This scene is almost too familiar to paint and I’ve avoided it until now. Apart from the familiarity of the subject I’ve also avoided it because it didn’t really grab me compositionally. It is just a big red shed after all.
Yesterday, however I thought ‘why not?’ and set to work from a shot I took about 5 years ago. After much cropping I settled on what I thought was a simple arrangement. In practice, however, this turned out to be pretty complicated and ended up being a two day affair.
I started with hot press paper which had worked out so well with the Orchard Beach painting. The drawing went well – kept things pretty loose and undefined :
Next comes the hard bit – initial washes. I’m keeping away from the darks right now and wanted to keep the values close together. I especially didn’t want to overdo the shadow on the red building. Just dark enough to show it’s in sunlight but not so dark it ruins the effect. I was also trying hard to get some texture and variation into the broad areas of color. Spraying with water and some judicious light glazing kept these areas interesting.
Putting the windows in is always tricky. It never ceases to amaze me how little detail you need for an area to say ‘I’m a window’. In fact if you get too accurate it looks odd and pasted on. Pretty happy all round at this point.
Next was going in with the darker areas around the waterline. This is always tricky and it could go horribly wrong at this point.
Phew. Got away with it. It’s starting to come together now. There was a sticky moment when the boat wasn’t tied into the water and had that painted on look. Some carefully placed darks and blending of color between boat and water saved the day.
At this point as long as I don’t do anything really stupid I should be ok.
Almost home here. The boat is in with just enough detail and contrast to be interesting but not overdefined. The stone wall is suggested with a few lines. Just some touching up and we’re done.
The final thing. I think I’m ok with it. As always it’ll take a couple of days to reveal the stuff I really like and also the stuff I hate. Fingers crossed.
The original photo (heavily cropped).