A belated Happy Easter to all and an immediate apology for the brevity of this post which I’ll try to make up for with a sprinkling of watercolour paintings of Porto!
First off, if you haven’t sampled the delights of Porto, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so – it’s wonderful! We spent a fabulous five days/nights there and left feeling that we’d barely scratched the surface of everything it had to offer (and please don’t let my paintings put you off!)
In true holiday style, I picked myself up a little vacation reading at the airport in the form of The Art of Watercolour magazine. It was a title that I was aware of but hadn’t read before. I’ll have to save a fuller review for another time, but of everything in the magazine, the image that resonated with me most was a predominantly monochrome painting by Alvaro Castagnet.
I’ve always admired his work and particularly his ability to find or portray light in often unlit scenes in the traditional sense. I didn’t realise it at the time but this was a little like a premonition for what lay ahead during the holiday.
I’d packed a little A5 sketchbook and my trusty Frazer Price Palette Box in the hope I’d find time to make some use of it. Here’s my first quick sketch study paying homage to Alvaro Castagnet:
The premonition element of this lay in the fact that during our time in Porto, it was almost always grey, overcast, and invariably raining.
Here’s another quick sketch of a view in one of Porto’s many squares:
And another of a brighter moment at Porto’s main Sao Bento train station:
These two sketches were my favourites from the trip. I think this second one will make the basis for a larger painting as I really like the way the shadows create a frame within the frame.
I was eager to get home and try to do some other paintings based on the holiday. I still had it in mind to try to channel my inner Castagnet and develop a more monochrome image than is my usual preference. I’m not sure it’s the most exciting subject matter, but here’s how I got on with trying to capture a rainy day in Porto:
From a purely technical perspective, I was broadly happy with this. The more I looked at it however, the less appealing I found it as a subject matter and as a composition.
Fortunately, the sun did make the odd appearance and blessed us on our final day with its full attention! To celebrate we got a tram that ran along the river Douro to where it met the sea. Along the way, I saw what I thought was a lovely view from the tram window. Once we got to the end of the tram-line, we walked back along the river bank and eventually reached the point where I was able to fully soak the scene in and get some good reference photographs.
Here’s my interpretation of the view:
I’m really pleased with how this turned out and still have time to get this mounted and framed in time for my Open House exhibition!
On that note, the pressure’s building daily now! I spent a torturous day cutting mounts and backing boards and these are all stacked up now and awaiting assembly.
I have in mind the hang I’ll be going for, which will comprise seven half sheet sized paintings and four quarter sheet paintings, plus many more that need to be mounted, wrapped, labelled and priced ready for display in a couple of print browsers. It’s still all do-able, but there’ll definitely be some midnight oil being burnt over the next few days!