Watercolour | 31″ x 44″

Working with familiar imagery doesn’t always mean a painting comes easily. I know this place and this subject really well and painting light on water is what I love to paint most, but having fallen in love with the reflections, transforming the image into a painting was a bit daunting. I wanted to make it a big painting so that it had a visual impact, but the subject was a close up, fairly simple composition with quite a large area of ‘not much going on’. The light on the water was very striking, but again quite a large area of ‘not much going on’. While pondering I realised that the key to success was going to be the handling of these spaces. I had to make the water convincing by multiple layers of pale washes and mark making. The light wasn’t going to be painted with the help of masking medium to retain the white of the paper and the success of this ‘lump’ of soft reflected light was going to involve the very careful control of contrast and softened edges. This light that didn’t really sparkle, it sort of glowed and hovered, as if suspended in the lazy ripples. The dark, seductive reflections and the reeds were the easy bit, achieved with drawing and mark making.

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