Afterglow – oil on canvas – 76 x 50 cm
In January I painted three pictures based on some photos I took whilst walking along by the River Colne near Wivenhoe in Essex. With these pictures I wanted to try doing something different lighter and less detailed than most of the paintings I did last year. I went for a cool blue/grey ground colour and used a thinner medium so at times it was a bit like using watercolour.
I rarely paint a picture purely from my imagination I usually need a subject that has some connection to reality so that I can begin to draw it. The images for this painting are some slightly blurry shots taken with my mobile camera. I thought these would be enough to get me going coupled with my memories as I was intending to make the picture much looser and I knew that the key would be in the colouring. In order to get these subtle colours I have to build up several glazes and these may take a day or two to dry so this is another reason why it couldn’t be done from life. In earlier days artists would have used watercolour sketches, other drawings and memory to make their studio oils of such subjects.
So this picture has a different approach when compared to my painting of the West Wall of All saints. For one thing a church wall is static so I can spend many hours observing a subject that looks much the same throughout the day. In this picture I’m trying to paint a mood. It is that fragile moment in the evening when all the world feels at peace.
There is something to be said for simplicity in all three of the views I’ve made on this theme I’ve removed the reed beds which would have been in the foreground allowing for the wide refection of the sky. A good artist can always improve a photograph, once you know what you’re looking at it’s easy to reposition the elements of the picture.
This picture is influenced by Whistler’s Nocturns. My favourite landscape painter is Friedrich and I’m also fond of Turner, Palmer, Constable and Grimshaw and many others.