Thursday, 21 August 2014
Thumbing through a back issue of the SAA's magazine "Paint" I came across an article by Paul Apps in which he explained how he did a contre-jour painting in oils of Venice. Contre jours simply means "into the light" and although this is something I've done in photography, it is something I've never attempted with my art. I was very interested in the article and the evocative descriptions of the intense light on the water but tossed it to one side as I don't do oils.
However, the image stayed in my mind especially the bright highlights on the water and the muted, almost non-existent colours of the city behind, and eventually I mused "why does it have to be in oils .... why not graphite?". In my opinion, graphite is underrated and underused for landscape and seascape work so I decided I'd have-a-go and see what I could make of it.
I used artistic licence to darken the sky considerably from the light, twilit sky in the reference photo, and it's been necessary to darken the water too, in order to make those highlights sing. The end result gives a much darker picture but I'd like to think it's captured the atmosphere of a day drawing to its close.
This probably sounds like a very silly thing to say, but while making this picture I felt less as if I was drawing and more as if I was 'painting with pencil'. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment.