Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Finally, the landscapes are finished.

Rayleigh Church 16" x 12" Watercolour Commission Copyright Marion Simkins 2011

Rayleigh Windmill 16" x 12" Watercolour Commission Copyright Marion Simkins 2011

It has been a long time now since these two Rayleigh landmarks were first commissioned.  There were various reasons for the delay, scaffolding covering the church being one of them.  Fortunately, I wasn't given a time limit, so although there was never any pressure to have them completed, I am still pleased to have them finished.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Tonal Studies for the Raleigh watercolours

When I have completed my drawing, I make a very loose and sketchy tonal study in watercolour.  It really helps, once the painting is underway, to keep in mind how dark/light to go. 

I am half-way through painting this scene at the moment and really needed this guide for the tones.  It was difficult because I had drawn using photo's from different and angles and different days, but by working out where the light source was coming from and the cast shadows, meant that I could just get on with the fun part - painting!

The painting stages for Rayleigh Church and Windmill

I was commissioned to paint Rayleigh Church and Windmill, and spent quite some time drawing this view of Rayleigh Church.  It was complicated because I was using reference photo's of the church from various angles.  In my drawing I combined the view of the top of the church from further away, with one from in the churchyard, so that I could include the foreground, making a better composition.

 Close up of the drawing

I always like to stretch my watercolour paper, so that I can use lots of water without it cockling. I soak the paper in the bath for a couple of minutes, let the water drain off, then use sticky brown tape to stick it to the board. I leave the corner's curled up like this to make it easier to remove the tape when the painting is finished.

Once the paper is thoroughly dried (usually overnight) I transfer my drawing.  I could draw directly onto the watercolour paper which I sometimes do, but I knew in this case I would be doing a lot of rubbing out, and too much rubbing can damage the fibers of the paper, which can show through and spoil the painting.  The next stage is to work out which areas I want to remain white and paint them with masking fluid.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The first layers of paint are gradually built up in the sea and the beach - Copyright  Marion Simkins 2011

The foaming breakers in the sea have been added,  more layers of paint to the stony beach, and I have started to paint the houses.  Copyright Marion Simkins 2011

 The masking tape has been removed, & the windows, frame & sill have been painted.  Copyright Marion Simkins 2011


It is a slow, gradual process of painting the different elements of a mural until they eventually come together.  The sea began as a series of shapes, and became almost an abstract at one point.   I continued working until I got the effect I wanted.  The same could be said for the beach.  Aldeburgh beach is full of stones, the problem was how to best represent it.  A relatively easy sandy beach would not have looked right.  So I mixed a variety of colours, some thick and some quite runny and began spattering.  It took several layers of paint before it began to take shape.  I used an old toothbrush to spatter the beach in the distance, (to help with the illusion of recession) It is very easy to get carried away with spattering, and although I had protective plastic sheets, covering the lower wall & floor, I managed to spatter on a lot more than just the mural!   
                    The next stage will be to paint the rowing boat and window fixtures. 
                    Be back soon.

Monday, 7 November 2011

First stages of the Aldeburgh beach mural

I always think this is the "work" side of painting a mural.  It is a necessary part of the process and important to get right, because no matter how well you paint it, if the drawing is incorrect it will show.  In this photo I have measured and drawn the mural onto the wall,  and marked in the horizon line.

The little bit of blue masking tape that you can see in the middle of the picture is holding a piece of string at the vanishing point.  This is so that when I come to draw in the houses, I can align the string with the building and find the correct perspective.

I have sketched in the details of the mural and outlined the drawing in a dilute mixture of paint.

At this colourful stage I have covered the window frame with masking tape, because once the sky has had several layers of paint, the window would be completely covered, and by protecting it now saves me from having to re-draw it again later.  I have also masked the horizon line and the edges of the houses for the same reason, and then I have just loosely scumbled a warm underwash over the whole mural.  This will give an added warmth to subsequent layers and help to unify the painting.

Now the fun begins !!!!!