I love the way the tower of Netley Hospital chapel pokes up above the trees and can be seen from all aspects. I took the photo for this watercolour sketch last year and I have a feeling it was from the IOW ferry (?). The sailing boat to the left balances the composition quite well. Done in around 4 hours in the studio on 200lb Two Rivers paper.
A pair of cottages built in the mid 1860s and moved from Ashtead Kent. The interiors beautifully reconstruct a farm worker's home in mid Victorian times.
It's been a while, once again, so here are a few quick sketches I did with my students at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton. A cold but bright day and with gloves and intermittent coffee only my feet suffered from standing on the frosty grass! I've spent previous days at Singleton and always a joy with so much to draw. The weatherboarded cottage I coloured later in the warm! All done in an A5 sketchbook on cartridge paper.
Although named Tudor House this Grade II listed building is early 17th century and built in local limestone near Peterborough. Due to be renovated with a new-build to the left in a vacant plot this was a pleasant commission just completed. Most new houses in this region have to be stone-built and often with Collyweston slate roofs in order to blend with the local vernacular. You'll notice that the roof slates are graded with the smallest at the top and largest at the gutter. Drawn traditionally in one-point perspective from architect's plans this took around 16 hours to complete.
I can't seem to avoid Mottisfont and here's another sketch I did the other day. This time a full frontal! I arrived early on a very grey and overcast morning to meet colleagues and students from BA(Hons) Illustration course at Solent University for a day's drawing. I had around an hour and a half before they would arrive so sat on a conveniently placed bench and did this. The challenge was to make the view come to life even without sunlight and shadows - I added the lawn stripes for effect. Looking forward to the spring weather so I can get outside more - it's been a long winter!
Here's the finished watercolour. The view is the same as the sketch but worked up from photographs taken on the day. I have tried to capture the drama of the castle against the lightening sky with the sun casting much of the building in its own shadow. Stokesay Castle stands proud in the valley of the river Onny just north of Ludlow. It was clearly designed to charm both its owners and onlookers when it was built in the late 13 century and is a visual treat of vernacular building today. This took nearly three days to paint but was worth the time and effort.
This is a departure from recent work posted. After visiting Stokesay Castle in Shropshire here is a location sketch I did - finished watercolour to follow.
If you wish to see more of my work I am having a one man show at Southampton Solent University during November and December - details to come. Also visit the Tudor House and garden in Bugle Street which has just reopened and will soon be selling postcards of my watercolours of the House and Westgate Hall in a couple of weeks.
Here is the finished watercolour and detail. I've tried to recreate a "medieval" atmosphere to this view by showing a stormy sky and sober tones to the mass of stonework in the building. I've also omitted some street furniture and used the existing trees and foliage to frame the picture either side.
This has been a while on the drawing board as I've been decorating and a short break in Ludlow (wonderful town for sketching) but here is stage three of God's House Tower.
Much of the inspiration for my work comes from the golden age of British watercolours during the late 18th and 19th centuries. John Ruskin's writing and drawings on the picturesque in art have always fascinated me as does the work of Turner, Girtin and Varley et al. I am constantly referring to the work of such artists whilst working on a watercolour and this is no exception. As the painting progresses I have a continuous struggle with the medium trying to move the paint across the surface until I am satisfied with the result: although often disappointed once the paint has dried. This is what makes me want to continue and improve.
God's House Tower is situated at the south east corner of Southampton's medieval walls. It was built in the late 13 century as a gate house and as part of the city's defences. It is now the Museum of Archaeology which opened in 1961.
The view I've chosen takes in the tower and gateway arch which gives an interesting perspective of both aspects of the building. To give an appreciation of brush strokes and technique I have posted an enlarged detail.
The medieval Wool House is situated on Town Quay Road and was built to store wool during the early part of the 15 Century. After a chequered history it now houses the City's Maritime Museum but is soon to be sold off for offices or retail once the collection is rehoused within Sea City, part of the Civic Centre development. With this in mind I wanted to portray the Wool House near to its original form. After some research (thanks Mike!) this is the result.
Here's the finished study which is approx 350 x 430mm image size. Once again rather more detailed than I anticipated but I feel the architectural forms deserved accurate description in this piece. The stone colour ranges from strong 'burnt sienna' through to tones of blue/grey and in its depiction meant several washes in order to build this up. A small amount of 'toothbrush' spatter and a few body colour highlights and its all done.
The final two studies are 'God's House Tower' and Wool House which will complete the 6 places of interest within the Old Town area of Southampton.
As the picture progresses it becomes easier to assess the tones which are central to the representation of this mass of stonework. I am using mixes of Cerulean Blue, Permanent Mauve, Alizaren Crimson and Yellow Ochre with touches of Burnt Sienna and Sepia. I am applying these in separate washes and wet in wet applications. The dark washes on the underside of the archway has established the complete tonal range of the building and contrasts against the view beyond. The figures help to give scale. I returned to take a few detailed reference photographs this morning and intend to make a few location sketches later in the week.
...mean't to scan this before this stage but here it is rather more advanced than anticipated. I'm working from several photographs of my own and others in order to get the stone colour right for this time of day and weather conditions. The north aspect of the building shows a variety of architectural details representing the importance of the city during different phases of its existence. Guarding the Bargate are two lions, reflecting the local legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton, the mythical founder of Southampton. The first lions were put up in 1522, when the Bargate was decorated for the visit of King Charles V of Spain. The original wooden lions were replaced by the current lead lions in 1743.
I have done an "artist's impression" of the Bargate for planning purposes a couple of years ago. This was from the "Below Bar" or the southern side and so I decided to view the monument from the north for this study which was, in effect the main entrance to the old City. The Bargate was built around 1180 and is constructed of stone and flint. It was the gateway to the walled city and formed part of its fortifications.
I am determined to treat this watercolour in a more loose manner particularly as it is such a large stone built structure - we shall see!
This is the finished watercolour. I've darkened the sky to the right with an additional wash of Alizarin Crimson/Cerulean Blue mix (as per Colin's comment) and touched up one or two small areas of the building - trying not to be too fussy! Hope you like it and watch this space for my next demonstration of St Michael's Church Southampton.
The side of the House was quite challenging due to the size - the overall image is only 300 x 430 mm - I could have worked 20% larger with this amount of detail. My palette for this area is basically 6 colours: Light Red, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson, Paynes Gray, Cerulean Blue and Permanent Mauve with a little Permanent White for highlights. I use several makes but mainly W&N Artists' Water Colour. The brushes I have been using recently are Rosemary & Co Sable series 33 nos 2, 4 and 6 with no 12 for the sky. These have a reasonable life and are half the price of W&N series 7 which are probably the finest sables.
The timber framing really stands out against the white render which I've eccentuated using warm and cool colours in the shaded areas beneath the roof projections on the gable ends. Without cast shadows to provide depth codes I am relying on the subtle tones and textures to explain the building's design in this study.
Tudor House is arguably Southampton's most important historic building, encompassing over 500 years of history on one site. The impressive timber framed house was built at the end of the 15th century by Sir John Dawtrey.
The House has undergone a £1.9million restoration scheme, which has been funded by the council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage. Tudor House Museum re-opens this summer.
I love painting old clay tile roofs and this one is has real character with weathered and discoloured areas covered in patches of moss and lichen. My aim is not to get too involved in detail but to give the impression that I have painted every tile! I am generally working from background to foreground which helps when judging tonality which is always difficult against the white of the paper. The roofs and stacks took around 1&1/2 hours.
Here's my current project which I've just started painting: Tudor House. The aim is to draw and paint buildings of particular interest in and around the old town area of Southampton with a view to publishing these in a guide to City walks. This is the first scan of several which I'll upload at keys stages of its development - watch this space!
Drawing on location is a sure way to recharge batteries and put all those worries aside. Drawing and sketching "en plein air" can be a most theraputic experience and a few hours spent at The Hospital of St Cross certainly provided this. The Hospital is part of several Grade 1 listed buildings in the serene and tranquil village of St Cross near Winchester including almshouses and a church dating back to 1132. Here you can compare my waterclour sketch, drawn in about two and a half hours, with a painting completed in the studio done from photographs taken on the day. I didn't quite get the proportions of the tower right - have to be more observant in future!