When David came over to England to work on this book, lie asked me to give him a list of my favorite painting spots — Porlock Weir was definitely number one. Within a few hundred yards there are dock gates, thatched cottages, boats of every type, all surrounded by hillsides, and with everything changing throughout the day as the tide ebbs and flows. Also, no one seems to bother you while you're painting. David has decided to concentrate on one elderly boat that has been left high and dry by the tide. His palette consists of Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Quinacridone Magenta, Aureolin, Sepia and Hookers Green.
Light washes for the lightest tones
The first light wash is hid in from the lightest tone on semi-damp paper. The sky is a mixture of two blues, with Quinacridone Magenta and Burnt Sienna used to gray the sky darks. The middle tones are then added. Notice how the leaning boat has been isolated to gain maximum interest and contrast.
Now the general colors are added to the boat. The warm tones being Burnt Sienna and Aureolin, and the cool colors Cobalt, French Ultramarine and Quinacridone Magenta for the cabin. The boat now commands focus and the only things needed arc final details and balance.
The brush works quickly to deepen the reflections and sky, and to put in accents in the water on the right. The colors arc intensified using Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine for the accents.
The Leaning Survivor, Porlock Weir, Somerset, 11x15" (28 x 38cm)
The finished painting is notv dry and suggests the atmosphere of threatening rain while the boat lies quietly. In this case, spontaneity was important because the deteriorating weather meant that the painting had to be finished quickly.
Bringing vitality to street scenes
The impact of color brings this scene to life. The blue blinds against the red, although unexpected, lend vitality. Aided by the variety of street signs, the eye is drawn immediately to the green umbrella against the dark background. The waiting cars have been painted with authority and again add to the movement of the scene. The figures, although merely hinted at, are thoroughly convincing. Notice how the shadows have been painted in with single, rapid strokes to give them transparency and spontaneity.
The mood of this painting is completely different from the scene on the opposite page. Here the street appears much more businesslike and formal. Even the weather seems muted, possibly because of the different selection of colors. I particularly like the wet-into-wei trees and the background running into the loose treatment of the buildings. The white car against the dark background becomes the focal point of the picture. Notice how the color of the red car is repeated elsewhere to preserve unity. The reserved white paper also plays its part in providing vitality.
This is a toet-inio-wet extravaganza almost a happening! It's enormous fun to do a painting like this. The paper needs to be thoroughly wetted on both sides and you need to attack it with strong color, because the wet paper naturally dilutes everything you put on it. You need to work from back to front, starting with the sky and moving forward to the bottom of the page. Once the main washes are put in, the trees are indicated with paint straight from the tube, which will of course soften when dry.
Summer Mood, Yarra Glen, 10x14" (25 x 36cm)
The wet-tnto-wet here is more controlled and the use of the hard edges changes the mood completely. Here the atmosphere is hot and sunny, which is achieved mainly by the heightened color and variety of tone. The foreground trees have been painted both wct-into-wet, and later, wet on dry. 1'liis is a virtuoso performance of great joy, and I would love to have it on my wall.
Dancing Shadows, St. Aubin's, 10 x 14" (25 x 36cm)
This painting uses an entirely different approach, but still ^
contains the important ingredient of immediacy. Everything here has a sharp clarity, and yet there is still room for the viewer to use their imagination in its interpretation. David has used the white untouched paper in many areas of this painting and, as he often does, uses strong dark colors adjacent to them, to heighten the impact. The scene contains great examples of alternating color, as in the areas of pink/wliite and gray/white across the painting. The entire picture is held together by the strong mauve shadows.
pontaneity in three different moods
Was this article helpful?