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Productive weekend – to Prague and back

I’m delighted with the two landscapes I’ve done over the weekend. The first is of the Charles Bridge, in Prague, and is a study in deep shadows and blinding sunlight. I’m really pleased with the way I’ve captured the blazing sun peeping out from behind the tower, creating the dark shadows of the two main pedestrians, as a gorgeous contrast to the hazy people walking in the shadows on the right of the painting. I tried to use as few colours as possible to keep the uniformity of the painting, and decided that the delectable (can colours be delectable?) quinacridone gold was sufficient on its own for the late afternoon golden yellows, whilst french ultramarine and burnt sienna between them would create enough of the dull blues, greys and deep dark shadows for the rest of the painting. I also love the use of diagonals in the painting, formed by the deep shadows in the bottom of the painting, accentuating the main couple in the foreground, as well as slope of the roof on the tall tower pointing down towards the the focal points of sun and the main couple in the foreground. The diagonal of shadow on the right leads the viewers eye back into the painting.

The second landscape is inspired by Lucy Felthouse’s infatuation and current obsession with Mow Cop in Cheshire. After seeing the photo of her latest visit, on her blog, I knew I wanted to paint it, as it looks so dramatically Gothic perched up on the hilly crag. Very reminicent of Jane Eyre and Rochester, wind swept moors and forlorn love! So I decided to let the sky speak for itself, and started the painting by wetting the paper and swirling the paint on with a large brush and seeing how the paint moved on the paper, the fluid shapes giving the basis of the moody sky and mystical clouds. When it had dried, I added to the cloud shapes, and put more colour in to hint at forbidding dark clouds and distant storms forming. After creating the sky (that sounds very biblical!), and making sure it was properly dry, I painted the heather covered rocks and crags, again letting the paint create the basic shapes on its own, and adding detail in the form of splattered paint, to hint at foliage and lichens. The final part was the dramatic architecture, lit by a bright unseen sun -very simply created by basic light and dark shapes to form the stonework, and because they are painted in such a sharp contrast they easily make the painting dramatic and interesting. I used alizarin crimson for the pinks in the sky, mixed with antwerp blue for the forbidding clouds and then burnt sienna and raw sienna for the ground, mixed with the same blue, giving a feeling of unity to the painting. Burnt seinna and antwerp blue made the deep darks of the stonework. I’ll know if its any good by Lucys reaction………

6 thoughts on “Productive weekend – to Prague and back”

  1. Sophisticate at Arms

    Having been to Prague twice, I feel you have really captured the late afternoon atmosphere on the Charles Bridge. I have a few photos of Prague in winter on my blog but none of the Charles Bridge.

  2. Jackie Adshead

    Thankyou. As you know the Charles Bridge is very atmospheric on its own, and always full of pedestrians, at any time of the day or night. I just wanted to try and capture that mood, and experience, by utilising the sunshine, people and shadows.

  3. Lucy Felthouse

    …and here’s my reaction – bloody hell you’re amazing woman! You haven’t even been (yet) but you’ve managed to capture the fascinating and forbidding air of the place! You really should go though, I’m sure with our similar taste you’ll love it as much as I do! That’s amazing, I love it!

  4. Jackie Adshead

    Thanks Lucy – I thoroughly enjoyed painting it, but if I’ve caught the essence of mystery about it, its because of the way you described it. I feel I know the place very well already!

  5. Lovely paintings, Jackie! I have visited Prague, and you have captured its essence quite well.

  6. Jackie Adshead

    Thanks Cherrie, Prague is a delightful city to paint, at any time of year.

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