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Working on it and through it to capture the enigmatic magical  moments

Working on it and through it to capture the enigmatic magical moments

A couple of weeks ago I started work on the new painting that I’ve been wanting to do for the last eighteen months.. ever since I stayed in St Flour whilst travelling down the length of France and saw the magical sunlight as it set over those ancient rooftops, over the valley, down through the hills and up to the soaring heavens above, I wanted to paint that picture. I fell in love with it. I loved the way the roofs fell away down in the valley, I loved the way the dark shadows fell among the tall buildings and the way the sunlight caught the diverse roof tiles, I loved the way the horizon faded off into the distance and the way the final rays of sunshine caught a village about 5 miles away on the top of another hill, I loved the way I couldn’t see exactly where the distance was, and where the volcanic mountains of the Avergne started and the clouds above them started. I loved the feeling of space and time, and mans puny endeavours against the glory of millions of years of weather that had carved and formed that land. I loved it all and wanted to capture it. 

I had taken loads of photos of that village in the few hours whilst I stayed there, from late afternoon to mid morning the next day before we continued our journey. I had lots to chose from, and found one in particular that captured all I wanted within it. 

Since I knew I wanted to do it in watercolour, and on the largest sheet of watercolour paper I had – about 28 x 20 inches, I stretched a piece of the paper on a board and left it overnight to dry. The following day I started drawing out the design freehand. I didn’t need a ruler, all those wonky roofs and ancient walls weren’t straight and it added to the artistic input to draw them like they were! It took me a couple of days to fine tune the drawing, and when I was happy it looked right, I could start of the fun bit – painting the sky. 

And of course I was also using my new watercolour easel as it was ideal for me to do this picture on, and the whole point of buying it for pictures like this one! 

I knew I wanted the sky to show as it faded from cobalt blue to pinky blue, to orange, to pale lemon in the far distance. Easy enough to do a wash of that and I painted it on one quick go. 

But the next day when I went to see it, it wasn’t the exact way I had remembered it and went over it again to make more depth of colour, 

 

But after it had dried it still didn’t look right, so I decided to leave it and work on the background hills as they merged down into the valley. By then I was so fired up

 with it, I wanted to paint the trees and fields on the opposite side of the valley. 

When I looked at it the next day (because watercolours can only be viewed correctly in daylight, in artificial light they read wrong and can quickly get overworked and dry too dark) and again wasn’t happy with the way it looked, it could be better, it could be less obvious. But, lets wait and see what it looks like when the rest of the picture is painted in, the important part of the town itself. I started work on that, and worked the next day on it too, since again I was so fired up with it. 

By the following day I knew that I had to make an important decision, and that was it didn’t matter how many hours work I had put into it, it didn’t matter how much I wanted to paint that picture, it wasn’t right. It wasn’t doing the place and my memory of it justice. It was a mediocre painting, not a good one. It needed to be thought out better. So that day it became the “working painting” which means it doesn’t matter how much I paint over bits, or work out whether some bits should be more purply, or more ochre, or more terracotta, it will help me to plan properly and fully for doing it all again. 

And when I do it again it will look a million times better!

Cos this is a large piece of paper, and its capturing so much distance, as much as anything else. And then I will be happy to show it to you!

I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

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