With only two months to go now until my course with watercolour artist and Edward Wesson expert Steve Hall, the mounting anticipation and excitement is palpable! So, with Wesson much on my mind, especially following the recent anniversary of his birth, it was without surprise that I found myself drawn to another of his paintings.
For a fleeting moment, I thought that I had finally produced a painting that I was pretty happy with at my first attempt. Until however, I recalled that I did try to paint this scene a short time ago and that I’d managed to ‘almost’ erase the memory of it from my mind. This is the ill-fated first effort:
Unlike most of my paintings, which normally reside on a shelf for a bit of thoughtful consideration before being put in a cupboard to be replaced by another painting – this one was consigned immediately to the cupboard! I seem to remember thinking at the time that, despite my recent progress, I may have reached beyond my capabilities. In retrospect, it’s a a surprise that I returned to it again so soon.
When I did this first effort (above), I was trying to be intentionally ‘loose’ – which somewhat unintentionally led to me become rushed and ill-considered. From the initial planning and sketching through to my choice of colours, tonal values and brushstrokes. The final result was, to my eye, a real mish-mash of errors.
With this later effort I endeavored to be much more thoughtful ahead of applying the paint. What order was I going to work in. What area could I work on whilst another was drying, what did I need to leave light, where where the main areas of contrast etc. Remarkably, it seemed to come together pretty well and the painting was all done and dusted in one relatively brief sitting.
If I had to be picky… looking at the sky you can discern a distinct vertical aspect to the passages of orange – now whilst these aren’t deal breakers, they’re not like any cloud formations or light effects that I’ve ever seen. The sky wash was done in one take, first wetting the paper in parts, then applying the orange hue, then the blue and letting everything flow together. In the heat of the moment however, I think my easel was on too steep an angle which I think led to the somewhat harsh vertical runs in the paint. Like I say, not a deal breaker, especially when there’s so much else I like about the sky. The other area that niggles me a bit is the sand in the foreground. Whilst I like the sense of light falling on it, I think it’s a little ‘flat’ and could have done with a little more variation in tone to suggest the lie of the land a little better. In the grand scheme of things however, these are relatively minor concerns and, of all the paintings that I’ve done of late – this is one of those that I’m most pleased with.
Its now five months since I discovered that, for my birthday, I was going to be embarking on my first proper watercolour course. Since then, I’ve managed to spend some time every week painting, and I feel that the dividends are plain to see. Hopefully I can continue along a similar trajectory over the next couple of months so that I begin the course in the best watercolour painting condition of my life!