Rising Mist – oil on canvas – 50 x 60 cm
I live in Hackney in London and the large overgrown Victorian cemetery in Stoke Newington has inspired a number of my pictures. In this blog I’m hoping to show how this picture was developed. It began as a painting of mist rising in the early morning light on the River Lea.
However I soon decided to do something different so I painted a blue glaze over this sketch to prepare a ground for something different. The use of this blue will have a profound effect on the colour balance of the picture keeping it very cool.
With this new ground in place I began to paint in various statues from Abney Park Cemetery. I’ve always been fascinated by this sort of imagery, it’s very Gothic I suppose but I like this kind of atmosphere. I’ve used my own photographs as references. When composing pictures in this way it’s important to be aware of the eye level and direction of light. These days with computers it’s easy to print the reference material at home, also images can be reversed if necessary. In the past I had to go to chemist and order enlargements and then wait for them to arrive. So modern technology has made it easier to compose pictures of this nature. I sometimes use drawings but that is not possible with this picture for a start many of the statues are on plinths so they are difficult even to photograph at the right eye level. Them next sequence of images shows me playing with the composition. I tend to try out various positions and if I don’t like something then I paint it out using the ground colour. At this stage I’ve decided to paint in the famous sleeping lion statue. In order to do that I’m painted out some of the statues so that they can be repositioned.
The composition is now falling into place, as you can see I’ve used a pinkish ground to paint out some areas as the blue felt too cool.At this stage the foliage didn’t feel right so I’ve re-grounded most of the background.
Perhaps I mess about too much however it’s the only way that I can achieve something that I find meaningful.