Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Backlighting at Brancaster Staithe

Boat sheds at Brancaster Staithe

Here's a better look at the two paintings from my day in Norfolk last week. I could have done with a little bit more time on the oil sketch above, but I spent long enough absorbed in it and have a pretty good memory of the scene. This is my new 'red sail', meaning that this subject got me hugely excited and gave me goose bumps just like the moment in Paimpol harbour in August when the red sail went up on the boat.

These days I take that as a sure sign that I can develop the motif further with a studio painting.
It's amazing how our art practice evolves and develops. A year ago I would have told you I had no interest in studio painting whatsoever. That in my eyes all of the excitement and vitality was to be found outdoors. Now I realise what I was missing then. I can get that excitement in the studio but here's the secret - I have to have been immersed in the subject first. I have to have been there, experienced the sights and sounds, and painted there on location. I have to absorb, study, capture the subject from life first.

As I've always said to my students I'm not big on imagination. Working directly from the subject feeds my ideas.

The bonus of my new method of working is that I have the plein air study with me to work from in the studio as an aide-memoire.

This is definitely my new 'red sail' so watch this space, as they say.

My afternoon painting from the day was this quiet one, painted on watercolour paper with a limited palette of gouache colours - burnt sienna, ultramarine, cerulean blue, yellow ochre and white.

Reflections at Brancaster Staithe


  1. Yes love this little gouage painting, subtle restrained palette, beautiful reflections. Nice one!


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