Sometimes a subject can really get under your skin. This may be because it’s special to you in some way, or because you just love the view or colours or composition. Sometimes however it may be because you know what it is you’re trying to achieve with a view but, try as you might, you just can’t quite manage it.
This is how I feel about this week’s subject. I also feel so frustrated by my experiences (not to mention pushed for time) that I’m struggling to summon up the words to describe my travails!
In essence I did three takes on the same view… and whereas I usually feel that I make solid progress, when I tackle a scene a few times, I don’t feel at all happy with where I ended up this time! Hopefully you’ll get sense of why I liked the scene – I just wish I could have done it a bit more justice!
I really regret having gone in so heavy with the gouache on the tree of this third one. This was largely born out of my frustration and just going a bit crazy with the gouache. I know this should only ever be used most sparingly, if at all, but of all my efforts, I suppose that this cropped one of my third effort is perhaps the best of a bad bunch.
There are some definite takeaways for me from this experience. In each case I put down a light base wash of colour, over which I then tried to add darker washes of shadow. What I didn’t master in either case was the strength of tone in each wash. The upshot was that my base wash was too weak, and then so too was my shadow wash, which sometimes meant two, three or four washes which killed any sense of light or transparency – and rendered the base wash pretty pointless! My aim was to get this correct in two washes max and allow the colour of the base to show through. I’m going to try and not get too disheartened by all of this, but instead take it for what it is:all part of the journey.
On the plus side, I received a new batch of reference prints the other day. I haven’t opened them yet but know from memory that they contain images from recent visits to Brighton, Dieppe and London. After focussing so much on Barcelona of late, I’m hoping that a change of scene will do whatever I paint next the world of good!