..having visitors come around to panic me into a bit of tidying up and housekeeping!
And so it is I’d like to welcome my regular guests, but also to extend a warm hand to those new followers that may have come across my blog after it was featured as a WordPress Editors’ Pick on WordPress’s Discover site. When you consider how many wordpress blogs are out there – some 65-70million as far as I could ascertain, with about 50K new ones every day! – it was a great honour to be featured, particularly as this is the second time that it’s happened for me! So, to visitors old and new alike – I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for following and engaging with my brushes with watercolour – it really does mean a lot to me! In an effort to make everyone feel a little bit more comfortable and welcome, I tried to tidy up the all the various widgets at the bottom of my pages! WordPress have obviously introduced some new ones since I last tinkered with them and I particularly like the new ones for Facebook and Twitter. You can see them all by scrolling right to the bottom of this post or looking at the bottom of any other pages on the site. I’d also welcome any feedback or suggestions on any of these.
Unfortunately, this week’s painting efforts have been severely restricted by a DIY project that got a little out of hand! I was keen however to try to continue with last week’s sketchy attempt to capture a cafe scene outside Notre-Dame. This is from a slightly different viewpoint and still based on some of the reference photographs that I took.
Overall, I really enjoyed painting this and felt that I approached it with a healthy combination of freedom and confidence. I think this was helped in part by my choice of brushes. Most of this was tackled with a size 18 Escoda mop brush that encourages a much looser handling, with just a couple of smaller round brushes for some of the finer details.
I started out with the buildings on the right, just applying a loose base wash, then moved over to the buildings on the left, working my way down to the foreground, the pavement, then the van. I think I did manage to achieve a better ‘integration’ of the figures into the painting, which I did ‘as I went’, which is something I was aiming for, and generally I think the figures were handled more directly and confidently. I also got in a little more detailing to suggest vague facial features on some of the characters – admittedly some more successfully than others but for a quick-ish effort, I was quite pleased.
I was also happy that my darks were sufficiently dark without becoming muddy and, despite thinking that I might omit the van, it’s actually one of my favorite moments! The very last thing that I added was the sky. Strangely enough, considering this isn’t remotely a sky painting – I think this throws the entire painting off a little. The light wasn’t bright, but it was sufficient to cast a soft shadow, which I think I achieved for the figures on the pavement, but the sky doesn’t suggest to me at all this quality of light!
Still, I feel much encouraged by this painting and would like to tackle more paintings with a similar approach – all the while building my confidence at capturing people and distilling complex urban scenes into something simple enough to paint!
Here are this weeks and last side by side – which is the first time I’ve actually seen them next to each other!
Before seeing these side by side, had I been asked which one I prefer, or feel is most successful, I wouldn’t have hesitated in saying the more recent painting – I distinctly remember enjoying myself more as I painted this one!. Now that I have seen them side by side however, I’m less certain that this is necessarily the case! As ever, I’d love to hear what anyone else thinks.