Below, you can watch Mike transform a sketch book drawing into a finished painting. To see this sequence animated, click here. You must have free Macromedia Flash player to view the animation.
|A day out along the North Kent coast led me to Faversham Creek - For many years until the mid 20 century a busy centre for the construction of the flat bottomed coastal and river barges that carried much of the trade around the Sussex & Kent countryside and into the London Docks. This pen and wash drawing in my sketchbook (8" x 14")shows the distant grain store, a couple of barges in the water, a modern launch about to be lifted into the creek and one of the many old wheel-less Railway trucks that now act as sheds. So, back to the studio.|
| A roughened M D F board (26" x 32"), coated
with 3 layers of acrylic primer was the starting point for the Oil
I didn't enlarge and trace my sketch but drew directly onto the board using a large mop brush to lay in both some drawn lines and the first rudimentary washes in a cool monotone. The first marks were the dark silhouette of the winch turret on the building and the vertical mooring posts to suggest the drama of looking almost directly into the light.
|The washes continued to build across the surface and volume given to some of the objects by noting their tones. At this stage the painting is still in monochrome - (i.e. in one colour).|
|The first hint of colour arrives with a thin glaze of dilute Raw Sienna washed into the sky. A figure appears just by the building.|
|More colour builds in the sky and the foreground and some of the initial cloud shapes are reduced in tone (or in some cases vanish altogether). Some of the cloud edges are feathered with a lightly (turpentine) moistened rag.|
|Linear detail is added on the crane and in the building and the masts behind the truck/shed are lightly laid in.|
|The use of a warm colour in the foreground and on the centre boat helps to visually bring them forward (and thus make the background recede more).|
|The sky is revisited and becomes much more close toned . I thought the foreground was too strong in colour so calmed it down a little with a light glaze.Furled sails have been added on the masts to the left.|
|The immediate foreground has changed once again! Perhaps I didn't make enough notes on site. Sometimes revisiting the subject matter halfway through the painting (if working in the studio) can reveal all sorts of missed possibilities.|
|Now only small adjustments are being made. A tone lightens or darkens, colour is made more or less strong and the distant landscape across the creek has been finished.|
|Again - drastic action in the foreground has removed much of the detail and made the painting less cluttered. My best plan now is to live with the painting for a couple of weeks to let the thicker paint dry through and resist the temptation to fiddle with it and meanwhile start another piece.|