Often, when I paint two similar watercolour paintings of the same subject, I find myself caught in a pros and cons crossfire between the two paintings. Sometimes, the decision between which of the two I prefer is quite cut and dried. On other occassions, it can be more challenging, yet I always feel compelled to try to make a choice.

Here’s the first version I did of this Tokyo side street:

Tokyo side street (quarter imperial)

This is a quarter imperial sheet and I enjoyed painting it so much that I thought I’d like to do a larger version, just for fun. Here’s my second effort:

Tokyo side street (half imperial)

And, for ease of comparison, the two side by side: first to give a sense of scale/proportion…

… and secondly for a more direct compare and contrast:

I like the warmth and lightness of the first, smaller painting, but prefer elements such as the car and some of the dry brush strokes of the second more. I can’t deny that it’s quite a nice problem to have; two paintings of the same scene that I like sufficiently well that it’s hard to choose between them. I think they both stand up in their own right and it’s only by looking at them side by side that there’s a natural tendency to compare and contrast.

I suppose it’s also quite nice that I don’t actually have to choose between them!

I’d love to hear what others think about these two. Do you prefer the smaller v the larger, the lighter v the darker?

10 thoughts on “Double trouble watercolour paintings

    1. Hi David and many thansk for thinking of me on reading this. I really enjoyed the article and am familiar with his work. It reminds me a lot of the work of Ken Howard (worth a look if you’re not already familiar) in the gradual building up and layering of washes. He’s certainly a much more patient painter than I’ll ever be! I think most of my paintings are done and dusted in the time it takes him to get his final drawing transferred onto his paper (this isn’t a value judgement of course, just interesting to note the differences in our approaches!). I wasn’t signed up to receive those emails from Daniel Smith but I am now so thanks very much for bringing it to my attention, much appreciated!

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    1. Thanks so much for this Rukshana, and yes, and I can totally understand this. I think I also like this one for the same reasons, yet conversely like the larger one because the contrast is so much stronger! I think I’m just going to have to settle for liking them both, which is no bad thing!

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