I thought I might start this “blog” with a little bit about what I do, and perhaps why I do it, and the process I use. I am technically a self-taught painter, who emulates a traditional “British” approach to the watercolour medium that involves a little more control of the paint by using less water. Small areas of thin transparent washes are applied, and depth of colour and shadow are built up by layering subsequent transparent washes to a desired intensity and detail.
My inspiration? Old Ontario. I have always been “drawn” to architecture and structure in the landscape. I find myself, wherever I am, seeking out those traces and remnants that tell a tale of what came before, and what still endures despite the way the landscape or cityscape around us constantly changes. A bit of a “romantic” notion, to be sure.
Because I am searching for a landscape setting that marks the passage of time and our presence in it, I eliminate the human element so the structural subject infers a narrative. That said, there is something about a figure in or near a window whose presence is contained and excluded from this landscape that I find very appealing.
The piece “Fading Light” is a good example of my process.
1- This is a small preliminary sketch in india ink…establishing a figure emerging from shadow:
2- I use 140 lb watercolour paper, I don’t wet and stretch before hand, I sketch directly onto the paper using a very hard pencil that incises edges of form. I want the entire painting to have that “fading light” atmosphere, to have a “cool” feel throughout, and yet have an exterior light source, so I have started with layers of just ultramarine blue across the surface that will dictate tone and value of the succeeding transparent layers:
4 – Getting dark – using just burnt sienna and ultramarine I continue to define and isolate light and dark and define form:5- I use an overlay of detail introducing more colours on top of the established warm and cool areas: