A different aspect of Bosham Harbour

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i think I may have mentioned ad nauseam that Bosham Harbour with its ancient church is a favourite subject for painting, and is widely known

If I am preparing for an exhibition, I usually like to have at least one view of this beautiful little place. The problem is that everyone wants the same shot, across the harbour with the church against the skyline, so painters, like me, are continually looking for a way to paint this view, and yet make it look different every time.

I came across the attached photograph a few months ago, which interested me. As you can see, it is a gentle evening shot, with some bright sky and some very deep silhouettes. The details are blurred, which is not something I usually do, but found myself intrigued nonetheless. The effect could be impressionistic, which again is not something I usually do. The other thing I liked, is that, when translating this into a painting, one could use a very limited pallette, which I find improves the effect very often. In this case, we are looking at yellow and violet basically, which generally work together very well.

I haven’t used these two colours for a while, so the idea is attractive

I am not sure about how I feel about the beached boats in the immediate foreground. They are certainly an aid to perspective, which I can appreciate, and yet in your face just a bit. I think I will draw some of these separately on tracing paper and chase them round the composition to see what I like best. I have been through my archives of boats too, and have sketched one or two of those, again to see what works.

Despite what I said about getting away from detail for a change, I don’t want meaningless shapes either, and unlike photographers, artists can choose what goes into a composition, which gives us an advantage, so I might be able to get away from that rather shapeless foreground.

I think there will be quite a lot of work with little bits of tracing paper, before we hit on the right composition, so we will see what happens. Yet another journey into the unknown.

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Goathland ( or is it Hogsmeade ) Railway Station Finished Painting

Goathland or Hogsmeade Railway Station

The finished article

I had no idea how this might turn out. I was attracted by the colours at first. Whoever thought to paint the station and rolling stock in that bright red, and then place them all against all that greenery, certainly had an eye for colour

I am old enough to remember the old British rail rolling stock, which was long past its sell-by date, fifty years ago, perhaps without us knowing. In the 1970s I worked for a company manufacturing furniture, and remember sending consignments in the old British Rail B container down to Switzerland. They were cheap is about all you could say. The journey took several days and the containers let in water, because as I said, they were old. We changed to transport by road using a Swiss haulage company, and the service improved dramatically, but sad nonetheless.

The colours were familiar though. Perhaps more weather beaten which faded the colours, but nevertheless I remember the trucks either as a worn pink or perhaps a deeper browny red

In any event, I have left the colour of the goods trucks slightly on the bright side, in order to stand out against the trees. Who could remember what they looked like as new. We only ever saw them after wind, sun and rain had taken their toll, not to mention smuts from the steam engine, which would have been shunting them in those days

I ended up liking this painting. I can spot mistakes, of course, but enjoyed working on it. Whether the painting will prove saleable is yet to be seen. I have stopped trying to predict what will sell and what won’t, as I am wrong so often

I have the Leatherhead Theatre exhibition coming up, so may try to get it in there.

We shall see

Goathland Interim

Goathland Interim

I have made a start as you can see

There was rather a lot of woodland. Usually the background is pale, sky, perhaps a few distant trees, and that makes a clear backdrop for the foreground to stand out against

This time we have trees and lots of them, and so the foreground has to stand out against this darker background. For the moment, I have just started to detail some of the buildings, and for me there is insufficient definition. They need to come forward otherwise they will just go back into the trees

Looking back at the reference photograph, there is a tremendous amount of red in the picture. The ironwork is red. The trucks are red. Paintwork is red. The brickwork could do with a coat of something, as it appears anemic . I think a coat of Permanent Rose or Light Red would help, and that is probably what I will do

The buildings and rolling stock should when completed come towards the viewer and throw the trees back, which I think might prove a relief to the eyes

I haven’t had time to work on it today so will try tomorrow to get something moving

Until then

Goathland Drawing

Goathland Drawing

This is my rough sketch of Goathland Railway Station, used amongst other things, for the model for Hogsmeade  Station on the Hogwartes Express, says he, knowing virtually nothing about Harry Potter

I moved the composition out on both sides from the original photograph. I managed to find some more material on the Internet, not much, but the little I found was helpful. On one side there is a siding used for what looks like, Pullman coaches. I have the colour at least, which seems to be mostly cream with green

On the left hand side, I was able to complete what looked like a railway shed. It was more or less what I guessed it should be, but it was good to have it confirmed.

Now comes the tedious part, as you have heard me say before, of transferring the sketch onto watercolour paper, as a line drawing, hopefully improving the accuracy as I go. Some little while before I get round to that I expect

Some news about exhibitions. I finished the show at the Guildford Institute and sold one painting on the very last day. It was the one called “Bikes and Canals in Amsterdam” which I was pleased about, as this was rather a different subject for me. One painting is not remarkable, I know, but the Institute is not a busy place like a hospital, for instance, but I like showing there as it enjoys local prestige, and gets you talked about.

A couple of days ago, I was approached by the theatre in Leatherhead, which is a town about twenty miles from where I live. They are opening an art gallery for local artists, and wondered if I would support them, which I am doing. I am taking a small section of wall space as a trial, and will be showing there from 1st to 14th May

It should be an interesting experiment. I haven’t tried the Leatherhead area before. The theatre also draws from the town of Dorking, and the surrounding villages, so I remain cautiously optomistic, as always. The gallery organiser supports the exhibition with local publicity as well as social media. Some of this activity is directed towards private galleries in the area, and again not a segment of the market that I have approached before.

So will make an interesting punt. We shall see

Goathland Railway Station or Hogsmeade if you prefer

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I borrowed this photograph from Simon Jenkins’ wonderful book, Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations. Shame about the centrefold but I’ve pressed it out as best I can. This is Goathland Railway Station. I’ve never been there but feel I have, as this station was used as a backdrop for that delightful TV series Heartbeat, and of course, it was Hogsmeade Station on Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express.

I have been to others like it, some in the north of England and others closer, some rescued by enthusiasts, with others like the Settle/Carlisle Railway, brought back into the national system by popular demand, having once been axed by Doctor Beeching in the 1960s.

This view is made to be painted, and I give credit to Simon Jenkins and trust he will forgive me, if I borrow it.

It will not be slavishly copied. I need to take the image out to the left and to the right, and I have found material on that wonderful Internet, which shows a siding to the right with coaches, and to the left enough of the storage shed for me to complete

Drawing will be challenging. How to tackle those railway lines, remains to be seen, and we can make a judgement afterwards, but for now, let’s get to it

Galloping Horses, the finished painting

Galloping Horses

The finished painting.

It took great restraint not to add some more colour to the horse on the left. I still think I made the right decision. It looks as though it is appearing out of the mist and the spray kicked up by the animal in front, which is the effect that I wanted.

As far as what I did since the last post, well, apart from stopping myself touching the horse on the left, not that much really. I have removed the spattered masking fluid to give, hopefully , that effect of spray from the hooves. I added a little dark spatter as well, but really didn’t need much

I added more detailing to the lead horse, so he is now well-defined and, hopefully, coming out of the picture, and added some more colour to the water and reflections at the bottom of the page

And that is really it. If I keep looking at it, I shall be tempted to fiddle, and that as we all know is fatal

Galloping Horses Partway

Galloping Horses Partway

I have moved on a bit from last time

So far I am using two colours only, Cobalt Blue and Vermillion Hue which I spoke about before, which does make a very pleasant grey with a sort of glow about it. I don’t think that I have worked with two colours before, so this will be interesting

I have spattered heavily with masking fluid around the hooves of the lead horse. This is showing as blue as I am using the Frisk product, so this will be white when I remove and hopefully the removal won’t give me a problem. I will probably spatter with some dark paint as well.

I have started to detail the lead horse, if only to judge the tones between him and the others further back. The pink background seems to work well. I will just go on defining the shadows on the horses and see how we end up

Preliminary Sketches of Galloping Horses

Galloping Horse Drawing

I’ve transferred the drawings to watercolour paper now, and kept them as line drawings only, which is why they are faint. I have assembled the individual drawings that I had and strengthened, I hope , the composition into a more horizontal arrangement.

Since posting this drawing, I have liberally spattered with masking fluid, around the lower regions of the horses to look like, again hopefully, the spray that the lead horse was throwing up

I have put on a base coat of colour. A band of pthalo blue modified with cobalt for a sky colour, followed by a pink horizon, followed by a ground colour the same as the sky. For the pink, I have used something I bought long ago from SAA called Vermillion Hue, a colour outside of my experience. It was described as very good as a warm grey when mixed with Cobalt, and a very good shadow colour on snow. Likewise, without the Cobalt  it can provide a warm glow. No snow here I know,  but plenty of water and grey horses. The horses in the photograph were just catching the light on one side from a very watery sun

So this is an experiment and could fail, but I am hoping to catch this pink light on the horses, if I can

That is as far as I have got

Impressionists in London Exhibition at Tate Britain

Charing Cross Bridge by Pissarro

Charing Cross Bridge by Camille Pissarro

I took my grandson to see this fascinating exhibition at Tate Britain, a week or so ago, as he is studying Pointillism as part of his Art GCSE syllabus. The work of Camille Pissarro was much in evidence, so a lot for him to have a look at. This was his first visit to a major gallery, so significant, and as he pointed out, we were looking at originals, so the actual canvases that these painters worked on. I sometimes lose sight of that fact myself.

The exhibition was centred around the work of French painters who fled to Britain in the 1870s to escape the horrors of the Franco-Prussian War. Napoleon III had been captured after the Battle of Sedan, and on his release went into exile with his wife, Eugenie, and their son the Crown Prince, in England, living in Chislehurst. All three are entombed in Farnborough, in the abbey founded by Eugenie. After the fall of the Second Empire the fight went on, culminating in the horrific Siege of Paris in 1871. Civil war followed after a popular uprising by the Paris Commune. Thousands died. Many of the Communards were amongst those who fled to Britain, and who were received without question or restriction.

Many well-known painters arrived and stayed in London. Claude Monet had a suite of rooms in the Savoy Hotel, and painted the Thames and Houses of Parliament in all its moods. He loved the London fog, as did Whistler, credited by Oscar Wilde with the “invention of the fog”

Camille Pissarro, whose house in Louceviennes was commandeered by the Prussians, fled to south London with his mother and other relatives, ruined by the conflict. He lived at Kew, and paintings of his, of the Gardens and Kew Green are on display. He was another fascinated by the Thames and painted similar views to Monet, of the Houses of Parliament through the mist, as well as Charing Cross Bridge in the picture shown.

Not all the arrivals were Impressionists. James Tissot having been introduced by his friend Thomas Bowles, made a name for himself as a painter of High Society. With a great eye for colour and fashion, his paintings of ball gowns and uniforms are magnificent.

Many well-known dealers also followed the painters, and there are many more names that one could mention, but in the final room, is displayed the work of Andre Derain, who was inspired by the London paintings of Monet. He was sent to London in 1906 by the dealer Vollard, and produced thirty canvases from this trip. These were in homage to Monet and covered the same subjects , Charing Cross Bridge, the Thames and the Houses of Parliament. Not to my taste, I think he belonged to a group called the Fauvistes, which believed in the arbitrary use of colour. However, his work is successful, and rounds off this exhibiton nicely

Paintings are on loan from galleries across the world, so a one-off opportunity for most of us to see them. Worth going to, more than once if you can

 

Wild Horse Painting

Wild Horses

Now that my exhibition entry is complete, I can start to look at painting something for pure pleasure, whilst at the same time, having something very different in my portfolio, knowing that local exhibitions will be cropping up during the summer.

Horses are something of a favourite. I rode for many years. Nothing very serious, just hacking out but still exhilarating. Christmas rides over the Downs were the best, with a couple of long gallops thrown in. Some parts of the ride were on sandstone, so sandy tracks to gallop along which just went on and on.

My son and I used to go to the north-east several years running, and go post-trail riding spread over the week. Quite hairy galloping across the moors, but the horses were like goats, so you just let them take you

So after a while, you form an affection for horses, whether they are ponies or drays. In fact I loved watching the big dray horses delivering beer in certain parts of London, especially Wandsworth, home of Youngs Brewery which had a team of drays up to the time they closed down not that long ago. Now I just enjoy looking at them and taking photographs, hopefully to get some shots good enough to paint.

I am getting one or two different sketches together, hopefully to create something dramatic, perhaps even wild-looking. I haven’t finished my deliberations yet, but for the moment will just show the sketches which I’ve prepared so far, which might change as I go along

Galloping Horse