near Newport and a peaceful hour-and-a-half in the sunshine. I'm finding less time for leisurely sketching these days so I took advantage of the fine weather on Saturday. A4 sketchbook on 90Ib Canson NOT watercolour paper.
in Islington done for a private client in a traditional draughtsmanship style of the 18th and 19th centuries. This building was designed in 1837 for the Islington Literary and Scientific Society and housed a library, lecture theatre and museum. After remaining empty for a few years it was turned into a theatre in 1972 and given Grade II listing. 380mm x 480mm watercolour over pencil on stretched 90Ib Canson Montval Aquarelle NOT watercolour paper.
was a commission from a private client to create an accurate waterclour of this seven hundred year old building, now a hotel. Done from photographs on 140Ib Arches NOT watercolour paper at about A3 size
at St Michael's church with Urban Sketchers Southampton. Pencil drawing took about 50 minutes and watercolour added later. Done in A4 sketchbook on Canson Montval Aquarelle 90Ib NOT. Happy New Year!
recently completed for a friend's birthday. The lighting was the most important element in this view and the cast shadows work as depth codes in helping to define the third dimension as, in this case, the viewer's position is perpendicular to the building's façade. 275 x 416 mm watercolour over pencil on 140Ib Arches NOT.
and here's a colour version - done for promotional purposes. I have retouched the gutter fold of the sketchbook for aesthetic reasons.
and a packed gallery at the auction of the top 20 artworks to go under the hammer at the Twenty20 Art for Oakhaven Hospice in Lymington. My watercolour of Titchfield Abbey raised £60 towards this worthy cause out of a total of well over £2000!
Sketch done looking down the lane towards Jermyn's House. A4 sketchbook on cartridge paper
is a group exhibition, part of Herefordshire Art Week, representing 25 artists in which I have my watercolour of Wardour Castle (See my post of 27th June). Here is the PV invitation to you all and here is a link to the website. The PV is on Thursday 8th September 6.30 to 8.30pm, if you are in the area, at St Michael's Church Discoed nr Presteigne LD8 2NW and the show runs from 10th to 18th September.
Houghton Lodge by the River Test - an early example of "picturesque" Gothic built around 1793 - a grade II listed building with 14 acres of lovely gardens. Watercolour over pencil in A4 sketchbook on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT.
It's always a commitment when looking to settle down for an hour or two's sketching, and sometimes a certain view will "draw" you in and this is one such case. Having walked along the pathway, seen here in the centre of the sketch, and turning back to assess the vista, the composition was there. Watercolour in A4 sketchbook on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT.
and here's the finished piece. I haven't kept a note of the hours spent on this one as it's been fitting it in when time allowed. I could use the term "a labour of love" but that sounds like it has been a chore which it hasn't. My passion is combining suggested detail with atmospheric lighting and how light falls across a surface. As this view is very square-on, the cast shadows are instrumental in describing shape and form giving a sense of depth within the structure. Soon to be exhibited - details to come!
commission for a planning application to show a listed cottage with new extension disguised around existing flint walling and the addition of a "new" thatched roof.
about my one-off sketching day in Salisbury on Saturday 9th July starting at 10.00am in the Arts Centre. At just £40 for the day it's a bargain! Come and draw the lovely medieval buildings, eat lunch and ending up at the Cathedral for a "crit" and a few photographs to record the day. Turner would be proud of you: Sunshine guaranteed!
Salisbury Cathedral from the East c.1798 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
drawn yesterday from Millbank and, coincidentally, it was this day that it was opened in 1932 so a fitting sketch to mark its 84th birthday!
and its almost there. I'm recording these stages on my iphone as the work is too big to fit on the scanner at around 600 x 440mm, so will have to scan in two sections and join in Photoshop once done.
shows my working process from the left across the structure completing each section stage by stage. This method works for me as you only need to keep wet a small part of the work at any one time, gradually adding colour and tone. I'm struggling to find time to spend on this but will post next stage soon!
if anyone is in the area on Saturday 9th July come and join us for a spot of sketching the beautiful City of Salisbury - click here for link. Here's a quick sketch showing the cathedral nave from the west end. Watercolour over water-soluble ink on A5 cartridge.
and if you know where this is message me! Watercolour over pencil on 140Ib arches
at Southampton Art Society and here's me in full flow with finished piece done in around an hour and a half and sold on completion!
across the South Downs looking west from Ditchling Road. After attending The Village of Type event at Ditchling Museum over the weekend we spent an hour or so in the glorious sunshine. Watercolour on cartridge paper in A4 sketchbook.
done for a silent auction to be held at the St Barbe Museum and Gallery Lymington in September. Twenty 20 Art is a fundraising initiative started in 2013 to raise money for Oakhaven Hospice and I'm pleased to be able to support this cause. All artworks are 20 x 20 cm and will be on display from 3rd to the 9th September so if you are in the area do take a look and place a bid!
and a watercolour showing the church of St. John the Baptist. I've been meaning to find this church for years mainly due to the fact that William Gilpin was the vicar from 1777 until 1804. Gilpin was an artist and writer and instrumental in founding the Picturesque movement. Done in A4 sketchbook on Arches NOT 90Ib paper in around one and a half hours on location and finished off in the studio.
and my pencil sketch done on location and subsequent colour version done in my studio. This is a view of no 1 court where you can sit and listen to a re-enactment of the proceedings after the Titanic disaster. In A4 sketchbook on Arches 90Ib NOT watercolour paper.
View of the north (arts) entrance as seen from Watts Park. This was the last wing to be completed in 1939 when the library was added. Done as a leaving gift for a colleague. Watercolour on Arches NOT 140Ib at 250mm x 340mm.
at Red Hot Press and and it's time to pack up after a really successful workshop. Here's some of the great work produced:
done with Urban Sketchers Southampton at Tudor House Museum Southampton. A view looking out from a first floor window overlooking the back garden. A3 sketchbook on 300gsm watercolour paper in around one hour. Happy New Year!
and something I did over 30 years ago after the excesses of Christmas. Airbrushed with bodycolour on paper 110 x 140mm
done as an experiment on a sheet of Arches 300gsm NOT paper. Having just received a pack of this paper and not having used Arches for a while I thought I'd try it out and contrived this view - nowhere in particular. 27cm x 43cm in around 2 and a half hours.
done on location just outside Burley in the west of the Forest in around an hour and completed in the studio. Having spent 7 years living in the Forest I have a nostalgic attachment to the area and this is a typical view across the heathland. A3 sketchbook on 140Ib NOT.
and a pencil and watercolour sketch showing St Margaret's church. The drawing was done on location in around 20 minutes and coloured in the studio. Ditchling Museum of art and Craft is nestled into the Sussex South Downs and a treasure of art and artifacts relating to the likes of Eric Gill, Edward Johnston and David Jones amongst other artists of the early 20th century. Cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook.
somewhere in Hampshire - any ideas where? A rather dull watercolour on a rather dull day but a pleasant one all the same. This took around one and a half to two hours on location with some stronger contrast washes and "scratching out" added in the studio to give it some life - not sure it has - strong lighting and cast shadows would have done wonders! A3 size on 140Ib NOT.
of Titchfield Abbey done in around an hour or so then a hasty retreat when they started to lock the grounds - a night spent in a ruined abbey definitely wasn't on the day's agenda! Pencil and watercolour in A5 sketchbook on Saunders Waterford 140Ib NOT with a few finishing touches in the studio. I'm currently planning a series of ruins and castles and this may lead to a larger work.
and for those who don't know that's the Isle of White. Did this quick watercolour sketch with my new students during "Freshers" week: around 30 mins on cartrdge paper in A5 sketchbook.
with Urban Sketchers Southampton this morning and here's my sketch: a view looking north across the Cathedral Close. I was lucky to be sitting comfortably on a bench when the sun appeared and everything became bathed in strong light and dark shadows - the perfect conditions for an urban sketcher! On heavy cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook in around one and a half hours. I prefer a slightly off-white heavyweight cartridge for architectural sketching which takes a wash quite well over pen or pencil detail.
done mainly "en plein air" and finishing touches in the studio. 140Ib NOT A3 paper in a very old sketchbook I've had for at least 25 years and it shows, but a nice paper all the same. A bit chilly to start with but the late afternoon sun came out after about an hour or so into the piece so I strengthened the cast shadows afterwards. Definitely worth a visit and a picnic on a warm day.
at a remote bend on the River Test near Redbridge as the sun dropped low in the sky creating dark shadows. About 30 mins on Cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook.
and after a few finishing touches here is a sketch showing Netley Abbey. Started off in the rain but it soon cleared up and and I was able to add a few cast shadows which lifted the sketch a little. Back in my studio I added a few pen lines and highlights. It's a bit of a homage to John Piper whose style I really admire.
and two quick sketches in A5 sketchbook. Top: Moot Hall Aldeburgh; Below: a beach view. 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT.
in Abbey Fields Kenilworth. A loose sketch looking west across what was the St Mary's Abbey farmland. Pencil and watercolour on cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook
Top is Seatown from Golden Cap and below is Golden Cap from Seatown both done in watercolour over pencil in Saunders Waterford 140Ib NOT A5 sketchbook.
showing Cerne Abbas Church, from Abbey Street. Pencil and watercolour on cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook in around an hour and three quarters.
done whilst staying in Seatown Dorset. Here are two panoramas showing a view across Seatown and the Cerne Abbas Giant. Cartridge paper in A5 sketchbook. More to come...
to produce this watercolour showing the new cricket pavilion at Twyford School. The batsman walking out is meant to be the Hampshire County cricketer "Jimmy" Adams. Watercolour 28 x 42 cm on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT
at new venue in the recently opened Wool House Dancing Man Brewery in Southampton. If you missed the show at the City Art Gallery you can see it here whilst sampling food and drink delights in this grade one listed building.
showing a recent commercial piece - my usual subject of vernacular-style buildings with traditional materials to the Peterborough region. This one took a while due to the presence of the Great Crested Newt! I still set these perspectives up by hand as I know what I will get and I prefer to draw than sit at my computer (I do use SketchUp from time to time).
from Saturday's one-day class at Red Hot Press. Once again this was a first-time effort using watercolour for all 8 students who attended my workshop: judge for yourself the outstanding results achieved. Watch this space for dates of forthcoming classes.
of Ferry Lane near to the Cathedral. I did this from a park bench as a pencil sketch and applied colour in my studio from a snapshot. Done in A5 sketchbook on off-white heavyweight cartridge paper.
because when I'm working in the chapel it's a break to sit outside for an hour or two with my sketchbook. This one shows a memorial to seafarers which is hidden away. There was little sun while I was there so I took a few snaps later and put the shadows in back in my studio. A5 Sketchbook on Waterford 140Ib NOT.
I finally got round to finishing my demo piece during my Watercolour Basics class at Red Hot Press a few weeks ago. It's pretty much the same as last year's class (I even used the same brand of red wine!) but I think I'm getting better! I need to find time to do more...
at Hamble and I christened a new sketchbook (thanks Katherine!). Looking out from Hamble Quay - A5 sketchbook on 140Ib NOT Saunders Waterford.
on my Watercolour Basics course. Here are some demonstration pieces and teaching material and exercises used - more to come! Still a couple of places left on my Watercolour Day on Saturday 8 August .
and the penultimate session of my watercolour course at Red Hot Press. Here are some excellent work in progress examples of this week's still life. Considering these are first attempts by all, what encouraging results we achieved using all the techniques covered so far including flat and gradated washes; wet into wet and dry brush applications.
showing day three of my current watercolour class last Wednesday at Red Hot Press. Loads of potential with some real talent here. I'm really looking forward to next week's still life - watch this space! If anyone missed out on this course and is still interested, look out for my Watercolour Day on Saturday 8 August - a bargain at £60 with all materials supplied.
with Urban Sketchers Southampton - a view from Hythe in A5 sketchbook on Kent cartridge paper
done from a photo taken last July whilst staying in Lisbon with two dear friends who were performing there. Lovely memories - lovely countryside. 25 x 35 cm on 140Ib NOT Waterford.
of what's to come at tomorrow's Watercolour Basics class at Red Hot Press - really looking forward to it!
over Cemetery Lake. Watercolour 25 x 35 cm on Wookey Hole hand-made 140Ib ROUGH
after doing commercial work I needed to unwind and just thought I'd throw paint at some paper and this was the result!
Here are two demonstrations done with a limited palette for my current Watercolour Basics class running over 5 weeks at Red Hot Press. Day one went well (I think?) and I have 9 enthusiastic students. Looking forward to next week's landscape demo. For anyone interested I am running a Watercolour Day on Saturday August 8 also at RHP. These two pieces were done on Bockingford NOT 140Ib both about 17 x 27 cm in around 30 minutes each.
leaving Southampton a few weeks ago. I did this from a photo taken on my iphone as an experiment on a new hand-made paper I have acquired. It's on an old paper that I bought from a stock rescued from the old Wookey Hole Mills in Somerset some 50 years ago! It's hand-made 300gsm and the image is 26 x 32cm - a little too small for this rough surface but a nice texture all the same - I'll need to work bigger next time I use this one!
Here's the finished watercolour: 28 x 43 cm on Arches 140Ib NOT
done yesterday in the warm sunshine. I never tire of sketching in the cemetery and given my studio is here it's easy to stroll and sketch. This is of the 'other' chapel done sitting just outside my chapel in about an hour or so. Look out for my next post which is a larger watercolour of this view done from my ipad...
of a view from Jamaica Road looking north east along River Neckinger towards The Thames. I did this from a photo I took a while ago after walking from Shad Thames. It took under 3 hours and was just an experiment really as I wanted to see what I could achieve within this time: 423 x 296 mm on 140Ib Waterford NOT .
with Urban Sketchers Southampton. One hour 15 mins on A5 heavyweight cartridge paper
in the old cemetery. Done from a photo I took last winter on my ipad it shows The Lodge in Southampton's Old Cemetery on a cold, misty morning. A3 on Waterford 140Ib Rough.
Are you an aspiring watercolour artist? Would you like to improve your skills? Are you struggling to achieve your potential? If you can answer yes to any one of these questions then this short course is for you. Delivered over 5 Wednesday mornings starting on 27th May, each session will help you to realise those latent skills we all possess and will enable you to master this fascinating medium. Unleash your creative talent - expert tuition guaranteed!
For further information and booking form go to: http://www.redhotpress.org.uk/courses/single-technique/watercolour-basics.php
The Documentary - worth 10 minutes of your time and featuring yours truly!
I'm chuffed that I managed to get a feature page in next month's Artists and Illustrators Magazine - on sale now!
at Southampton City Art Gallery to mark the 50 Years of City Status - opening this Saturday afternoon from 1.00 to 3.00pm - all welcome!
sketch from Saturday's Urban Sketchers Southampton sketch crawl. Looking west from the north car park - sunny but breezy: about one and a half hours. A5 sketchbook on heavyweight cartridge.
this time from the South West. I did the pencil sketch on Sunday whilst sitting on a convenient gravestone and applied watercolour later on. Hand-made A5 sketchbook on heavyweight cartridge. Design Chapel
Christchurch in yet another hand-made sketchbook
in the March issue of Hampshire Life - pick up your copy: on the shelves now!
of a new house design in a beautiful Gloucestershire setting using traditional materials of oak, stone and slates.
Sketchcrawl in a busy West Quay Southampton. Pen drawing on location and later watercolour version. A good turn-out yesterday with around twenty braving the hoards of retail worshippers in this 21st century consumer cathedral.
of the building-site showing frantic floor laying. It took a matter of hours to lay 18 precast concrete floor beams with only two workers and a crane. There were lots of measurements taken prior to the lowering of the last beam and some strenuous crowbaring but it eventually fit - Phew!
I managed this quick sketch whilst on a study trip with illustration students to Mottisfont yesterday. Done from the top floor exhibition room looking out over the River Test. I was drawn to the lovely old plane tree which reveals so much more of its gnarled trunk in wintertime. In many ways the countryside offers so much more of its secrets at this time of the year - as long as you can find somewhere warm or cope with the bracing weather!
and I'm pleased to be back in my office to carry on with these observations. The university is now setting up a seperate blog just for my sketches - details to follow...
as they packed-up for the holidays yesterday lunchtime - managed this before they left! Looking forward to 2015!
of the building-site. I have over 40 pages in my sketchbook now and the building is almost level to my 3rd floor office. I'm now on waving terms with the workers!
in Winchester's Christmas Market. Did this pencil sketch in my A5 sketchbook and splashed on some watercolour later in the warmth of my kitchen!
Struggling to find time during daylight hours and even then it's quite dark these days - here's some I did last week. The concrete's pouring thick and fast (or should that be "thin") and they are casting pillars for floor 3 now. I shant have much to draw soon!
I'm thinking I might do some drawing from inside the building site - if they give me permission? Maybe in larger sketchbook? This is getting serious!
Good to see my illustrations being put to good use in this article in Dwell magazine for Pearsons Estate Agents - nice one Rockit Design!
The new teaching facility here at Solent University is moving ahead at a pace:
The result of yesterday's Urban Sketchers Southampton Sketchcrawl. This was done in the Old Cemetery in about one and a half hours in glorious sunshine - one of the best meets of the year! 185gsm Canson NOT A5 sketchbook.
Latest developments at East Park Terrace...
to have work published in the autumn edition of the FoSMAG Newsletter on the same page as Whistler and Eurich - very humbling!
Here are some more building site sketches: looking forward to the rising of the building itself due for completion by Xmas 2015.
I've been casually sketching from my office window at Solent Uni, the groundworks progress for the new building here at East Park Terrace - here are some of them - done in A5 cartridge paper sketchbook:
Spent a nice day on the Island yesterday and did this sketch of part of the former royal residence from the south lawn. It's changed very little since it was completed in 1851 and is a joy to visit within delightful grounds. I'd like to return and complete the right hand side. A5 on Canson 185gsm watercolour paper in around an hour.
Spent some time this weekend at Red Hot Press Open Studios at The Old Cattle Market and did this. If you haven't been there it's got that "out of the way" feel that time has passed it by. The Central Bridge arches house several activities from a boxing gym and butchers through to the home of over twenty artists - a hive of activity! Open Studios continues next weekend from 11.00 am to 5.00 pm both days.
You may recall this pen sketch of Bugle Street I did a few weeks ago which I have taken into Photoshop for colouring. I'm experimenting with better and more simple ways of doing this and if any one's interested let me know: it's a good way of applying colour as an alternative to traditional methods and with a little practice is quite rewarding. Meanwhile it's out with the brushes...
I started this one as a demo piece for my one-day residency at the Spice Island Art Trail back in June. With a few hours on my hands I thought I'd better finish it before teaching and commercial work takes over. Its from a photo I took walking up to the chapel in the Royal Victoria Country Park. The weather was quite changeable and I have tried to reflect this in the sky and light effect. 37 x 29 cm on 140Ib Waterford NOT
by adding layers of watercolour washes to my original ine drawing. Linear perspective is enhanced by aerial perspective using warm and cool colours applied to this sketch.
Three versions of a pen drawing showing Southampton's medieval walls: original location drawing, watercolour wash and Photoshop
of the Civic Centre from outside the Cellar. I did the ink drawing on location and added the colour washes afterwards. I tend to look for perspective in these urban views which "draws" the viewer into the picture - also very helpful in acheiving scale and proportion. You can learn more by booking onto my drawing and watercolour weekend in November at Red Hot Press.
I'm planning on running a drawing / watercolour weekend for beginners / intermediates on 15/16 November at Red Hot Press in Southampton. The cost will be £115 inclusive. Should you be interested let me or Katherine know and I will send you details.
About 5 years ago I was commissioned to produce several illustrations for a book commemorating the tercentenery of the Sir John Cass Foundation. One illustration was of the SJC's Foundation Primary School in Aldgate. I have just completed the very same view for the second time which was presented to the headteacher on his retirement. The second version is at the top which I feel I have improved on the original by increasing contrast and cast shadows and by darkening the slate roof - not much in it otherwise. This commission was a first for me (or should I say second!)
A sketch whilst sitting outside an Italian restaurant drinking coffee on the house (thanks to Carolina!). Done in my A5 sketchbook in around an hour and a half plus some tinkering to darken the foreground afterwards. It took me a few gos to get the proportions of the tower right with the rest of the building. I think this is a good view and might return with a larger sheet of paper (for more free coffee!)
in Southampton? Here's a sketch done yesterday whilst sitting outside the Valentine café in Oxford Street. The café closed before I had finished applying colour so completed from a snap!
Ink line and wash sketch of Holy Rood - lovely to stand for a while in the shade and hear the chimes. A5 on Canson Aquarelle 185 gsm NOT.
to christen my new sketchbook - a view of the south side of the City Museum Portsmouth. Built in 1897 it is grade 2 listed.
Here's my hand-made sketcbook made by Katherine. It's A5 and made with one of my favourite papers Canson watercolour 185 gsm NOT which is quite heavily sized so will stand wiping out for changes etc
Here are a few quick sketches from a recent city break. Clockwise from top left: Rua Augusta Arch, Statue of King Jose 1 Commerce Square, view from apartment in Alfama, Lisbon street scene, aspects of Sintra.
Aerial view of Fordingbridge Hospital due for conversion into residential accomodation. An interesting commission, my brief was to portray the existing listed building in proposed landscaping. Originally a workhouse the building was designed in the Queen Anne style and has a date stone of 1885.
Dark Skies over Soton - 30 min sketch 14 x 21 cm on cartridge paper. A good turn-out today despite inclement weather first thing: nearly lost my cap in gusty winds, a reminder of conditions during en plein air!
Here's this week's demonstration watercolour - "Landscape with Buildings" from Monday's class at Red Hot Press. I was determined to complete this view in class this time which I almost did - just added some foreground definition, so quite pleased. I went for a "big sky" effect on this one!
Here's my demo landscape (with water) from last week's "Watercolour Basics" class at Red Hot Press: 45 minutes in the class and a couple of hours finishing off in the studio. It was loosely based on the Cemetery Lake on Southampton Common but ended up entirely different as I forgot my reference photo and had to make it up! Fortunately I had already made an outline sketch to work on. Quite small at 24cm x 34cm on 140Ib NOT Waterford. It's week 4 today and landscape #2 with buildings.
Come and visit me at the Spice Island Art Trail this Sunday in The Royal Naval Club Old Portsmouth between 11 and 4. I have a stand and will be demonstrating and selling watercolours and prints.
Demonstration piece done for my current Watercolour Basics class at Red Hot Press. About 40 mins in class and completed in my studio: around 3 hours altogether. I don't get to do a still life very often - never had a commission - so it was a joy to complete this. Based upon a Paul Cezanne still life I saw at the Ashmolean a few weeks ago. We have moved on to a seascape - I'll post the results next week.
As a rather less than regular Urban Sketcher I thought I'd make the effort today and set off on my Raleigh for a spot of sketching. This is a 40 min drawing looking towards the Mountbatten memorial statue in Grosvenor Square. Cartridge paper 21 x 29 cm Seawhite's sketchbook.
This is my second Urban Sketchers event and I was one of ten to turn out today on an initially wet and stormy morning. However as soon as I put pen to paper the sun came out - a clear sign that the art of sketching heralds fine weather! This is a sketch looking south towards the gas column in Houndwell Park.
Here is the third of my London buildings commission. Channel 4's headquarters at 124 Horseferry Road was designed by Richard Rogers and completed 20 years ago - 8 years after his Lloyd's building. This presented me with a real challenge in order to represent the building both accurately and aesthetically - you can judge the result for yourself... Done on Saunders Waterford 140 Ib NOT at 570 x 380 mm.
This is the second of the London buildings commission. The RSA building in John Adam Street is the home of The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. It was designed by the Adam brothers and completed in 1774 as part of their innovative Adelphi scheme. An interesting fact is that the statues above the pediment and the wall plaques are not original. These were left off at the time due to cost restrictions and the plaques were added in 1980 and the statues in 1994. The artwork measures 500 x 360 mm.
There are still some places left on my forthcomimg Watercolour Basics class at Red Hot Press next month. The course runs over 5 Mondays in June from 2.00 to 5.00pm starting on the 2nd. We will be tackling various subjects from basic colour theory applied to still life and landscapes - something for every one!
Just completed the first illustration of four London buildings commissioned by a private client. This is the Bishopsgate Institute designed by Charles Harrison Townsend and established in 1895. It's one of three major buildings that Townsend designed in the Arts and Crafts style, the other two being Whitechapel Gallery and the Horniman Museum. My client wanted the artwork as large as I could work comfortably and this measures 600mm x 320mm.
Would you believe it...Here's a link to the award details: http://www.gordonbruce.com/matt_bruce/pages/memorial_award.html
I did this demonstration piece at a school workshop last week which I finished off in my studio. It took about 20 minutes at the workshop and I spent about an hour or so finishing it off. 290 x 440 mm on Waterford 140Ib NOT.
managed to find a few hours to do some outdoors sketching with my mate Martin yesterday. Here's a shot of my old fisherman's stool with sketchbook just before we left this idyllic spot near Lyndhurst. Cleared out those old cobwebs.
I'm pleased to say I have another work accepted for this year's RI exhibition at the Mall Galleries. It's the "Boating Lake" I had on display at Mottisfont last year - let's hope it sells this time! You are all very welcome to come to the PV on the 1st April - let me know - I shall be there around 6ish. Invitation to come...
Spent a morning drawing with students in the Mayflower Theatre Southampton. We were up in the gods and with low lighting everywhere except for these two boxes I sat at the front row and did this sketch in around 30 mins. I may go back next week and draw from the stalls.
This is the poster that Julia Moszowicz and I had designed by two 3rd year graphics students at Solent School of Art, Lilly Marfy and Oliver Russell: thanks both - a great job! It was for a poster presentation at the recent illustration conference "The Science, Imagination and the Illustration of Knowledge" at the Pitt Rivers in Oxford. Julia and I intend to pursue the theme of linking topographical illustration with Michel Foucault's Heterotopia and hope to give a paper later in the year. The quote on the poster makes more sense when I tell you that it refers to a view in a mirror. The illustrations are taken from a sketch and painting I did of Stokesay Castle.
and Christmas Greetings!
Good to see the set of paintings together and framed - it's been a year since I've seen them. The exhibition is on at the Solent Showcase gallery till November 9.
You are all invited to the opening of the Port Perspectives exhibition at the Showcase Gallery Guildhall Square Southampton on Thursday 17 October. Times 6.30 to 8.00pm - see you there!
Proud artist and his art at Mottisfont Open exhibition - thanks Chris! Open Spaces is on until 17 November.
I thought you might like to see a pen and wash sketch I did in my A5 sketchbook of the Castle with bridge in foreground. The view is from the same position as the previous finished watercolour.
Done from a location sketch and photos I took last year whilst visiting Ludlow. Watercolour 350 x 530 mm
To date this is the widest picture I have done at over 620 mm - I'll need to invest in a larger portflio! The Flats is the open space between the Cemetery Lake and the Boating Lake and during mid August the grass was so dry it had turned brown. The mist seemed to hovver just above ground level almost opaque at its most dense.
I'm very pleased to have two watercolours accepted into the forthcoming exhibition "Open Spaces " to be held at Mottisfont House. The two works: "Mist across The Flats" and "Boating Lake (at Dawn)", were done from photos I took early one morning on Southampton Common. The dawn sky was tinged with red and the mist rose from the dew covered landscape creating a serene atmosphere which I was keen to capture. The show opens on 28 September until 17 November.
This is my other sketch done on the spot at Bramdean Common.
Yet another sunset, this one shows the view from my sister's house in Gundleton. Done from a photo taken on the ipad I lightened-up the foreground as a raw file and tweaked it in Photoshop to make out some features. I also gave the horizon a warm tone to express the fading light.
I spent a lovely bank holiday sketching this quaint old church on Bramdean Common with my friend Kate. The church was built in 1883 in just 5 days and is made out of corrugated iron. It was built for the use of gypsies and commoners who used the woods at that time.
From a photo I took sitting on a coach on the M3 returning from a day in London with the students. Watercolour 280 x 390 mm
on the paper in a sketchbook I just found buried in the spare room. It's years old and definitely watercolour paper so I did this to see how it holds paint. Done from a photograph on my ipad which I took of Little Venice when I was there recently. I think it must be Waterford so will use on my forthcoming sketching day-out on Monday - lets hope it stays dry: heading off to deepest darkest Meon Valley! Have a good BH weekend!
I did this soon after we moved in to our house three years ago. It's the old shed which we didn't have the heart to replace: its solid as a rock! Rustic and rather picturesque don't you think?
I'm still waiting to start a commercial job so in the meantime I did this. I took the photograph for this a few weeks ago when the atmosphere produced this dramatic reflection on Southampton Water. I was inspired by looking at one of Turner's watercolours on-line and found an old piece of heavy Whatman rough paper which was perfect for the job! I've never done anything with so much contrast before - what do you think?
Here's some "work in progress" by my evening class students. Great results achieved in less than 2 hours - well done everybody and keep it going! Whose interested in a follow-up intermediate's class in the near future?
and what better way to enjoy it than making a watercolour sketch! A spot in the north between Fritham and Brook - a blissful break away from it all.
I did this as a final demo for the last of my evening classes. Taken from a random source on-line and copied from my ipad I timed it to about 50 mins to fit in with the 2 hour class. Done on 140Ib Bockingford NOT surface. Look out for some of the excellent work done by my students in my next posting.
Where am I?
This is the demonstration piece I did for my evening class group this week at Red Hot Press. Actually I completed it in my studio after introducing basic techniques and applications to landscape. We are using a Daler Rowney NOT 140lb paper which is not very forgiving and I wouldn't use it for a finished piece but good for the beginner.
This one I did in the searing heat in around 10 minutes - too hot to stay any longer!
I've taken on a large commercial project so I'm just taking opportunities to sketch outside when I need a break. Here's a few done in my A5 sketchbook over the last few days - see if you can identify locations...
I did this on location and finished off in the studio. The wool House was built in 1417 as a warehouse for the wool trade with Flanders and Italy. Later it was used as a prison and is now awaiting it's future role. The drawing for this watercolour took around an hour and and I spent a further two hours laying basic washes before finishing at the Chapel - the roof was a joy to study!
Make sure you get to the Wool House this summer for some exciting arts events and exhibitions - here's link: Element Arts
There are still a couple of places left on my watercolour class starting next Wednesday 10 July from 7 to 9.00 pm in Southampton. Ideal for those wishing to revive past skills as well as for those new to the medium. Go to Red Hot Press for further information.
This is a sketch of St Andrew's church at Raveningham Norfolk. The church is a "round tower" with a Norman octagonal and castellated top. Done in around 1 1/2 hours at approx 300 x 400mm.
This view is just behind the Bear and Ragged Staff public house at Michelmersh. To the left is the lovely 12 century parish church of St Mary which has a most attractive wooden tower - a must to draw in the near future! Done on waterford "rough" surface 140Ib paper at approx 340 x 500mm.
Remember those damp misty mornings we thought would never end? I decided to capture one in watercolour as a reminder and here it is: The Common early one morning - recognise where it is? answers on a postcard...
Here's something different - I did this a few months ago after receiving an email from Alan Titchmarsh (or rather his secretary) asking me to donate an artwork on a postcard. Titchmarsh is President of Gardening for Disabled Trust and the idea was to invite a wide range of people to submit original works on a postcard for auction. Submissions included famous and unknown artists as well as politicians and celebrities and no one would know who did each card. The lucky bidders would receive a bargain! As it happens the turn out was dissapointing and not many cards were sold but my card went for £35! Congratulations (or commiserations) to whoever bought mine!
A commission (from my son!) of this remote 17th century building in the south of France which he visited this year. Done from his photographs on Arches 140Ib paper 340 x 460 mm
This view is looking west and shows the existing tree and buildings in the background. Notice the rills which are designed to bring water from the pond to irrigate the garden.
This view was set-up as a 3D model using SketchUp and shows the view looking north towards the entrance to the existing rose garden. The emphasis in this view is the water feature and to predict how the cherry trees canopy will provide shade to visitors strolling the gardens.
I did a series of visuals for Dan Lobb, garden designer extraordinaire a few months ago and here are the results. Dan is a Gold Medal winner at Hampton Court Show and was short listed for this design competition to 3 finalists. Dan's brief was to create an innovative design for the soon to be restored walled garden at Mottisfont. Unfortunately as I write this has been put on hold and is awaiting further funding. Good luck Dan!
I started this a while ago as a result of a conversation I had with someone in the Oceans shop in Southampton. Oceans opened earlier this year as a souvenir shop and restaurant and houses an exhibition space celebrating the maritime history of the docks and cruise ships visiting the City. They sell my postcards of Westgate Hall and Tudor House and it was suggested I did one of the memorial as well. So here it is! Done on Arches 140Ib NOT surface at approx 280 x 400mm
You are all cordially invited to the First Gallery Portfolio Weekend in conjunction with Red Hot Press print workshop this Saturday and Sunday 15/16 June. You will be able to buy prints and originals straight from six artists' portfolios and I will also be demonstrating my work over both days.
Watercolour of Netley Abbey. I did this from a photo I took a few years ago on a cold early spring morning. Image size 280 x 410 mm done on Arches 140Ib NOT. One of several for sale at the portfolio weekend at First Gallery Bitterne 15/16 June.
I'm running watercolour classes over four Monday mornings in July at Red Hot Press: sign up and learn my secrets! Here's a link: Red Hot Press
Walking past the Cenotaph I snapped a photo on my iphone and did this in my studio. For a change I have included passers by to give a sense of scale. The Cenotaph is the only structure in the city designed by Lutyens and was influencial on the design of the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Unveiled in 1920 it was originally dedicated to the fallen of the First World War. Done on 140Ib Saunders Waterford NOT paper in around 6 hours.
I found a large sheet of Two Rivers heavy watercolour paper and did this. I'm not sure I like this paper but it's always a challenge and is good for leaving and coming back to as it's easy to scrub the surface and wash off colour. I probably overworked this but here it is anyway.
This location sketch done today at Hythe after catching the ferry with our bikes - 30 mins.
These were made as experimental studies of the representation of light inspired from photos on my ipad and carried-out in the studio.
Just to wet your whistle for this course here is my current sketchbook beautifully made by Katherine at Red Hot Press. A5 cloth bound with a heavyweight cartridge just right for all types of dry and wet mediums - see my next post for examples of watercolour studies made over this weekend.
soon to be revealed!
Here are a few drawings I did at the weekend spent in london. The DPS is in the courtyard of the V&A and the other two are in the Maritime Museum Greenwich. Done in my A5 sketchbook on a nice Somerset paper.
The SAI exhibition opens on 21 April at the Anise Gallery Shad Thames London. All welcome at the reception on 20 April from 5 to 8.00 pm. http://www.anisegallery.co.uk/stories-in-light-and-line/
...and another experiment in light and shade. Again done from a photo taken on my ipad but I limited my time to under 3 hours. It started off as a blend of Cerulean Blue, Alizaren Crimson, Antwerp Blue, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and Paynes Grey. All applied wet on wet and allowed to dry after about an hour and then worked over with washes and dry brush. It's not architecture, which I love but allowed me a sense of freedom and experiment (I even sprinkled salt while it was wet!). Nevertheless a nice break after a week of commercial illustration. Hope you like it!
Just did this one after arriving at the chapel. Not from life (too cold!) but from a few photos I took on my ipad on the way in. It started off quite bright and then became quite misty and murky which seemed an attractive proposition for a quick watercolour: just wanted to splash paint on paper really - hope you like it! Done in around 3 to 4 hours on Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT at approx 280 x 380 mm.
I hadn't looked at this work since posting it on Saturday but after showing the original to an illustrator colleague today I just felt it needed a few tweaks. I don't normally work on a piece after its "completion" but I've played around with it a little - you probably won't notice (or even care) - anyway here it is again!
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.
Tim Craven shows his extraordinary skills in this joint show with Celia de Serra at the Art Stable gallery near Blandford Dorset. Tim's "day-job" is curator at the Southampton City Art Gallery but he intends to spend more time making his art in future and well worth it. Tim's love is the countryside and in particular trees and he portrays these with a most unique method of using watercolour. The initial painting is carried our using meticulous fine brush application in black and white and any colour and/or tone is added later using an airbrush. Beatiful work when viewed close-up and standing back. Worth the lovely drive to the little village of Child Okeford. On until 28 March.
This view of Fawley Refinery was taken from Weston Shore early springtime last year. It's on a heavy hand-made watercolour paper by Two Rivers. I am getting used to this surface now and plan to aquire some larger sheets - this one is 260mm x 360mm and took around 5 hours.
This is really just an experiment using a hand-made paper that I've not used before. It's a very white paper made by Two Rivers and is a NOT surface of around 140lb. The surface is less absorbent than I'm used to and the paint tended to sit on the surface and even when dry could be easily disturbed. This was both useful and difficult but once I got used to it enabled me to wipe-out and lift-off colour with ease. The view was taken from a photograph I took from within the port a few months ago. It's quite a small picture at 240 x 280mm.
The photograph I used for this view was taken early one morning last springtime and shows the power station at Fawley from Hamble. I used a 300mm lense which tends to flatten the perspective giving a more interesting composition. The image reminded me of Whistler's nocturne paintings in particular his Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Battersea Bridge (c. 1872/75) and this was a major influence for this watercolour. I limited my palette to alizarin crimson, cerulean blue, yellow ochre and neutral tint with opaque white highlights.
This view is looking up river from Mayflower Park towards the Mayflower Cruise Terminal. The river is really calm with just a few ripples to break up the surface. The large crane is the Canute floating crane built in the 1960s and has the capacity of 200 ton! Just under A3 size done from my photographs on Saunders Waterford 140Ib in around 5 hours.
Here's something different - a view of the Southampton incinerator from across the river. The metal dome shape can be easily spotted from all points of the city. Due to its reflective material it changes colour throughout the day and time of year. The photograph I worked from was taken on a hazy morning in early spring last year and I tried to give the structure an air of mystery by enhancing the lighting effects on the roof.
Happy New Year to one and all!
To start the year I've just completed this watercolour for my friends Jess and Matt. It's taken from a photograph that Jess took whilst in New York in 2008 and has been a long time coming (finally got round to it Jess!). It's been a while since I visited the Big Apple - April 1969 to be exact - which was only 10 years after Frank Lloyd Wright's building was opened - and it looks as stunning as it did then. It was taken over the Christmas period thus the seasonal canopy over the entrance.
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.
I'm due to give two talks on my work at the following times and venues:
Friday 9 November at Cobbett Road Library Southampton who are also hosting an exhibition of selected watercolours which runs from November 5 to December 1.
Wednesday 12 December at Southampton Solent University for FoSMAG (Friends of Southampton Museums, Archives and Galleries)
As a result I managed to make the front cover of the FoSMAG Newsletter this month with a dps inside.
The Daily Echo have published a feature on my work in today's TV & Leisure magazine - here's a scan:
Here's the last watercolour view showing Southampton Docks. This one portrays the four ferries: the ro ro car transporter, the IOW car ferry, the Red Jet and the Hythe ferry. The view is from Hythe pier and put together from several photos to assemble all the ferries together at one time. It took several visits to achieve this but worth it in the end.
hardly had time to start this one before it really chucked it down. With nowhere to shelter my friend Kate and I had to "leg-it" to the car this time - pity. Nevertheless, the rain produces an interesting mottled effect! I shall return!
and then the rain came down...not the best medium to use at this time of sunshine and showers! Here's a watercolour sketch done at breakneck speed yesterday just outside Winchester. This sketchbook was handmade for me by my partner Katherine (orders taken!). It contains Fabriano paper which is not ideal for watercolour as it's so absorbent. It all got rather soggy but interesting results all the same. I quite like sketching days with "weather" as it brings forth unlikely results. Meanwhile - back at the ranch...
This one probably took the longest at around 20 hours due to the detail but I think the subject matter is worth the time taken. I feel that I know these structures intimately now and worthy of further studies.
I limited my palette to just 5 colours for this piece and concentrated on the tonal values in order to create the atmosphere.
Here are details of my finished watercolours which give an indication of my brush stroke technique. I tend to work wet-into-wet using warm and cool colour until there's no more benefit in moving the pigment around and I'll leave to dry. I'll then add detail and finish with some dry-brush. I use a large squirrel hair brush for sky and sea washes and sable brushes nos 4, 6 and 8 for the rest. I buy my brushes from Rosemary & Co.
No you're not seeing double - here are my two watercolours of the Southampton docks view as seen from the Town Quay. The final watercolour is the largest I've done at 430 x 570 mm and so much easier to paint - I plan on doing everything larger in future! For this I stretched a sheet of Waterford 140Ib NOT paper which provided a drum-tight surface. Even when soaked the paper remains flat and a joy to work on. Although the smaller one was done to gain approval from the client it also helped to establish the composition and colour palette - a useful exercise.
Well here's my third and final version of the view showing the Western Docks container terminal and completes the set of three watercolours (I now have some appreciation of how Monet felt when he painted multiple studies of the Haystacks series!). These will now be enlarged to a good size for the finished works - I'm looking at around 460 x 620 mm - this will give me real opportunities for getting out my big brushes and allowing the paint to work for me - to be continued...
...and here's my second attempt - judge for yourself - I think it works better with the others as a set of three - we'll see?
This is the last of my initial views of the docks - here we have the container terminal at Western Docks looking across the River Test from "Goatee Beach" at Eling. The cranes dominate this part of Southampton and can be seen from miles around. I'm not sure about this one and I feel my original sketch done on location has more atmosphere. I plan to look at a closer view with just the river in the foreground.
This is the second in the series of views of the docks showing Fawley refinery looking from Hamble. I used a 250mm lens to get a panoramic view which I cropped for this watercolour. Again, a misty morning providing atmosphere and "aerial" perspective.
Here's my latest watercolour which is a small scale version of the first in a series of southampton views focusing on the docks. Done from sketches and photographs this piece measures approx 270 x 370mm and was done to establish my colour palette with a view to producing a larger finished work. It shows the cruise liner Saga Sapphire in dock a few weeks ago as viewed from the Town Quay. It was around 10 am on a misty morning and I have tried to represent this in the soft washes of colour in the distance. Watch this space for further views!
Here's a couple of sketches I did today at the Titanic Event at Ocean Terminal Dock Gate 4. Fred Dinenage compared this memorable event organised by staff and students of Solent University. The sketches are both on A4 cartridge paper.
I've never been able to sketch the clock tower from this position due to adjacent trees obscuring the view. At this time in early spring however it's perfect! The segment-like architecture of the Sea City addition can be seen and is almost ready for its opening on the 10th. I have to say I struggled trying to keep the tower straight which "curves" its way up to its delightful copper roof. 30 minute sketch.
For the first time ever Anise Gallery will be exhibiting a collection of art works by members of the Society of Architectural Illustration (SAI), the world’s oldest and most prestigious architectural illustrators organisation.With a keen interest and passion in illustration, Anise Gallery is excited to have this unique opportunity to bring together the leading architectural artists, illustrators, model makers, animators and photographers in one show.The art works on display will span from traditional watercolours and pencil sketches to CGIs and photo real imagery reflecting the diversity in disciplines that the SAI as an organisation represents and encourages.
April 22 to May 20 2012. For more info go to: http://www.anisegallery.co.uk/?page_id=46
...and this one's specially for Betty: Western Docks from Eling
Here's a sketch I did today - one of several studies for a future commission to show views of Southampton. I'm trying to compose a view that can be recognisable as well as a personal interpretation. We'll see but whatever the outcome it's been a joy to partake en plein air in such lovely March weather. This sketch shows the view looking west from the end of Mayflower Park - about 45 mins.
For the second year running I have sold a watercolour at the Mall Galleries and the same subject: a Norfolk round tower church. Could this be a clue to latest trend in popular subject matter? ...or just a coincidence? Here it is: All Saints, Freethorpe. A lovely church with a large Norman tower.
Don't miss this show at the Mall Galleries and spot my two pictures - until 25 March. More to follow.
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!
I've just completed this watercolour for a dear friend and colleague of some 14 years to remind him of his journey from Southampton station to Solent University passing this lovely sculpture each day. Designed by Paul de Monchaux and erected in 2000 this work frames four views across West Park. Good luck Phil
It's been a while since my last post but before leaving Rowland Hilder I want to show this watercolour. I came across it on the web blog http://one1more2time3.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/rowland-hilder-1.jpg and is a barn interior. I've not found many examples of interior views by Hilder and this is outstanding. The lightness of touch together with strong cast shadows and intense shade give a wonderful sense of atmosphere. The strong light at the entrance where Hilder has left the white of the paper, contrasts with the dark washes of the interior to the left. This, together with fleeting dry brush strokes on the wooden beams and on the floor allows the paper texture to describe an impression of various surfaces within. All in all a masterful rendition.
I am thrilled to announce the opening of my exhibition at Southampton Solent University with a reception on Thursday 27 October at 6.00 pm. A Point of View is an exhibition of my recent watercolour studies including local views of Southampton's heritage buildings. The show continues until 7 January 2012.
Roland Hilder was a household name throughout my childhood during the 50s and 60s and admired as both artist and illustrator. His name was synonymous with the Kent countryside much as Constable was with Suffolk. His traditional style and method of watercolour painting was highly regarded from both within and outside of the art communities and he transcended the divide between art and illustration. His work exemplified the art of watercolour as a medium for publication and his work can be seen in books and on posters. His work touched a strain of nostalgia in the English for an unchanged and unchanging landscape. I have always felt a closeness to Hilder's work especially as I grew up close to the parts of Kent that he most loved and painted particularly around Maidstone and Shoreham on the northern downland.
Alfred Waterhouse RA (1830–1905), Entrance, Natural History Museum: Plan and elevation, c.1878.
Alfred Waterhouse RA (1830–1905), Manchester Town Hall: perspective, 1887. Pencil, pen with black ink and coloured washes, 762 × 1092 mm
Before I leave the Victorians I must give a mention to Alfred Waterhouse. Although, strictly, not an artist but an architect, Waterhouse produced the most sensitive perspectives. He is very much remembered for his design of the Natural History Museum in which he incorporated intricate detail in the style of the Romanesque. Many architects received training not only in architecture but also in painting and in particular in the medium of watercolour. Waterhouse was indeed a talented watercolourist demonstrated here in this fine example of a perspective of his design for Manchester Town Hall. It's hard to imagine an architect of today producing such a work but during this time many architects were also accomplished in the art of perspective drawing and rendering. The practice of rendering plans and elevations had been standard practice since the Industrial Revolution and was established in the engineering profession. Specific colours were defined to represent different materials and draughtsmen became highly skilled in laying immaculate washes to design drawings. Waterhouse produced a plethora of rendered design drawings and perspectives and was highly regarded both within and outside the profession. The next image by Waterhouse, the entrance to the Natural History Museum, had a great impact on me after seeing the original on display.
John Ruskin (1819-1900). Part of St Mark's, Venice, Sketch after rain, 1846
Above all it is the writings and philosophy surrounding the Romantic period and in particular that of the aesthetic ideal of the picturesque which has had a significant affect on my attitude to art and design. In 1768 William Gilpin (1724-1804) wrote of the picturesque as, "that kind of beauty which is agreeable in a picture" and alongside ideals of the beautiful and sublime was seen as a basic human instinct towards art. A leading proponent of Gilpin's philosophy during the Victorian period was the art critic, artist and writer John Ruskin. It is the draughtsmanship which I most admire in Ruskin's watercolour studies and the piece I have chosen ably demonstrates this. This sketch of St Mark's was one of many Ruskin produced for his treatise on the art and architecture of Venice, The Stones of Venice first published in 1851. Here Ruskin shows his ability to combine the use of the pencil sketch with loose washes and still retain accuracy of architectural shape and form: a master draughtsman.
It's been a while so here is another offering looking into the many artists who have inspired my work. I have known this piece by John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) for as long as I can remember. It has the perfect proportions for the subject matter, an aqueduct, and in its simplicity has become an iconic work. It is a small watercolour 31 by 23 cms which surprised me on first viewing the original at the V&A (a similar reaction when I saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre). This watercolour has a charm like no other: It's an image that I return to time and time again. Executed on laid paper it has a lightness of touch and even the telling signs of aging does little to detract from this. Cotman can be forgiven for his less than accurate depiction of reflections in the foreground water (under examination the supporting pillars are much shorter in the reflections if measured from the ground surface) given that this was most clearly done on location. Economy of brushwork and colour washes makes this work a classic example of the Romantic and Picturesque era.
J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851): Pulteney Bridge Bath, lecture diagram 59, c1810
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.
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.
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!
I am very excited that my new website is live! I hope that you enjoy looking round at my work and thoroughly explore the gallery area. I will be adding new work regularly so please come back and visit. I will also be blogging regularly about my interests, current work and also what is going on in the arts community of the city of Southampton where I live. Please get in touch with me via the Contact page!