Colour draws your attention when you look at this Palace of Westminster painting. The rainbow toned fluid sky dances behind the clock tower. Affectionately called “Big Ben”. The Houses of Parliament loom tall. Leaning away from us, as are the other buildings. They seem ready to topple backwards into the Thames, hidden behind the architecture but all too close. Painting from photographs has a unique set of problems. One of which is how to respond to the extreme distortions which occur as up or down to any significant degree.
I’ve heard disparaging talk about this from artists who only paint from life. How panting from photographs gives a false , distorted impression. I don’t let it bother me any more. I love the distortions caused by photography. It’s what our eyes really see, before the brain has chance to “correct” our perspective. The trouble with painting from real life, is that our brains are really good at tricking us into thinking that we should see things in a certain perspective.
Letting 3D logic interfere with 2D reality. Yes, those walls are vertical and straight. The lines ARE parallel in 3 dimensions but move that into 2D and weird things happen.
The Clock tower above all else. The intricate stonework, too detailed to be seen in all it’s glory on a painting this size. Clearly defined against the vivid celestial backdrop, it’s also bright and colourful. As you scan down, the colours and vivacity disappear as darkness and order prevail.
The rest of the Palace of Westminster retains some colour and frippery in stark contrast to Portcullis House on the left. Dark, almost black, the structure is clearly defined. The lack of carving and ornate details giving the building a sense of understated elegance.
In the foreground broad steps lead to an elaborate fountain and garden behind a single globe light. Surprisingly dark for a single source of illumination.
A band of trees and foliage are the only organic feature in an otherwise man made construction.
Looking at this Westminster painting reminds me of rainbows. Whether it’s Biblical rainbows of God’s promise following the great flood or its adoption by the Gay Pride Movement or just because they are pretty and fascinating, a naturally occurring cosmic effect. I honestly can’t say. Rainbows are just cool and nobody will persuade me otherwise.