Over the years, through my work as an artist, and perhaps even more as an author, I have met and established friendships with many artists around the world. Watercolour Impressionists anil Modern Oil Impressionists were two books which widened my circle of artist friends immeasurably. I thought it would be fitting, therefore, to end this book with the work of three friends whose skies I particularly admire. All three regard skies as a very important part of their painting, and I'm sure you'll agree that this is apparent in these last few pages. It's also good to be able to show skies in different media.
Trevor Chamberlain is equally accomplished in oil and watercolour and his work was represented in both of the books mentioned above. He and I also cooperated on two instructional books in oils. Trevor is a true Impressionist, preferring to work outside in all weather to capture that freshness which was so important to the great French Impressionists. His style is based on sound technique, but this is never intrusive. There is a quality of light in his paintings which I have long admired. Trevor is a very private man whose life is centred around his painting and he is simply not interested in teaching or making videos, whereas
This oil painting of an evening scene at Burnham Overy Staithe is so evocative of Norfolk rivers. I know them well, having sailed on them over many years. Although Ian lias used a very restricted palette, he seems to have captured even the smell and the taste of the scene. The whole landscape is Hooded with light from the evening sky which adds to the strong feeling of unity in this atmospheric painting.
This is a favourite scene of Trevor's which he lias painted in many different weather conditions. Each one, however, is completely changed as he captures the atmosphere of the scene with his masterly rendering of the skies which produce the weather. Here, in his watercolour Rain at Budleigh Salterton, we see an almost deserted beach as the rain sweeps in from the sea, and the hardy couple on the promenade seek shelter under their umbrellas. I particularly like the way the coastline disappears into the rain.
Cumulus clouds race across the sky (above, right), casting their shadows on the countryside below. Barry's knowledge of cloud formations is indicated by the authenticity of his skies. You're never left with just a vague hint of sky. One cloud dominates, adding both strength and recession to the scene. The landscape, painted in pastel, is enlivened by the light and shade as the clouds are driven by the wind.
Barry Watkin enjoys all three. Teaching is an important part of Barry's life, and he has thoroughly enjoyed his incursion into video making. His passion, though, is for pastels and his use of this medium is masterly. Barry is one of life's gentlemen, always courteous and a joy to have dealings with. My third guest painter is Ian
This dramatic evening sky, also by Barry, completely dominates the city, with its cathedral and churches. The buildings, though, have their own part to play as they link earth to sky, providing unity, and contrast sharply with the soft sky. The sky is full of cool and warm colour to an extent which almost takes one's breath away.
Houston, an oil painter who carries on the wonderful tradition of Edward Seago. 1 have often had moments of envy when thinking of the opportunities Ian had of talking, sailing and painting with Seago, whose work has always been such an inspiration to me. Ian paints mainly in oils in a bold, free style, capturing his subject in a way that projects the atmosphere of the scene. Even the most complex of his skies are done with
Barry lias chosen a vertical format for this exciting skyscape (right). He's created a tremendous sense of space and distance by his use of the billowing cloud formations. You'll notice how there are three well-defined layers, each decreasing in size as it recedes towards the horizon. The echoes in the landscape below also help to give depth and aerial perspective, as the reflected colours in the water give a feeling of harmony to the composition.
Ian seems to get so much weight and solidity into his clouds with very few strokes, relying on the contrast and strength he gets into his brushwork. The scene, Sunlight after Rain, Honfteur (left), is unified by the echoes of sky colour in the water and buildings below.
In this again deceptively simple watercolour of Mounts Bay in Cornwall, Trevor has made the utmost use of aerial perspective, dividing the scene into three distinct layers of depth. He's used a very restricted palette, which has helped to harmonize the whole painting. The rain clouds have been beautifully portrayed, without being obtrusive. Trevor really is a master of understatement.
Ian, in his Sunlight after Rain, Norfolk (above), has used a device which has been popular with many other famous artists: a well-lit building against a stormy sky. He has used it to great effect, creating drama and excitement. These dramatic conditions are often so fleeting, they are over within seconds. Notice how the sunlit building is counterbalanced by the light cloud. All in all. this is a very satisfying and stimulating composition.
Barry has pulled out all the stops here in painting this incredibly strong skyscape. He's used one dominant cloud, the rest being in enhancing and supporting roles. There is vigorous left to right movement here, which is emphasized by the direction of the foreground path. Again we have the dappled sunshine, which is so effective and which Barry has used to lend depth and excitement to his portrayal of this moorland scene.
enormous economy of stroke, but this is soundly based on knowledge and experience. I admire his work enormously and was delighted when he agreed to show his paintings in the book Oil Painting Impressionists and again in this final chapter of Skies.
There is some really serious weather approaching here, with distant rain already descending from the cumulonimbus clouds. The clouds have been built up in distinctive altitudinal layers. The cloud shadows add to the atmosphere of apprehension as the storm comes ever nearer. Although the colour scheme is basically cool, the scene by Barry is enlivened by the clever use of minor touches of warmth.
lan's 1 long Kong at Sunset (opposite, below) is a complex view of city and harbour, complete with skyscapes and hundreds of boats, and has been depicted with masterly simplicity. There's a lovely range of colours in the evening sky, which is repeated in the sea below. The sky is the star of this scene, supported by the restrained use of colour throughout the rest of the painting.
The sky again dominates in this lovely watercolour. After a Shower, Putney. Balance is provided by the tree on the left and the dark area of cloud on the right. Notice how Trevor has used counterchange to the utmost, putting all the activity of figures and boats against the lightest part of the picture, so that the eye is directed immediately to this area of interest.
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