David Bellamy – Lost and Found effects in a painting

   In any painting, if you include everything you see the result will just be an overworked photographic version. While some people appreciate this approach, most see the benefit of ‘editing’ the image to produce a cleaner, more atmospheric and painterly work. One of the most important aspects of my creative process is that of using atmosphere and the ‘lost and found’ technique to heighten the effect of a moody scene.

Cairo at Dusk

  This watercolour of the tombs of the caliphs in Cairo shows the scene bathed in warm evening light after the sun has set, using the atmosphere to completely eliminate any detail in the distance, while also subduing much of the architectural information on the main buildings. Not only does the rising smoke hide much detail, but the lost and found effect can be observed further to the left where some of the elements have been faded out. You can achieve this by deliberately reducing the detail until that passage becomes almost blank, or another extremely effective method is to simply paint in the main architectural features as normal, and when this is dry fade part of it out with a damp sponge or by lightly scrubbing out with an old soft-haired brush.
    I shall be painting a similar scene to this as a demonstration at The Bookshop  in East Grinstead at 7pm on Thursday 19th May. It is pretty much fully booked, but because of Covid there are likely to be a number of cancellations, so it might be worth telephoning the bookshop on 01342 322669  They will, of course, have copies of my new Arabian Light book. The exhibition of the same name will be continuing from 18th to 27th May at the Osborne Studio Gallery in London  Tel. 020 7235 9667, where you can see the paintings from the book.
    Watch out also in Leisure Painter Magazine for my on-line webinar on 21st June where I will be painting a sunset scene on the River Nile – more about that in due course.

David Bellamy – Bringing atmosphere, drama and the sublime to a village painting

Many landscape painters love working on tranquil village scenes where time seems to stand still and locals engage in conversation. Here I am deviating from the traditional village composition to add a strong ingredient of atmosphere, drama and the sublime, for this village stands high on the very edge of a vast canyon in the mountains of Oman.

In this watercolour the morning mist cloaks the background mountains and subdues detail in the further parts of the village, in places aided by strong light bleaching out features so that they are only half-seen. Two figures stand near the centre, drawing the eye – you don’t need to make your figures large in order to emphasise the human aspect, but note how there is no detail behind them. This really makes them stand out. They stand at the edge of a sheer drop, thus dramatically creating a sensation of the sublime, a feeling of possible danger. While this latter sensation is rarely found in a British village you can still enhance such paintings with carefully considered atmosphere and even a little drama with the right lighting.

This painting is featured in my new book, Arabian Light, published this month by Search Press, and packed with paintings and sketches of my travels in the Middle East.  Details of the book are on my website. The book will be launched at my exhibition in the Osborne Studio Gallery, at 2 Motcomb Street, London SW1X  8JU  Telephone  +44(0)20 7235 9667   The exhibition runs from 18th to 27th May and I will be in the gallery for much of 18th if you would like to pop in for a chat

David Bellamy – Frolicking in the Desert

Most of this year I’ve been painting subjects from the Middle East, a part of the world I’ve been fascinated by since I first visited in 1963, and these works will illustrate my forthcoming book, Arabian Light, due to be published by Search Press in May 2022. The subjects cover a wide variety of scenery, buildings, figures, interiors and many others, and for a taster I show below a painting of our expedition guides dancing in the desert hundreds of miles from the nearest village. For the intense darkness I’ve used the Daniel Smith Lunar black slightly mixed with French ultramarine. The granulation strength of this colour is truly mindblowing! There’ll be more on this in future blogs.

 Another book I’m pleased to be associated with is Green Parrots in my Garden, a book of poems from the Arab Middle East by Jane Ross, a Canadian poet who has lived in the Middle East amidst threats of war, but concerns herself more with the warmth of human relationships, the wisdom of ancient desert values and the beauties of artefact and design that bring her into the hearts of the people and the essence of the region. She writes of the oasis of Wadi Bani Khalid where ‘the winds are gentle zephyrs in the thick warm air,’

      ‘But ontop of Jebel Shyams the winds are sharp and piercing,
      like needles thrusting their way through the blanket;
      fiendish, dervish, absolute and wild.’

Yes, that mountain presented so many exciting images that I forgot myself in a fiery sunset, when the light vanished so suddenly that without a torch I found myself trying to pick up all my scattered brushes and pencils in the dark then navigate across a rock-strewn plateau on the edge of a canyon. 

The books features two of my paintings in monochrome, and  Jane’s website is www.janeross.ca

It will be available on Amazon via this link.

 I wish you all a very and peaceful Happy Christmas. May you have many lovely artful arty presents, and thanks for your patience in my extremely slow blog production rate in 2021