes up in my workshops and it is quite a big subject!
In this little beach painting, all the figures were painted first very roughly in just a few seconds as the people walked towards the sea. Heads were carefully placed in relation to the horizon as I was standing much higher up the beach. The tide rushing in above the normal high tide mark was a gift as it gave me the added feature of the reflections.
Close inspection will reveal that some of the figures are incomplete. The simple reason is that not all the limbs of people in motion are visible at any one time. There only has to be a sense of movement and balance for them to be convincing. This is one of five pieces produced in one afternoon. For me it remains one of my favourite and I may decide to keep it in my own collection as a memento of a fine afternoon on the beach!
The perspective of the patches of drier sand and the reducing wave energy contribute to a sense of distance.
A hot evening in Honfleur harbour and the natives and tourists alike were enjoying the cocktail hour. People came and went, some stayed briefly but long enough to be included. Bored teenagers lounged against the wall. The parasols lifted occasionally to a light breeze. This was painted very quickly almost as a sigh of relief after the more considered piece in the previous post!
I found this lovely old ketch in the corner of Honfleur Harbour and couldnt resist painting her. The bright canopies on the harbourside cafes made bright accents to go with the fenders.
Such an idyllic spot! One of my favourite restaurants in Hydra, right in the harbour mouth!
The second of the day in the Plein Air Painting event organised by the Chelsea Framers Gallery.
The first of two small pieces painted during the Plein Air painting Day in Chelsea organised by the Chelsea Framers Gallery. Great subject!
After many years faithful service my well know white floppy hat has finally got too many holes in it and is rotting away. Here I am field testing a tarphat made from Amazonian Truck Tarpaulins on a recent visit to St Mawes. Brilliant idea! Let me know what you think, worthy successor? It certainly has a nice wide stiff brim to protect the eyes when painting "contre jour" and it has a chin strap!