This was another class exercise, and as with much of my work, I hated it until it was finished. It’s a scene from a photo of somewhere in the south of England, around Dartmouth I believe, which is a famous naval city and port.
A lot of coastal towns are very picturesque. They have evolved over time either to be functional, as fishing villages for example, or as seaside towns to be enjoyed by the population. To me, this harbour evokes a little of both – form and function come together in a rather interesting way. Of course, the pub right on the quayside isn’t for the fishermen, that’s for the tourists to come and watch the fishermen and enjoy a nice pint or six. But who’s complaining?
This painting turned out much brighter than I’d expected but I was pleased with that. I believe the original photo was taken on a pretty grey and bleak day and I often enjoy those kind of weather patterns in painting, but this came out bright but I hope with an aura of cold crispness. Maybe a cold, sunny day in March. The figure in the foreground, in the cap and scarf, tells us that it may be sunny but it’s certainly not too warm.
It’s almost universally watercolour but as I’ve done with other works, I picked out some of the finer detailing in white gouache, to give it some contrast and strength. I find that white watercolour in and of itself is pretty ineffective. It’s main use is for toning down other colours. That goes double when painting on white paper of course. Added to other colours it can give a different shade, grey from black, lighter blue from darker, etc.
So, here it is, I hope you enjoy.