Wednesday, 10 September 2008

A Painting A Day

I have started to paint a picture (almost) every day. This should improve my use of colour and composition, and it is rewarding to create something on a daily basis. Painting whatever I can see from our flat also teaches me how to deal with the fleeting effects of light, as I intend to start painting en plein air soon.

To practise mixing greens, I painted the tree in Netherwood Street, visible from our flat. I have tried to pay attention to the shadow and light areas and the temperature of the different planes of the foliage. The ever changing light was a further challenge to deal with.

This painting was done in 2 days really. Before Paul would eat them all, I quickly painted them.

Sky and clouds
These two cloud studies were done from our bedroom window. Cloud forms change incredibly fast and it was fun to paint against time.

Canterbury Cathedral
We went to Canterbury and paid a visit to the famous cathedral. The weather was brilliant and because the church was built of yellow stone, the flooding light set everything on fire. We must have spent several hours in there, and were blown away by the the 12th-century gothic architecture, the colours, the space! It's like walking into a forest, the gothic style leaps and soars like a rocket. The stained glass windows almost blindingly cast brilliant blues and reds on the cathedral space. I can imagine how impressed the people of the time must have been, pilgrims and visitors. I recently read about the gothic style in my book "European painting and sculpture" by Eric Newton - whilst the byzantine style of the previous centuries was concerned with refinement, the gothic style is the work of a lover. And it shows, the whole church just glows with passion.

I felt that this place just screamed to be put onto canvas. After taking several photographs I managed to work out perspective and composition on our way home. Several Dutch painters of the Golden Age painted church interiors, It would be good to study their paintings for tips on the use of colour and a 'greatness' effect. There are a few of those masterpieces in the National Gallery here in London. I have now prepared a linen canvas with a mixture of naples yellow, cerulean blue and a wee bit of alizarin crimson, to create a light olive-coloured ground. Once this is dry I can set up the dead layer and then take it from there.