Thursday, 20 May 2010

Secret Garden, London.

This is my first submission to the Calypso Moon Artist Movement. Our challenge was to paint our Secret Garden. I live in a very green area of London, alongside beautiful vistas of trees and grassland just a stone’s throw from the Thames River, but, for me, none of it could be classified as ‘secret’. My ‘Secret Gardens’ are the great parks of London, and they are truly ‘Great’. I have my own special corners in these elegant spaces where Londoners come to relax and absorb the beauty and because one can be so anonymous in these masterpieces, a sense of owning a personal spot becomes very real. My secret garden is really ‘secret’ so I am not telling where it is. It is a wonderfully serene corner and I have the feeling that it has been there for a very long time; nothing new, nothing cultivated; just a naturally occurring place of peace. Strangely the vista I have chosen to paint is interesting for its lack of flowers; it’s just a cacophony of greens, layered one on the other with alarming subtlety and complexity.

Depicting the myriad variations of green was something I found tough, but I had set myself the challenge of pulling off this monochromatic scene. Possibly the end result might have been more convincing in oils as I would be able to blend the colours with a bit more subtlety, but I decided to stick with my own personal challenge of learning about 'water colour and gouache' as a medium all over again, and I am finding some marvellous surprises along the way. This work took me six hours.

"Secret Garden, London"
Water Colour & Gouache on Paper - 11.5" x 11.5" (Approx.)

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A Lane in Provence.

After finishing my challenge for the Virtual Paint Out I felt that I had spare creative energy to release and I wanted to paint something special. I just couldn’t find any inspiration anywhere in my large library of photographs or even any items of interest from my home for a quick still life. I eventually landed on a photograph of a lane in Provence, France, and chose to do this water colour. I want to paint two water colour sketches per week, and this week I have only painted one. However, I enjoyed this at the end when it came together, but after two hours work, it looked so boring and similar to the other two I have painted recently. It then hit me; it needs a figure. I have to confess that for me all landscapes have added meaning and pathos with a figure in it. I don’t know why this is, and I could go on about it, but this work looks a lot better with the small figure on the path; just a suggestion of a woman hurrying off somewhere. I made her much smaller than a photograph would have shown a real person to scale, and this was intentional as it always adds to the grandeur of the surroundings. What I like about the effect of adding the figure is that, for me, it seems to take the scene back in time and maybe that is because I put her in a long dress. Who knows?

"A Lane in Provence"
Water Colour on Paper - 10.5" x 10.5" (Approx.)