Finished Painting entitled Christmas Shopping:Guildford High Street

Signed revised Christmas Shopping Guildford High Street

Christmas Shopping: Guildford High Street

The historic High Street of Guildford is always a joy to paint. This street is actually Saxon in origin, although nothing that early remains above ground. The plan of the street though goes back that far, and the dimensions of the actual plots are still the same

There are still buildings from the c13. The iconic clock which I have mentioned before is dated 1683, when the facade of the old Guildhall was restored. A relative newcomer, the classical arch in the centre was built in 1819, and was the last corn market in the town. Known as the Tunsgate Arch this was built on the site of the old Tun Inn, one of the many coaching inns in the town. The Tun Inn went bankrupt and was demolished in 1818. The columns used to be equidistant until the middle two were moved to accommodate motor traffic in the 1930’s. In the 1990’s the arch was closed to motor traffic, and paved over. To celebrate the twinning of Guildford with Freiburg in Germany at the time, the coats of arms of both towns were let into the floor in mosaic.

This painting was commissioned by a charity called Cards for Good Causes, and I am pleased to say has been approved, and will go forward for reproduction as a Christmas card.  They will be on sale in pop-up shops in every town in the UK from 18th October onwards.  Details on their web site. The proceeds are distributed amongst 25 well-known charities and should you wish to support, thank you.

An extremely detailed painting which has taken me some time to complete, but enjoyable nonetheless. The framed original will also go on sale in support of the above

 

Winter Street Scene Current Progress

Winter Street Scene Interim

Well, I have made a start with the painting, after staring at the drawing for ages.

The blue sky is in. As a bright winter sky, I am happy with that. There will be shadows, quite long ones for that time of the year. The shady side of the street has had one wash of blue but is still quite pallid. Those shadows will have to be deepened considerably, if we are to get the effect of bright sunshine over the rooftops. I think I will put a little red in with the blue next time, which I prefer as a shadow colour, when I glaze over the existing

The large white space in the sky is, of course, the large clock. This I will have to redraw and paint as accurately as I can. I have done the clock a few times now. I tend to do it freehand, and I have always been lucky. Watch it go wrong this time, as I have a lot riding on it.

This clock, if I haven’t mentioned it before, has become the iconic image of Guildford. It dates from 1683, and was the gift from a London clockmaker called Thomas Aylward, who wanted to set up in Guildford, so presented this as a gift to the town to accompany his application. Today we would call it a bribe. It hangs from the old Guildhall, just off the picture to the left, a building which served amongst other things as the town law courts until well into the twentieth century. The clock works perfectly today, and is lovingly maintained.

Back to the picture, quite a lot of laborious masking out, to preserve the snow on window sills etc.That took a lot of time with little to show, but happily we are on with the actual painting now, so starting to see something taking shape.

Quite a lot of detail in this picture, and I am taking my time, just doing a little, letting it dry, so that I get the true colour, and then going on from there. It is hard to say when I will finish, but I have promised it for the end of the month, which once looked a long way off, but now doesn’t. Oh well, crack on.

Winter Street Scene Initial Sketch

High Street Winter

This is by no means the finished drawing, but is plenty for me to transfer onto watercolour paper. I like to leave some freehand drawing still to do on the final sketch before painting. It seems to preserve the spontaneity somehow.

I have dressed the figures suitably for the winter, thanks to online catalogues. There are Christmas references and of course there will be snow which won’t show properly until the colour goes in

A lot more detail to go in, as I say. Some buildings are still to be completed, and there will be more figures further down the High Street. Not too many so that the composition looks cluttered, but hopefully enough to make the street look busy

Not only do I have the tedious job of moving the sketch onto watercolour paper, but I must soon start thinking about colours.

The sky will be a wintry cloudy blue. The time will be early afternoon, so still some watery winter sunshine with long shadows. The painting will not be grey. Colours are visible. Shadows should be blue especially on the snow. I need some oranges and reds. Brickwork and roof tiles will help. Some of the snow will be sliding off the rooftops, as a very gradual thaw has set in

Clothing? Some olive greens perhaps and some browns. One or two red anoraks dotted up the High Street. Also one or two red Christmas hats and some red spots on Christmas trees and in shop windows

Let us hope that all goes to plan

Preparing the Winter Street Scene

Guildford High Street

This is the photograph that I am going to use as a reference for my winter street scene. I may have already mentioned that I have been asked to do this by a national charity, to be used as a Christmas card for fund-raising, so rather thrilled to be involved.

I have already used this photograph to produce a hot weather painting, similar to what is already depicted. That worked well and sold recently from my web site. You can see it if you want in my gallery. I now have to transform it completely, and all I can use is imagination, which for me, is never easy.

I have to add snow. Well, that is ok. I have done that many times, and that is fun, so I will enjoy doing that. I now have to imagine everyone in warm weather gear. The weather here is warming up slowly, and people are starting to walk around in light clothing. Already I cannot remember what people look like in heavy coats and hats, so I have been looking at web sites of winter overcoats for women and men, as well as hats and boots

I did some sketches straight off the screen. They are very rough so I will have to ask you not to be too judgmental as they are just to use as a guide when I put figures into the painting. I may even change some of the figures altogether, although I think the three in the front centre work quite well

I am attaching, I hope, my squiggles on winter overcoat designs and winter hat styles.

This is as far as I have got at the moment, so will come back when I have something more to say, which will hopefully  be a first draft tonal sketch of the whole scene

DSCF2951

Sketches of Winter Coats for Women and Hats for men and Women

DSCF2950

Snow Painting Completed

St.Nicholas Church, Pyrford, Surrey

St.Nicholas Church, Pyrford, in Surrey

This is the finished painting of the church to start with, and I will put up one of the stage paintings next, which deals with the masking out and the sky. The sky is probably the trickiest part of the operation as this is done wet-on-wet, and needs some handling, and I will talk about that with the next image

For the trees and bushes I used a fan brush loaded with two  colours at once, ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. These mixed on the paper giving a nice brown/grey or didn’t mix and gave the two colours in the tree which is fine too. Just needed to add some branches with a detail brush

Masking and sky

Masking and sky

I was asked where I would put the masking fluid in this picture. Well, along the snow line on the church roof, as when I come to put the sky in next, there will be quite a lot of water sloshing about, and it will be difficult to keep the blue colour off the virgin snow. Having said that, I have drawn the snow line down the roof line, as though it is thawing slowly, and that is just me, as I think it looks more interesting like that.

Also on the roofs of the house in the background, plus window ledges, grave stones and buttresses. Anywhere you think snow will cling

The sky is a subject in itself. I wanted to have a sky with movement in, and to look cold even though the sun was shining. That was the intention. I have a method which I have evolved and which I prefer, although obviously there are different ways of tackling this

Firstly I wet the area thoroughly with a large brush with clean water, so the paint can move around quickly. Next I brush on cobalt blue mid strength, and then pat out some cloud shapes with paper towel. Whilst the paper is still glistening, and that is very important otherwise the paint will not move, pump in ultramarine blue pigment, where you think you will want to see blue sky. I suggest not too much

I should have said at the beginning, make sure that your board is loose from the easel, as you are now going to pick it up and you won’t have a lot of time. Hold the board vertically and watch the ultramarine blue bleed downwards, and then turn the board on 90 degrees and watch the pigment bleed again this time across the sky, if that makes sense. You will have to decide when you think you have the right effect, and of course the colour will dry lighter than it is now

Put the board back on the easel. Phew!

Let this dry rock hard. I leave it overnight usually. What you should end up with is a swirling sky because with all this water swirling around that is the effect you should get. The cobalt blue will become dark cloud, and where you have blotted out will be the white tops of the clouds. The ultramarine will be the sky showing through

Obviously, when you are doing this, water will run down onto your snow. Just be ready with paper towel to mop that quickly and you should be ok

Apart from the sky, these are simple little paintings to do, yet effective in their simplicity. Hope you liked this