Looking at this urban scene, it’s hard to believe that the waters of the great river Thames flow below you. The London Bridge painting shows the scene after a heavy rainfall. The pavement and roads are saturated. Light reflects on the watered walkway, as people walk briskly to shelter. Long reflections cast in the puddles. Other figures huddle, planning where or what to do next. The bright blue trousers of the fig are facing away from us. The only hint of colour in the shadowy figures. On the far bank tiny fingers scurry across the bridge. Bright specs amid the dark, black railings.
Although I was aiming for dark, the painting’s sky came out far more dramatic than I’d originally intended. I used indigo ink for the initial painting. The emergence of green was a surprise on my return when it was dry. I used white to tone it down a little but decided to keep some of it. The mix of colours was pleasing and there’s a fluidity to the clouds that works well. I love the patch of mackarel sky in the top right hand corner.
Two buses follow the bus lane, which bisects the scene. Besides them, a traffic barrier, a sadly necessary one. At this point I remembered that the photo I used for this painting was taken a week before the London Bridge attack, no hint of what was coming, is evident. It never is in such a scene, even minutes before. I feel the Innocence of the scene is more poignant with this knowledge. A reminder of the pleasure we should take in the everyday normal moments. Even if it’s been raining, find the time to seek joy and jump in the puddles!
Dark red tarmac painted with fading lines marks the bus lane. The paint has worn away with the passing traffic. I say the buses follow the bus lane, the rear one straddles two lanes, possibly it’s just overtaken the two cyclists, then stopped. Buses tend to do that in cities. Cyclists occupy the middle of the lane. Will they ever take the bus again? Or are they seeking shelter from the rain.
The presence of some of the most distinctive buildings in one view, is particularly pleasing. With the Walkie Talkie, Cheese greater and 20 Grace Church Street, providing distinction to this elevated profile. Although they remind me of model buildings on a railway layout. This happens in my smaller scale paintings, architecture takes on this artificial feel. Some even remind me of little jewel boxes, especially the gold cube in the middle.
Curious to see more London Paintings?