South Bank Shadows – Original Painting
About the Image
How can you capture the sun in paint? When to look at it with will blind you? And photographs are overtaken with glare. The brilliantly coloured image seen by your eye is translated into a monochromatic world of oversaturated brilliance and deep, dark limitless shadow. Even The Shard, with its mighty stature, is lost beside the glowing orb. Overshadowed by reflections.
Sunshine has brought crowds to the Southbank,. We see mostly silhouettes, some lost in the light, and others lost in the shadow. Maybe you can guess at who they might be? Rrarely with any certainty,though. Anonymous splodges indicate individual people with rich and varied lives. Indispensable to those who love them, made insignificant besides the dazzling sun,
There’s something about a crowd that diminishes individual identity. When you hear news of a disaster. It’s easier to relate to a small number than a large one. Yes, we can feel the significance of the loss, but it’s hard to comprehend the magnitude of something that affects one thousand people. An event affecting just one or two people, is more easily relatable.
I’ve resorted to a stylized technique. It’s an abstract sun. Cast shadows show where it cannot touch. With watercolour, I can go no brighter than the white of the page. Yet the sun is more than that. Its brilliance dominating, when there are no clouds to filter it presence. Amidst the shadows, a band of opaque trees with dense, green leaves. Clustering in an attempt to capture all the sunlight. Unable to prevent dappled light from finding its mark on the ground.
Rippling waters capture little sunbeams on the Thames and turn them into sparkling lace. The flowing river reflecting colours of the South Bank with its bold and prominent architecture. The building ar broken down into geometrical parts. Recognisable shapes repeat. Yet, they feel artificial next to the living sun and the ephemeral waters of the Thames. Transient and ever changeable, recognisable by the patterns and rythyms of the seasons.
This day will never come again but another similar one will eventually arrive. There’s an odd kind of reassurance in the recurrance of patterns. Familiar and predictable but always changing in a myriad of subtle ways.