Imagine an Urban Landscape. Do you think of Clean? Probably not. Cities are much cleaner than they used to be but cities and grim go together like pencil and lead. Like many other cities, the clean air act transformed Manchester. As a child I remember lots of very dirty cotton mills. And I mean dirty with black soot. Features hard to determine. Wherever you looked the urban landscape was grim. In fact, I grew up thinking most old buildings in Manchester were made of black stone. That was until they started cleaning them up. After a while I forgot and think my memorywas wrong. I began to question whether things were really that dirty. Then I found this post in the Manchester Evening News which confirms Manchester was a very dirty places. So, when I saw Quarry Bank mill my first thought was… “It’s far too clean!” OK, it is in a rural area but there should be some soot somewhere. So I thought I’d dirty it up a bit. Now, that looks better! Although looking at the photos from the Manchester Evening News, I don’t think it is dirty enough! If you fancy seeing some more urban grim take […]
With less than 24 hours to my London debut on The Mall I’m a little nervous… It’s something new, I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s going to be a long day and probably very warm… You get the picture! In these situation I find activity helps. So I’ve been calming my nerves with some abstracts. Working on expression and nothing else is remarkably liberating. Allowing yourself to make mistakes but then finding something new as a result. I’ve said it before “play” is vastly misunderstood and under appreciated. Play is when discoveries are made! Play is the purest form of experimentation. Sure you may then repeat the process to try and reproduce your results. But you would never know what to repeat without playing in the first place! Finally, and most importantly, play is calming. In order to play you must be distracted by something. And if you’re distracted, you’re not worrying. And here’s the result of my playtime. Now, I’m pretty sure I’m doing something tomorrow. What was it?… Oh yes, I remember! So, what do you do to calm your nerves?
Some pictures seem to take forever to create Whilst others practically seem to paint themselves. This St Catherine’s painting was definitely in the former category. Especially when I started on the bicycles! But I the result was worth it I think! Oh, and I like the bicycles now!
Do you ever wish you’d waited a bit long before doing the next step? Well, I’ve had one of those moments when I wish I had.I started removing the masking and realised that the bell tower is not distinct. And it’s bothering me! I often find parts of a picture can be fainter than I’d intended when the painting is done. Usually I leave it as the balance seems to work. But not this time… So, what do I do when I remove the masking too soon? The simple answer is to redo it. A straightforward but time consuming process. First reapplying masking fluid. Then more careful painting in order to avoid wrecking the existing paint. Watercolour is a very unforgiving medium and shows EVERYTHING if you’re not careful. So, as the saying goes, more haste less speed. If I’d just spent a little longer painting I might have realised the contrast was insufficient… But then again I might not have!