Sunday, 9 September 2012

Capturing Light and Negative Painting

Hurst Point Lighthouse
Watercolour on Paper
35.5cm x 15cm (14" x 6")

Hurst Point Lighthouse and Hurst Castle are at the end of 1.5 mile shingle spit, which stretches from Milford on Sea out into the Solent.

They are less than a mile from the Isle of Wight, which provides the backdrop for this picture.

The little blue boat is the ferry between the Hurst Castle and Keyhaven. It has just set off on its way back to the mainland.

Earlier in the summer, Elaine and I visited the castle. We walked out along the spit and returned on the ferry. We used the ferry to add variety to our journey, not because we are idle or were in a hurry to get to the pub for lunch.

I painted the picture at Tony Slater's September workshop for the Shelford Group of Artists. The theme for the day was Capturing Light and Negative Painting. Tony demonstrated how he uses negative painting to create highlights by painting around an object instead of painting the object itself.

There are some elements of negative painting in the picture on this post:

  • I didn’t paint the sails of the boats in the background (you might need to zoom in to see them). I painted the Isle of Wight and the sea around them.
  • The roof of the ferry is just a gap in the grass with a shadow underneath it
  • The right hand edge of the lighthouse is created by the sky and the Isle of Wight.
  • The triangular roof is created by the stuff around it.

Tony started his painting by covering the paper with a pale preliminary wash so that some of the highlights have subtle tints rather than being the stark white of the paper. I used the same technique. The highlights in this painting aren’t white. They are pale pinks and blues, but they look white because of the more intense colours around them.

I didn’t manage the same productivity (4 paintings) as at the Fast and Loose  workshop, but I tried to keep the same spirit of spontaneity in the painting.

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