I have been working on the drawing of the Fountain of Love commission, which has been testing to say the least. I have just included a detail here, otherwise the image would be too faint to show
The photograph of the fountain itself was included in my last post, and I may have explained that the fountain is in the grounds of Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire. The house is magnificent and is now an hotel but the grounds are run by the National Trust and are extensive.
Over the ages, Cliveden was associated with powerful women. One of the more recent being Nancy Astor, American heiress as well as an MP in Westminster, possibly the first woman MP. More recently still, Cliveden was the scene of the scandalous liaison between Christine Keeler and John Profumo, a married government minister
Again I have been balancing two commission projects, as I have just finished the sketch study of a rather lovely yacht in St.Katherine’s Dock, just to agree the composition with the client before going on the finished painting. I drew this with the help of a grid but there is something about the sleek almost feminine lines of a boat which seem to elude me, no matter how many measurements I take.
As usual the camera leaches out the colour but the essence is there. I did find it useful to make a sketch on this occasion. So many mistakes could be made and were made. At least these have been cleared out of the way, hopefully not to reappear
There is something about highly polished surfaces like plastic or metal, which don’t work well in watercolour. Give me some rough old wood or rusty iron any day, and that will look realistic enough to touch. Still, if you owned a rusty old tub, you probably wouldn’t want it commemorated in a painting
We will await the client’s comment to see whether I have got the composition right as a first step
And this, I believe to be the final draft. I hope so. I am just starting to get tired of it being continually on the easel
However as cautiously as I can say, I am happy with it. I have kept within the terms of the commission, which was not easy, whilst at the same time, adding something myself to stop this being five copies of five photographs.
The Canary Wharf skyline has had some shadows added which have helped the definition. The little cranes even give a feeling of distance
Lensbury Circus, the second picture, that was difficult. Never easy to make anything of office blocks with lots of windows, we usually have an interesting sky or something to alleviate the sterility of square buildings. Not in this case as we are working with five vignettes, so all I could think of was to put some extra shadow over the front of the building and abstract those windows. More of an impression really
Bottom right, the pub, I think worked well. I used Cadmium Yellow for the umbrellas and the plants, which I think worked in conjunction with the violet used on the front of the building
The other two images I talked about on the last post, and still the little ferry boat is my favourite
The client is away until the end of June, so I will present the finished work then with fingers crossed under the table
Well, out of the mist, some definition is starting to appear here and there
They wanted the Canary Wharf skyline to run along the top. Incidentally I photographed this on the easel so I am sorry that the images appear slanted. Also there are some shadows and stuff which shouldn’t be there. Just to make Canary Wharf more interesting I have used sunset colours building up oranges and vermillion across the windows. I have used vermillion and cobalt blue blended for soft shadows, which works, I believe. Little cranes help the feeling of distance. I think that picture is pretty well there, and I was asked to make that image soft anyway. I like to take the client’s instruction into account if I can, but sometimes they have to be persuaded to do things differently.
I finished the little ferry boat. Once I started I just could not stop. I think she will be my favourite image of the five, probably because I like painting boats anyway. For the background I have repeated the Canary Wharf Skyline, which is geographically impossible, but infinitely more interesting.
The pub in the bottom right, is ready for its next coat, which will be Transparent Brown over the Violet, which will give more definition to the building itself. I think yellow for the umbrellas, but I just need to work out which one.
The image which scares me and which I have made a start on is the crescent shaped building of Lensbury Circus. At the moment it is looking rather bleak, as though the area is run down, which of course it isn’t, far from it. All those windows too. They may have to succumb to a sort of lost and found treatment
But there are more positives than negatives so I will get back to it, but not tonight. I have spent hours on this one, but there are five pictures instead of one, which I should have realised when I took it on. Luckily I’m not on piece work or I would starve.
The iconic skyline of Canary Wharf which makes a nice silhouette against an evening sky. The sky has a dull orange glow which should take some pale blue outlines nicely, whilst at the same time, get some orange reflections into some of the windows.
This is only one of the images I have been asked to paint, and then arrange them on one sheet.
Probably one of the more testing commissions that I have been given. This is being commissioned for a work colleague who is returning to his native land in August, so one wants to get it right. Scale and perspective have been abandoned as I try to get everything to fit, but we are moving forward inch by inch
Two of the other images are office blocks, and I have to say that glass and concrete are subjects that I tend to avoid in watercolour. The only saving grace of glass buildings is that they mirror the sky and can appear dramatic. One of them has a tint of green in the glass which makes it more interesting
The pub where they all went has something about it in style, and so, that I can make something of. The other shot is of the ferry that crosses the Thames from the Docklands Hilton Pier, and of course, anything to do with boats is always a good subject for painting
This has already taken me a long time and will take more. Basically five drawings instead of one, so I should have charged more but never mind
Bosham Harbour goes on hold yet again. Incidentally the lady collected her wedding venue painting and was thrilled with my interpretation, for which I am relieved and delighted.