When I visited Guernsey at Christmas I took loads of photos and knew that I would want to do a painting of it as soon as I could. In early January I looked though my photos to see which one was the gut reaction to the one I wanted to paint, and although Petit Bot was my favourite beach, I hadn’t got just one photo that depicted all that I felt I wanted to capture of Guernsey. I had a think about it, over a couple of days, and did a few quick pencil sketches of other beaches to see if that would encapsulate all that I wanted to put in my painting….
But it didn’t…
I kept going back to my photos of Petit Bot beach…
Whilst I was having a think about it I had a look through my stock of frames, and found one that I thought would be perfect for the painting, when I had finalised what it would be exactly..
The frame was reddish brown wood, with a cream mount, and the image size was 19.5 x 9.5 inches….MMmmm…..that would make the picture panoramic….
With that thought I looked again at my favourite photo of Petit Bot beach
And realised that if I added the one that would be to the left of it
And the one that would be to the left of that one
Then between the three photos I would have exactly the image I wanted for my painting..yay..happy artist!
I had decided to do the painting in acrylics as its perfect for building up colour and texture and form, and since it was going to be framed, decided to paint it on thick watercolour paper. I stretched the paper onto a board to make a flat taut surface then drew out the image, the defensive tower on the left of the painting, then the high hill with the pine trees on top then the rocky outcrops leading out to sea, with the sand and sea rolling in, and the stream that starts by the tower and flows down the beach to the sea… I had all in the picture that makes the character of that particular beach that I loved so much when I visited it.
I also knew I wanted a bright blue sky, the bright blue sea, and the trees in the photo around the tower to be more green and summery rather than the bleak ones of the December day that I took the photo on, with no sunshine and just flat light. I painted basic flat tones first to seal the whole of the paper then painted the sky first with the hint of white clouds in the sky, heavier over the land, and lesser over the sea. When I was happy with that I painted the rounded defensive tower and trees to the left, then the raised hill infront with the pine trees on the top, then the rocky outcrops to the right of it then the distant cliffs with the one on the right catching the ochre light. Then I painted the sea with the waves rolling onto the beach, then the rocks on the right hand side, then the beach, then the stream that flows from by the tower, across the beach and flows into the sea, and the hint of the light in the sea as the wet sand and ripples of sea and the flowing steam meet each other, wet and dry sand are always interesting to paint and capture their differences but also how they flow together within the landscape… one of my favourite bits is the pale pathway of sand leading towards the tower, it makes you want to go and explore it… I also love the darker sand below the rocks on the right hand side of the painting, it looks damp compared to the rest of the sand around it..
I love the sense of depth the landscape has, from the rocks in the sand on the right hand side right over to the far distant cliff catching the ochre light beyond it, and all the outcrops of rock inbetween. It has far more depth painting it like this, than just one photo creating the finished painting.
I am delighted with this painting, it captures all that I loved of Petit Bot beach, the cliffs, the rocky outcrops, the sand, the delightful stream running across it, the sea and the whole joyous feel of the beach.. I’ve done it justice, and am very very pleased with it, I made the right choice making it panoramic, and putting three photos together to create that effect! The painting is painted in acrylics on paper, measuring 19.5 x 9.5 inches, its called ‘Petit Bot, Guernsey’ and here it is in the frame, perfect for it isn’t it! I love it!!!