Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

New camera 2013 352Lola chasing the pigeons

When I last posted, I talked about painting a scene in the rain, with wet surfaces, something I have always found to be tricky. I showed a painting of our visit to Burano on a wet day which worked quite well. I wonder if I can do it again.

A couple of years ago, we went with the family to Paris and then on to Eurodisney. ( I enjoyed Eurodisney much more than I thought, incidentally). The two photographs which I am going to use are above, showing the queue into the cathedral and also my granddaughter Lola having great fun chasing the pigeons at the same time

I was more interested in creating a mood in this picture rather than drawing accurate figures. Heads down against the weather, just wishing we could get inside

I want to use them both in the composition. I think the child with pigeons will make a strong foreground against the other picture. We shall seeDSCF2487DSCF2488

Using a simple grid I did a freehand drawing of the cathedral with the figures in the rain. I added some more to the left to make the queue longer and also extended the tent/marquee which had been erected in front of the cathedral. That decision would come back to haunt me later on. I then did exactly the same exercise with the child and birds, guessing the proportions as best I could. The next step was to transfer the child drawing onto tracing paper, which I then slid across and back the cathedral drawing to best judge the correct proportion between the two

completed composition

completed composition

I am sorry this picture is rather dark. I had given it a coat of grey/green watercolour mix to establish the mood. Mixed from French Ultramarine Blue and Cadmium Orange. The figures in blue are masked out as I want them to have light coloured raincoats. I thought the relationship worked well. The child’s head is just overlapping one of the figures so they look part of the same scene.

I now have some painting to do, and will publish that as second part, probably during the week

Don’t forget I am always interested to hear from other painters who can give me tips how to improve my work

3 thoughts on “Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

  1. Hello David. Thank you so much for the most inspiring and descriptive new post. I have read each month with excited anticipation and have not been disappointed. I intend to try to draw on your expertise to help me along with my future attempts. As you know already, I’m at the bottom of the ladder and only wish to paint for myself, but as I’ve always been though life, I have to give it my best shot. I feel I was improving but since the recent passing of my mum haven’t even picked up a brush, but I’ve dusted myself down now, started at the ‘Feelgood Factory’ at my local gym and am more than ready to get back to my painting. As I live alone I have all winter to keep fit and grow my painting techniques. It is my passion, art always has been from being a little girl, but this is the first time I have had the leisure time to commit. I’m sure so many aspiring artists will be so grateful to you for giving up your time to help us along. Seriously, buying the beautiful painting from you and giving me the opportunity to get to know you through your posts and emails has lightened my life just when I needed it! Thank you so much, Chris Date: Sun, 1 Nov 2015 17:08:37 +0000 To:


    • Sorry Christine I overlooked somehow your comment. So pleased that you are enjoying my blog. New ground for me and still feeling my way along.
      I am working on something more sunny, so hope to share nearer the end of the month
      I am getting quite a few hits from overseas, especially South America, which is interesting. The power of the internet never fails to impress
      Best wishes


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