Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Shambles, York

This is a pen & wash of The Shambles in the City of York. For any who don't know, this is a well-preserved medieval street of timber houses. Though I'm very pleased with the end result the painting hasn't turned out as I'd wanted. What I had intended from the outset was to draw the scene with a pen and then add only a minimal amount of colour, leaving the pen lines to do the 'talking'. Regrettably, as is so often the case, I didn't know when to stop and I've applied a lot more colour than I'd ever intended. I wouldn't have thought it would be so hard to NOT paint up to the lines and to leave some white spaces here and there. I also think the picture lacks a focal point.

So, I had a second go at this scene. The first thing I decided was to draw in the people jostling past the shop windows. This helped with the focal point issue. The other thing I did was force myself to use weaker colours and put my brush down once I'd laid in some washes. This still isn't the 'minimal colour' effect I was aiming for, but it's much closer.

I would really welcome any comments with regards to which version works best.


  1. Yes I think the second version is much better.

    I have the same trouble when I do line-and-wash. I put on the colour too strongly and overpower the pen drawing.

  2. Thank you Keith. It's nice to know I'm not the only one. LOL

  3. Hi John.
    I think at one time you said that you were not very good with figures, well these ones are spot on mate. I prefer the second one also because of the figures. All the best John.

    1. Thank you for this Vic, I really appreciate it. All the best.

  4. I like the second one, the lighter washes and the activity in the street. Well done.