Langstone: Underpaintings

I mentioned in the last post that I would give the painting a coat of burnt sienna. In fact, I changed my mind and used raw sienna with Naples yellow mixed to give some brightness against the darks that would come.

I did mask out the white-walled buildings, as well as two metal posts jutting out of the water, and for good measure masked out some gulls to give the scene a sign of life.

I also put in some tree shapes as guidelines in sepia ink


Rather a pale wash, so a pale photograph I am afraid. I think you can see where I have masked out in blue, the white buildings, the posts and also the flag as well as the windows on the old mill tower. The tree shapes I put in after this picture was taken but you will see them on the next image.

I gave this coat 24 hours to dry hard. Had I been in a hurry, I could have used a hair dryer, but I prefer natural drying, as then the paper returns to its flat condition. I find if you rush the drying, then the paper retains any cockling that may have taken place whilst wet.

I then mixed a dilute solution of Phthalo blue and Cobalt blue and washed this over the sky and sea. I blotted out some clouds. This coat also had 24 hours to dry.

The next step was to mix up a solution of French Ultramarine blue and Light Red. The trick is to get it not too strong yet not too wishy-washy. That is not easy. I worked this in from left to right, simulating, I hoped, gathering storm clouds. The colour varies depending on the mix from blue-black to deep red. In some places I put pure pigment along the top of a cloud edge to give the impression of strong light behind. To accentuate this, I scrubbed with a bristle brush and clean water, the area the other side of this pigment line. In other words, I scrubbed off the blue to reveal the sienna / yellow. I worked on the clouds adding some colour here and removing some there. I will show the image next


Sadly the camera has taken some of the strength out of the colours, no matter how many times I took this shot, which spoils the light against dark effect

Always an act of faith to go on, at this stage, as mid-painting always looks a bit of a mess, which is why it is essential to finish

Next to put in the trees behind the roof-tops and the shadows on the buildings which will give them their form. I still have to do that, so will post again

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