After last week’s Bright Day in Dieppe, I couldn’t really let it lie. So, with a renewed spring in my step I set about another attempt. I changed the arrangement of the figures to hopefully improve the composition, and had it in mind when painting it not to go in too heavy too soon and to try to leave some of the initial colour wash showing through.

Bright Day Dieppe
Bright Day Dieppe
Overall I’m much more satisfied with this than I was my first effort – although seeing them side by side in this post for the fist time, I can see positives in both of them! I think I prefer the shape and proportions of the zebra crossing and the foreground of the first effort, but the lighter touch treatment of the buildings and figures in the second. In the past, I may have felt compelled to do third attempt straight away but, on this occasion at least, I’m happy to call it a day on this view for the time being and take what I’ve learnt into my next adventure.

Bright Day in Dieppe 1
Bright Day in Dieppe 1
Bright Day Dieppe
Bright Day Dieppe
I’d be really interested to get other people’s views on these two paintings as the more I look at them, the less sure I feel about my own opinions!

15 thoughts on “Another bright day in Dieppe

  1. Somehow I missed this post. After looking at both several times, it was hard to choose…..but I have to admit I lean towards the first one because of the strength of color and shadows. That lighting on the left building is fantastic, the somber diffused but still strong shadow on the right building gives the painting a firm and confident look. The figures are equally dealt with and at first glance I would want to say that the equal drama conflicts with the drama of the buildings…..perhaps it doesn’t because I think it does work best to have the figures as dramatic. People out and about enjoying their day in such a beautiful place, equally dealt with makes for a strong emotion and sense of place, imho. With the second painting, the overall diffused handling brings more of a sense of memory rather than a sense of a moment in time. I am leaning towards painting 1 even though at first glance #2 was my first choice. Beautiful work….and I love your color choices, especially for the buildings. Which colors did you use? did you mingle or mix on the palette?

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    1. Thanks for such a considered response Margaret. I like very much your differentiation between a captured moment in time and a remembered moment in time – I really understand that and find it really helpful when looking at these again. Part of me wants to return to the second painting and through a really intense dark shadow over the right hand side buildings – just to see what it does! I can’t remember the exact mixes that I used for the buildings. I did one light, initial wash that included cobalt blue for some of the more distant buildings but then raw sienna and burnt sienna over the majority of the buildings. The second wash was a stronger shadow wash of ultramarine, alizarin crimson and some burnt sienna. Haha, even writing this all down now is making me want to have another go at this!

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      1. Haha! I know that feeling, there is something so intriguing about artists who are either obsessed or compelled or a little of both! I haven’t worked with raw sienna in a long time, I just might get it, another excuse to buy some more paint! thank you on the color mixes, I always love hearing what people use. Most times I can figure it out but I was too lazy this time around. Paint on!

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      2. Compelled and obsessed! Sadly I fear my nearest and dearest would completely agree with that description! Raw Sienna’s a staple in my palette – I think I took someone else’s advice once that raw sienna was a more useful colour than yellow ochre and I’ve stuck with it ever since. I don’t have any greens in my palette and have always found a raw sienna good for many of the greens that occur in the English countryside.

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      3. Look forward to seeing what you do with it when you get it! I’m a Winsor and Newton devotee, but this is partly down to habit and to feeling the need to really get to grips with what I have in my palette rather than jumping from one paint / manufacturer to another – good luck Margaret

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  2. John – I love them both. If I were forced to choose, I think there’s a certain honesty about the first version. I tend to find that my first sketch – or possibly at a stretch the second – is the most effective. Further iterations gain control but lack some of the initial contrast, energy and spontaneity. If I’d painted either of these I’d have been utterly delighted, but for me, the first has a naturalness that I really love! Bravo – on both counts!

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    1. Thanks so much for such an honest appraisal- I really appreciate it! I agree that the first effort usually has a specific quality or honesty about it, and that the same is true in this case. I also often find that despite these particular qualities, my first effort normally falls short of my expectations so I feel compelled to try again. The challenge seems to be in knocking off some of the rougher edges without losing the spontaneity. I think a lot of this comes down to working from photographs rather than from life. Lots to think about but I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to write.

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    1. Thanks so much for this Myriam – I really appreciate your comments. After painting the second version, I was utterly convinced it was better than the first. It was only seeing them side by side as I wrote this post that I began to doubt myself! I’ll have to let this all sink in for a few days as I must confess that it’s thrown me a little! Thanks so much for taking the time to get in touch though- I really appreciate it.

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