Map Painting – Experimental Art

©2016-Cathy-Read-London-Maps-2-Watercolour-and-Acrylic- London Underground sign art

Enjoying the weather? Maybe you’ve been on a walk?

Maps are fascinating, aren’t they?

This week I’ve been playing – actually it’s this month. This particular painting was started before Bucks Open Studios in June. It started with a trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum and a fascination with some old maps of London. It re-ignited my desire to do some map painting. I’ve always found maps intriguing as they are a snapshot in time. Seeing how places change with use, reflecting the era they were made, is part of the appeal.

Railways, roads and buildings lend an air of permanence to our cities, but look at an old map and you see it wasn’t always so. What we think of as always being there was once a new development.
I’ve been wanting to use old maps in my art since painting on them in the past.

Starting with an image of Big Ben and an underground sign,

I superimposed a copy of the old London map I saw on top. Enlarging the map so that the river ran through the centre and all you could see was River T. The photo was a bit fuzzy and the names are unclear so some of the details have morphed. It also looked a bit cluttered with the names, so I decided to leave them out as well, adding to the anonymity. Like the continually changing city.

Here’s what I had to work with.

Map Art - superimposed map onto London Image
©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress – digital image

BTW. The white square in the bottom left is because my printer ink was running low

The graphite outline beginning to take shape.

©2016- Cathy Read London Maps painting in progress -Graphite image
©2016- Cathy Read London Maps painting in progress -Graphite

I’m using tracedown paper for this one.

Finished drawing, masked and ready to paint.

©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress -graphite and masking fluid
©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress -graphite and masking fluid

And finally I started getting some colour down.

©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress painting -Watercolour and Acrylic
©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress painting -Watercolour and Acrylic

The painting was far more fiddly than usual as I was trying to keep the character of the map from being lost.

And some details just before cleaning up.

©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress detail clock tower -Watercolour and Acrylic -
©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress detail clock tower -Watercolour and Acrylic

Some details you hope to keep in the finished painting. Sadly these were lost as the mica powder stuck to the masking fluid and not the paper

©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress detail clock 2 -Watercolour and Acrylic, clock face painting detail
©2016- Cathy Read-London Maps painting in progress detail clock 2 -Watercolour and Acrylic

Here we are with the masking removed.

©2016-Cathy-Read-London-Maps-2-Watercolour-and-Acrylic- London Underground sign art

©2016-Cathy-Read-London-Maps-2-Watercolour-and-Acrylic-

And then the whole thing.

©2016-Cathy Read-London Maps- Watercolour and Acrylic painting, new painting
©2016-Cathy Read-London Maps- Watercolour and Acrylic painting

I would say the finished London Map Painting, but I keep finding bits I’ve missed!

So, it may well change subtly before it’s framed. The title will change. I keep coming up with ideas but nothing that quite sums it up yet. Open to suggestions at the moment.

Appropriately as I finished this painting I was just up the road at the Mall Galleries for the Society of Women Artists Exhibition.

The exhibition has finished now but you can see my write-up and the catalogue images of members work.

There was much,much more.

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3 Replies to “Map Painting – Experimental Art”

    1. Thanks Julia, I’m pleased with the result myself. You never know how they’re going to turn out until the very end. Can be a bit nerve wracking. Thanks for stopping by!

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