Friday, 6 May 2011


Interesting day painting plein air again. Started with a contra jour looking towards the Hurlingham Yacht Club under the Putney footbridge. I knew this was an ambitious picture as the sun was moving fast and the tide was going out. There is a 6 metre tidal range here in Putney, so the scene changed DRAMATICALLY! I started off mixing some puddles of paint on the palette before the light changed, then sketched in the view and started applying the main colours. By this time everything had changed, so I ended up making a lot up. Quite a struggle, and not very pleased with the result. The two conclusions I came to were, 1) I really should concentrate on the main action at the focal point of the picture, 2) abstract arrangements of approximately correct colour notes could potentially make an attractive picture... but maybe not this one ;-(

Later in the morning I stood very close to Putney road bridge on the river bed. The tide was 45 mins from low tide, so I had 45 mins, plus about 20 mins tide turn then 45 mins for it to get back to where it started! Was almost standing in the water by the time I had finished. This picture really reinforced my thought from the morning. How important it is to have a clear idea from the outset what the picture is about. A delightful beam of sunlight was washing the rear of the bridge abutment which I should have concentrated on rather than adding as an afterthought. Also, didn't really manage to capture the sun on the foreshore in the foreground.
An odd picture but educational experience. Thank goodness I was wearing my wellies!

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