Thursday, 1 November 2012

October Challenge

This month Mick Carney chose the subject, obviously a beach scene - I don't know where - with the boat in the foreground the centre of interest, and the buildings and other smaller boats as the supporting cast. How to handle it? As part of this process I printed a black and white version of the photo but it didn't help a lot.

My initial approach was to make a loose but reasonably accurate drawing using my version (!) of Charles Reid's modified contour drawing. The reason I say `my version' is that I don't do it as well as he does. 

Version 1
 20" x 14" Fabriano Artistico Extra White 140lb (300gsm) not 

Version 2

16" x 12" Fabriano Artistico Extra White 140lb (300gsm) not

I prefer version 1 but with my `warts and all' policy I decided to show the second attempt where the main change is to make the boat much larger. That painting isn't sufficiently developed but I don't like going over the same areas time and time again. The main problem (to me) with this painting is that the original scene is on the dull side with the derelict boat framed by a motley collection of buildings and dull tree foliage in the background. However `jazzing' it up tends to make the whole thing look artificial.

In both instances I painted the boat first then the sky and then the buildings followed by odds and ends like the boats on the left hand side. Initially I put masking fluid on various bits of the boat to save the small whites. This was removed after the boat was fully dry and I also used a little white gouache. Colours were various greys mixed from different solutions of Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber. Raw Umber on some of the buildings. Some Cerulean Blue in there also. The boat was Cerulean, mixed greys and  Raw Sienna. The large darks in the boat were Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna with Perylene Maroon dropped in to give them some variation.

Brushes used were the Isabeys 6228's, mainly the number 8. 

After the initial drawing, which I was pleased with, I found the going hard and finished up somewhat unhappy with the result(s). 


Ray Maclachlan said...

The contour drawing is excellent Peter, very CR. But CR would probably join the boat to the edges of the painting. Ver 1 I like, but the boat is in the centre of the painting, cropped would put it off centre.

Mick Carney said...

I much prefer the first one because it reflects one of CR's favourite maxims, "Let the light in". Your first one certainly does that with a strong value range and interesting colour. I find the red behind the boat draws the eye and maybe could have been edited out or greyed.

Anns Art said...

Your friend chose a very scenic subject Peter. I like both versions, but personally prefer the 2nd one. (just a thought/observation, the first one stands out because of the contrasts you have put in ie: the darks against lights make it sing, whereas the 2nd version is much softer and loose - if you deepen the darks against lights in the second one would it make that sing too!)...just a thought, hope you don't mind the comment......ann.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Ray and Mick. I started off well with the drawing then it got harder. The second one was probably a mistake although Ann likes it. I've never yet produced a scene with boats that I was really happy with, apart possibly the one in Dartmouth harbour. I put the red in to try and liven things up but I agree it is distracting.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for commenting Ann. The second one is not really finished because I dread overworking - I virtually gave up on it - in my opinion the bane of many watercolours. I wanted to produce a loose painting but struggled to figure out how. What would CR do in these circumstances? It would be lovely to have a virtual reality CR at my shoulder when I do these things.

Oscar Solis said...

I like the brightness of version 1, but I like the composition of version 2. Just my 2 cents (and a meager amount at that) but I wonder what the painting would look like had the boat been pulled in closer to the viewer in version 1.

Either way, both very nice. I especially enjoy the handling of the foliage in both versions.

Nice thing about painting is that one can produce version after version trying different ideas and none of that time is wasted.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks for comments Oscar. I appreciate all the comments made and I may have another shot at it. I think I should have given a little more thought to how I approached it.

Yvonne Harry said...

Ilike the business of the first painting, Peter. It seems much more interesting to me.

Peter Ward said...

Thanks Yvonne. I'm not that happy with these paintings overall. Maybe I should have approached it differently.