Southend Seafront


We were back in the UK last week and this building caught my eye while we were strolling along Southend seafront.   I loved the unusual shape of the building and the contrast between the white window frames and the darks of the brick.     As I’m in experimental mode I tried a few different things when planning the painting :

 –  Keep everything that isn’t the house simple.    Sky, foreground and even the parts of the house that I’m not particularly interested in.   Pretty successful in this but a smidgen more detail in the foreground may have helped.   Sky is great – even the blossoms look good.

 – Keep the colors muted.   There are a lot of paintings out there (mine included) that look like a jar of jelly beans.   They may have an initial *pow* effect especially on social media but I’m after a more subtle, long lasting picture.     Somewhat successful here but I’m thinking rather than dull everything down I’ll keep to a restricted palette in future.

 – Loosen up the lines of the building but keep the effect sharp.    What do I mean by this?   Buildings are made up of a *lot* of straight lines and it’s easy to start painting everything perfectly even and straight.    This makes for a very dull, awkward looking painting.  It’s not a bad rule, in fact, to break up any straight lines in a painting.   The human brain fills in the missing pieces for you and it ends up looking ‘right’.    The tricky bit is knowing which bits to break up and which bits to rough around a bit.    In general your verticals need to be vertical and your horizontals horizontal.    Keep these true to life unless you really know what you’re doing.   Everything else is pretty much up for grabs.  Windows especially – you can smoosh the paint around when painting windows and brain goes  ‘yup – that’s a window’.   Fairly happy with this part – stopped just this side of messiness.

So as an experiment this was a successful outing.   As a painting however it lacks a bit of soul but you can’t have everything.  Maybe next time Clamp.


A quick preparatory sketch.    Should do more of these.

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