I went here many years ago on a trip out from Palermo. Lovely stretch of beach which I have featured although I had to rely on someone else’s photograph for reference. Many thanks to Websi for the use of their photograph
Not only the beach but a lovely town square and a delightful Norman cathedral from the 12th century, which we remember visiting
The brightly coloured fishing boats are fun to paint. I have added a different red to my stock as I have been trying to get away from cadmium red, as I have used it so often. Someone suggested Sennelier Red, and this painting gave me a chance to use it. It really is a magnificent poppy red and I have used it on these boats. Sennelier say that they put honey in their pigment mix, and certainly their paints do go on very smoothly
I put this painting on my online site on Wednesday and it sold yesterday Thursday. Not quite wet from the easel but getting that way. Certainly a record for me, although friends of mine have done that more than once. I think it must be Sicily which is certainly very popular or are we just looking for sun after the winter lockdown
I went to Beer some years ago when staying with friends. The fishermen there pull their boats up onto the beach, and arrange them in a row. I’m not sure whether deliberate or coincidental, but the result is very colourful, and for years photographers and painters alike come here to record them
I have painted them before but from a different angle, and I don’t have a photographic reference for this painting, so I have had to imagine the perspective. I have always found it difficult to get the colour right for a brightly coloured painted finish cast in shadow. I generally put shadow in first, so a coat of blue or violet left to dry, and then the local colour glazed over, usually works. It doesn’t work with these strong colours, so I have had to experiment with different blues and reds to get the result. It took a long time and even now I am looking back and wondering
The result is sunny and bright, however, in these worrying times. I have simplified a lot of the detail, so would class this painting as more impressionistic than realistic. I find it cheerful to look at, so hope others do too
The painting is now finished, in that I have started to fiddle, which is a good time to stop
Getting the sand/mud to look waterlogged has been a problem, and I have settled for what I’ve got, rather than end up with a surface which looks dark and unconvincing. I did mask out some tyre tracks which had filled with water, and then touched them in afterwards. They seemed to work well enough.
I have taken the mask off the lighthouse, and painted that in, with its red domed top, that attracts the eye. Two tricolor flags on the boats give another opportunity for small dabs of red too. I tend to use vermilion now rather than cadmium red, which seems to work.
Some of the figures and dinghies have bled into the wet, which I have allowed, as I think that gives a hint of reflection.
I think I have taken it as far as I dare without spoiling, so will leave it now as complete.
I have a new commission arrived, a house portrait, which is highly convenient so will start on that soon
I have done some drawing and also started to paint as you can see. Nothing startling, just the background. The lighthouse has been masked out, so it can stand out stark white with red at the very end
I have also masked out some of the tyre marks in the sand which are full of water, hopefully to recreate that image. The composition itself I have altered slightly, but only slightly, as really not much improvement is necessary. The fishing boats have been beached at low tide, which immediately offers an interesting picture for watercolour. There is light coming from the left, offering shadows as well as possible reflections.Some boats were left out, and one different one added. Otherwise the scene is much the same as it was in 1972
I needed some human activity so added the two figures in the foreground. They are actually copied from the figure in the distance. I had to guess the perspective, so I hope it looks convincing. Both figures are bent over as though hauling on some imaginary chain, so a little bit of narrative
I have added shadow to the boats just to give them form, and to guide me when I go to paint them in. One or two extra dinghies as well. I may well have to add somehting small in the centre, but I am not sure yet.
That is as far as I have got. So far so good I think
That will then complete a collection of twelve paintings for the coming exhibition at the Guildford Institute from 19th of this month
Since the last post, really the work was purely detailing, using dark brown, white and cadmium red. I have drawn in some buoys and odd details like that
I bought a new detail brush the other day, designed by Matthew Palmer. It has a large bole which holds a good supply of water, but the tip comes to a very fine point, which produces a line rather like you’d expect from a pen. I think it was designed for painting very thin branches and twigs. It also works well for fine rope work, and window frames
Huge sigh of relief now that the exhibition collection is finished, all but framing the last one
I can now look at catching up with a few paintings for pleasure. I love doing horses and have made some initial sketches, from which I think I can put an interesting composition together. I have gone back to drawing by eye instead of using a grid, which not only saves time, but also is comforting to know I can still do it ( or think I can)
This is the start of the panoramic painting for the long frame which I mentioned recently, which I am hopeful for, but we shall see
For sky and sea I used a mix of phthalo blue and cobalt. For the sunset sky and reflection in the water, I have used a mix of Cadmium Orange and Permanent Rose. I was not pleased with the initial result, as the sky came up very orange indeed. I applied coat after coat of Permanent Rose, wet on dry, which when dry, appeared to have made very little impact. Eventually the sunset turned pinky red, and I quite liked the effect of the pink over the blue. Where the blue had gone on sparsely, the pink soaked in, and started to look like pink clouds on the blue sky. I am not sure whether this shows in the photograph.
In order to get the effect of the low sun on the rooftops, I will need to glaze the buildings with something like Light Red and if that goes too brown, then a thin wash of Cadmium Red. Sparingly, of course, as that is powerful stuff.
There is masking fluid to come off, where white buildings have caught the strong light. I should have mirrored that in the sea, but forgot, but I think I can rescue that with White Gouache.
Dark shadows to go in with dark Brown which will accentuate the light, I hope. Also some small boats for which I will use the same blue mix, and white masts, should add to the effect
This is the finished version of the cinemascope painting of the fishing boats pulled up on the beach at the village of Beer on the Devon coast
I painted this group before some years ago now, as more of a full-size painting with the horizon and sky included and much more beach. I painted this detail, I may have said, as I have a frame that size, and as it looks like a driftwood finish, should work quite well. I still have a mount to cut, so when it is framed I will post an image, unless it is a total disaster.
This was one of those serendipitious moments that artists get occasionally. We were walking along the promenade with friends, some years ago now, and stretched below was this line of boats. The colours were the attraction, of course, and I painted these boats later on from my photographs.
Walking round art shops in the village later, I noticed that everyone else had the same idea. Obviously a favourite spot and a favourite subject for local artists. Still I sold my painting, and subsequently was commissioned by someone else to paint something similar
This should be the last painting going into my July exhibition, so if there are no more exhibition pressures, I might do some fun things for myself. We’ll see
Rather a faint study from the collage of photographs that I posted a few weeks ago, but sufficient, I think to form the basis for a painting. I have done this study before only differently, so this painting will be the usual journey of discovery that they all are, that fine line between success and failure
I mentioned before, I think, that this shot is from a visit some years ago now to the fishing village of Beer, on the south Devon coast. The fishing boats are dragged up on the beach, and make a colourful line-up, a mixture of bright reds and blues
This is the first time that I will have done this painting as a long horizontal shot. It should work, he says, hopefully. I will have to cut a different mount, though. The original one with the four slots just is not going to suit
So for now, it just remains to titivate these drawings and check that I have everything, including all those small props like chains, anchors etc. Then I can start mixing the underpainting
Years ago we went to the delightful little fishing village of Beer on the south Devon coast. These colourful boats were drawn up in a line on the beach, and I photographed them in several frames, as I have shown here
I painted them once and showed them. That painting sold. A year or two later, someone picked the painting out from the web site, and commissioned something like, so I painted something similar but not the same
At a craft fair recently I bought the frame in the photograph. The beading is Italian, heavily distressed and in a driftwood finish. The mount is split into four spaces, and is obviously intended for photographs.
It reminded me of something I had seen not long ago at an exhibition. An artist had used a frame like this using a long painting, which looked very effective, I thought. It obviously needs a long horizontal subject, which reminded me of the line of boats at Beer, so I am going to try it out. It may not work, as the spacing of the boats may be wrong, but I will try it anyway
If it turns out well, this could be my twelfth and last painting for the July exhibition, so we shall see
Marzamemi, the fishing village near Syracuse in Sicily, almost a study in blue. The painting itself is more striking, but the photograph is as good as I can get it.
There is very little that I can add from the last post. I have detailed the boats in the foreground and you can check back against the original photograph. The only difference , I think, is that I have added a brighter red to the hull along the waterline.
I like it and it will be going into my exhibition in March
Next, well, there is one more painting of Sicily that I would like to try, and that is of the salt mills at Trapani. Salt is still extracted from the sea, by evaporation in salt pans. The majestic windmills that stand there still against the skyline no longer work, but they look marvelous. You couldn’t imagine the horizon without them