Friday, 26 July 2013

Dawn light, Mevagissey

I didn't quite finish this big Pastel painting before the noon cut-off yesterday for the Royal Society of Marine Artists digital submission (you can send images of your paintings that you wish to be considered for the RSMA annual exhibition in London, and if the selectors wish to see them in the final judging next month, they tick them. That way it saves a lot of hassle and money transporting them physically if any/all are rejected).  I finished it off this morning, so will have to take a chance and take it down to London in a few weeks time and hope the selectors like it, along with any of the four that I did submit before yesterday's deadline.  Anyway, I took a few photos of this piece as I painted it, so here are the stages:
Painted on a grey sheet of Clairefontaine Pastelmat, I roughly and lightly sketched in the composition with charcoal, then put down the lightest tone of the bleached white end of the building, then a suggestion of the sky tones.
 Next, I established the backdrop of trees on the skyline and further developed the sky colours and tones.  It's never good policy to paint certain sections on there own to any degree of finish without adjacent tones. If you do and are not extremely fortunate, the colours and tones will almost certainly be off, because it's very difficult to see whether those tones are right in isolation.  Any colour or tone put next to another will influence it and alter how it looked before.
I also dropped in a few of the houses on and above the harbour, continuing with the white fronts of the buildings to give me the lightest light to compare with the subsequent tones.
Next I continued with the skyline of houses and more or less finished the sky, using a lot of rubbing with the fingers to soften the marks and give the clouds that lovely softness and add spacial depth. Note how much darker the light cloud is than the white house fronts.  Without those lit fronts, it would have been easy to have made the cloud much lighter, using Titanium White instead of Yellow Ochre and some warmer pinky-greys.
Continuing with the bottom half, I refined the buildings a little more and spotted in the hulls of the fishing boats - see how that gorgeous red boat immediately sings out from the grey ground!
Here all the vessels are given more definition and detail in preparation for the water they're sitting on.
Now, on the final leg, I had fun with the water itself - easily the most enjoyable part of the painting, partly because it knits everything together and it's the quickest passage of the whole piece!  I realised I'd made an error in the drawing by placing the bottom of the harbour wall on the left below the blue boathouse too low, so I rubbed out the little boats and adjusted everything accordingly.  Voila, and finito: 'Dawn Light, Mevagissey', Pastel 19 x 27 inches

10 comments:

  1. Such a lot of work, but so beautiful love the light and the water it
    glistens. Interesting how much you put into your work,
    thanks for shows us.

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    1. Thanks very much J and B, glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate your comments.

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  2. Gobsmacked! Totally wonderful painting. How long did it take you to complete? It is so bright and clean and fresh, takes me straight to Mevagissey!

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    1. Thanks Sharon! I started it Wednesday morning, worked right through to 2am, then again from 9 - 2 yesterday and fiddled about with it on and off today. We'll see whether the selectors like it.....

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  3. wow this is stunning, I love the way you have captured the light. it sings. well done.

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    1. Thank you Moira! I'll keep trying....

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  4. Enjoyed the wip in pastels immensely Peter. It is amazing how it comes together in your distinctive style. Kind Regards

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  5. Just playing catch up after a mini holiday. Love this pastel and the WIP (work in progress) stages are fascinating. Just the sort of sky we see all too often at our seaside towns/villages. Do you ever use sanded paper (Fisher 400 or UART for instance) with pastels?

    Good luck with the selectors for all your submissions.

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    1. Thanks Sue - Work In Progress, of course! I don't like Fisher 400 - too coarse for my taste, and not heard of UART. I use Pastel Card sometimes, although I sand that down a bit. I love Pastelmat - its very slight abrasiveness just suits me, although the downside is it curls up at the edges which is a bit of a pain when it comes to frame it.

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