Injecting mood into a landscape painting not only makes the overall effect much more exciting, but can create a strong sense of space and distance in the work. Although this scene of Faversham Creek in Kent already had a feeling of great space I wanted to exaggerate the atmosphere even more in the finished painting. I chose a blue-grey tinted paper for this watercolour and deliberately kept the distant wooded hillsides very faint in order to create a striking contrast with the foreground features. The strong tones on and around the buildings help to push the faint hills well into the background. If everything is given the same degree of tonal strength then it will be hard to distinguish various features from each other, even with contrasting colours. Masts, gulls and some white boats were rendered in white gouache, and I have only included the main part of the composition so that the distant hills can be seen better.
I shall be giving another of my annual seminars at the Settlement, Pontypool on Saturday 1st October, and it will be covering how to create mood and drama in a painting, beginning with a watercolour demonstration, and this will be followed by an illustrated talk on the subject, including a great many examples of different landscapes and coastal scenes. You can find details on my website http://www.davidbellamy.co.uk/seminar-pontypool-october-2016/ I shall be demonstrating the exciting Daniel Smith watercolours and Saunders Waterford paper, and there will be plenty of time for you to ask any questions, so I hope to see you there.
If you really want to give your landscape paintings a boost one of the most effective methods is to inject a strong dose of atmosphere into the scene. Unfortunately most of the time when you sketch or photograph a subject there may not be much by way of atmosphere, so in many cases you need to inject it into quite an ordinary scene. With time and experience this becomes easier. In this view of the Teign estuary in Devon you can barely see the distant Dartmoor ridges, and even then they become lost in the atmosphere at the extremities. To achieve this sense of mood and distance I have used the same wash for the ridges as I have for the lower sky area. Keeping most of the edges softened also helps create mood, as does a very limited palette. There is hardly any detail in any of the background trees and promontory, and even the centre of interest – the cottage with its attendant trees has little extra colour.
This painting is part of my forthcoming exhibition Shorelines and Summitsat Lincoln Joyce Fine Art, 40 Church Road, Great Bookham Surrey, KT23 3PW – telephone 01372 458481 Their website is www.artgalleries.uk.com The exhibition runs from 28th October to 7th November. Both the coastal and mountain scenes include strong atmospheric effects in most cases.
There are still places available at my seminar which takes place from 10 am to 3 pm on 28th October in the Old Barn Hall opposite the gallery, so you can also view the exhibition. Tickets are available from the gallery or Clockwork Penguin or telephone 01982 560237 The seminar comprises a watercolour landscape demonstration and an illustrated talk, both covering how to include animals and wildlife in your paintings – and, of course, lots of atmosphere, and you will have the opportunity of asking questions. I hope to see you there.
How often do you find yourself in a superb location for painting, but with poor, flat light and dull, lifeless colours? This happens to me rather too often, and while it pays to go out to seek painting subjects in fine weather, this is not always possible. As a result we find ourselves with a scene that needs livening up quite a bit, and this is best done by introducing some exciting light and atmosphere, and changing the colours to a degree. In this watercolour of a farm in snow I warmed up the sky with a touch of alizarin crimson, and while the mass of trees to the left of the farm were still wet I washed in some light red to warm that area up. Cast shadows, created with French ultramarine with a touch of cadmium red liven up what would otherwise be quite a dull foreground.
Every autumn I do a watercolour seminar, which is extremely popular, as it involves not just a landscape demonstration, but an illustrated talk and an opportunity to fire any questions at me. This year it takes place at the Pontypool Community Education Centre (The Settlement), in Pontypool, Monmouthshire on Saturday 1st November. The centre has tiered seating and excellent access roads, and the seminar begins at 10.30 am and finishes around 2.30pm. The demonstration is projected onto a screen, with techniques highlighted and shown in enlargement, enabling the audience to follow each procedure more clearly, and ask questions as it unfolds.
The illustrated talk covers many aspects of painting winter and autumn scenes, from initial sketching and how to work comfortably out of doors in the cooler months, what to wear outdoors, to painting back indoors with methods to make the most of low winter light to bring your painting to life; bringing warm and rich colours into a drab scene; making the most of snow in its various forms; describing those graceful bare trees; capturing the magic of autumn; tackling foregrounds, with examples of various types of foreground; and much more. Many watercolour techniques are shown in detail and discussed.
Skies, Light & Atmosphere is the theme of my watercolour demonstration and seminar at Great Bookham in Surrey on 5th October, three inter-linked elements that play such important parts in landscape painting. The event features a demonstration followed by a coffee break and then an illustrated talk covering a multitude of scenes showing techniques for achieving a great many effects for skies and atmosphere, and how to make the most of the light in a variety of forms.
This watercolour of the lovely old village of Bradwell in Derbyshire embraces all three of the elements I shall be covering in the seminar. Early morning mist creates an atmosphere that loses a great deal of background detail, aided by smoke drifting up from the chimneys, while the backlighting lends itself to a dramatic effect, the figures caught in the sunlight have haloes around them – achieved by leaving the immediate surrounding rim of their bodies as untouched white paper.
The most intense light in the sky is also untouched paper, as are the silver linings, the rims at the edge of some of the clouds close to the sun. Much of the sky has been rendered with a wash of French ultramarine mixed with cadmiun red, and this has also been taken down into the background behind the immediate houses, thus retaining a sense of moody unity which a lot of conflicting colours would destroy.
My exhibition starts on 5th October at the Lincoln Joyce Fine Art gallery at 40 Church Road, Great Bookham in Surrey on the same day as the seminar which takes place in the hall opposite the gallery. The gallery telephone number is 01372 458481. The seminar starts at 1pm, although doors will be open at 11 am for a discount sale of art materials, books, etc. Entry is by ticket only and you can book online at http://www.davidbellamy.co.uk/ Click on seminar tickets in shop menu.