Thursday, 23 February 2017

Storm Doris

Storm Doris passed this way today. Wet, as one might expect, and very blustery. Not exactly ideal weather for an easel. Hard enough for someone on two legs to remain upright despite a full shoulder bag which normally keeps one anchored.

I have been here many times before. Dog owners walk their canine friends along this route every day. I walk my sketchbook the same way, sometimes a block of paper which is gummed so it doesn't blow away. I usually keep loose paper and easels until later in the year.

Today the dogs seem keyed up, excitable, yapping and barking for the sheer pleasure of being able to, full of expectation of something different about to happen.

The dog-walkers are not so boisterous. Dressed in creative collections of assorted clothing, they concentrate on remaining upright and continuing on a more or less straight line without being blown too far off course.

Being so familiar with the scene (the buildings change little over time, it is the pattern of light across them which holds interest), I know I will be able to draw the main features later from previous sketches and memory. It is the fast-moving clouds skidding across the sky which fascinate. A whole range of tones and colour, there one moment, gone the next as Doris hurries on her way, faster than a pencil can scribble across a page, swifter than a brush can deposit water and pigment.

The answer is, I believe, memory, editing, and a healthy dose of trying to capture the FEEL of the moment and to hold onto it long enough to attempt to express it on paper or canvas as soon as possible, before the memory fades.

Luckily, I live only a few moments away.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Limited Colour

Winter is a good time to practice producing an image using a limited number of colours - in this case, three - French Ultramarine, Indian Red and Yellow Ochre, basically one red, one yellow and one blue, although they are all fairly subdued, as they should be at this time of year.

It was Claude Monet who said " In England, I was fascinated by the never-ending shades of Grey.. " Nothing much has changed since his time. It has been very grey of late.

Actually, there is a fourth pigment here, Cerulean, a turquoise-y blue, to add a splash of colour.

I am always interested by how one can change the mood of the image by the choice of palette used. It is all too easy, especially when using a photograph as reference, to try and match the colours exactly (although it is arguable whether the colours in a photograph are "exact" at all), when what we should be doing is painting the feel of the subject.