Painting the Thames at Night
More dark than light, the contrast between the two give weight to this painting of the Thames at night called River Lights. The sky is energetic with a dark blue cloud exploding around the orange sky, nestled among the tall buildings. It’s hard to figure out which buildings they are or whether they even matter. What’s clear is the colour of the lights and how they’re reflected in the water. Ripples of vibrant orange, deep blue and indigo, dark greens, lurid reds and yet more yellow. You can’t ignore the yellow! Your eye is then drawn to the foreground and the rail in front of where you’re standing. Clear but dark and melding with the inky Waters.
Hiding in darkness
The line between river and land it is hard to identify on the Thames at Night. Crystal waters are spanned by a bridge, that can just be deciphered stretching to the right and off the page. The Sky may be dark but notice the textures and imagine how it feels to touch it.
Take a walk through the painting with me, imagine the smells as you walk by the Thames. The sounds of the city and the boats on the water. Listen to the rumbling traffic, the movement of the water, shouts and maybe some singing as you absorb the scene.
The white lines scurry across the pages as the sense of water is realised in the painting. Rapid, swirling lines that dart from side to side, break up and restart somewhere else. There’s a sense of continuity, yet the lines themselves are fragmented. Inperfect details frozen in time, with the water lapping the colours of light across to the opposite bank. Where they disappear in the gloom that obscures the Thames at night.
You can see more paintings of London and the Thames at night.