Friday, 30 April 2010

Ringwood Hall

Some time ago my daughter announced that she and her partner were to marry. We discussed various aspects of the proposed wedding and during that chat they asked me if I would do a watercolour of the venue that was finally chosen for the ceremony. I was obviously delighted and agreed enthusiastically. A few weeks ago the happy couple tied the proverbial knot by civil ceremony at Ringwood Hall near Chesterfield.

I don't wish to be unkind to Ringwood Hall but finding a suitbable viewpoint from which to make a presentable painting was not easy. I took dozens of photo's from all angles. Doing a painting of any part of the building wasn't going to be difficult, but making it a 'Landscape painting' rather than picture of bricks and mortar was a different matter.

After much deliberation I decided to try and recreate what the Hall might look like from a higher-than-normal viewpoint. This allowed me to pull in landscape from the surrounding countryside as well as include the wonderful relaxing and tranquil formal gardens. Getting my head round this 3-D object using only ground-level 2-D photo's was not easy but thank goodness for Google Maps. The satellite view of the Hall provided me with a wealth of useful information not only with regards to what was on the roof, but also the way the various parts of the building fitted together.
A lot of time was spent on preliminary pencil sketches and in drawing out the building itself onto the watercolour paper. Perspective was obviously going to be tricky.

At first I wasn't pleased with the finished result. One of my weaknesses is that I am too timid with colour, especially the darks. The 'finished' painting looked flat and disinteresting but some arty friends nudged me into getting some more darks in there and it has made a world of difference. Now I am very pleased with the painting. My daughter and Son-in-law haven't seen it yet and I'm keen to see their reaction .... just a tad nervous about it too.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bellis Perennis

I've long been a fan of these wonderful little flowers but only recently have I noticed their flowering habit. They are the Daisy family and only grow 4" tall but put out masses of little flowers. What has fascinated me about the way the flowers form is how it gradually develops from a 'daisy' type shape to a pom-pom.

First they create a tiny yellow head that looks much like an unopened bud, but it is only a cluster of stamen (I think). Very soon the yellow stamen around the outside edge of the flower begin to open producing tube-like petals. From time to time a stamen will produce a flower 'out of turn', as in this shot.

Gradually more and more stamen convert to petals ....

... nearly all done ....

.... until finally all we have is a perfectly formed pom-pom. It is only through the eyes of the macro lens that we appreciate that the pom-pom consists of scores of tiny tubes.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

A modern English family home

A while ago I was approached by a friend who wanted a painting doing of her daughters house. I was very happy to oblige and she provided me with plenty of reference photo's and some very clear guidelines as to how she wanted the whole thing to look.

The painting is a combination of pen and watercolour. I do call it Pen and Wash but in my mind 'wash' implies loose transparent colours whereas this is more a pen drawing that's been coloured in with fairly strong colours.

Using pen has enabled me to add quite a lot of detail that I wouldn't normally include in a watercolour painting, like the house number set into the stained glass panel in the front door. Of course, these details aren't visible in small interent-based jpeg's.