Story of a painting – ‘Calm Morning for a Sail’ and how I painted it

Posted: 27/03/2015 in Uncategorized
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Morning Sail from Sozopol

STORY OF MY PAINTINGS AND HOW I PAINTED THEM

The reason this painting came about was that a Gallery owner near my Studio, in Sozopol asked me to paint bigger, and it was an area I was considering anyway, so was happy about the request.

The mixed media (goache, acrylic and watercolour) on stretched linen canvas was an intimidating 200cm wide x 90cm I applied two coats of White Gesso the previous day and let it dry overnight.

It was the first time I had painted so large, so I chose a familiar subject I had painted many times in watercolour, the view of Burgas Bay, with the Stara Planina mountain range in the background, and Sozopol and it’s Islands in the foreground. The viewpoint is from my original studio in Paradise Bay.

I knew that because of the large are of sky and water, preparation would be important so I mixed up large pots of fairly liquid Cobalt Blue and White Goache. I chose Goache as I like to use my watercolour lifting off technique for the reflections in the water and for the clouds in the sky. The whole of these areas were painted very quickly in about 20 minutes, and was done in one ‘hit’….. very scary !

I had a smaller canvas prepared, and painted that too, so I could have a dummy run at each stage before turning my attention to the big one.

STEP 1

I had sketched the scene lightly using a 4b graphite pencil.

My girlfriend helped me pour the two colours onto first the sky area. I had the canvas tipped on an angle to give a little movement as I painted. It was a very hot day and I knew I had minutes to paint these large areas so speed was of the essence. It was also essential to know when to stop so the painting was clean, and not muddy, so no fiddling…..

I APPLIED THE PAINT VERY QUICKLY USING A 2 1/2” SYNTHETIC BRUSH ENSURING ALL MY BRUSH STROKES IN THE WATER AREA WERE PERFECTLY HORIZONTAL. BIG EXAGGERATED ARM MOVEMENT S ARE THE KEY

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Using the same techniques I use in my watercolour painting, ie painting the furthest things away first I lifted out clouds using tissue and a moist brush. It was important to wipe out where I wanted the reflections in the water, and I made sure these areas were wiped vertically right back to the white canvas. The number of ‘planes’ in this painting were the sky, the distant mountains, the Islands, and finally the foreground headland. As I wanted lots of distance, or recession in my painting to capture the vastness of Burgas Bay (it’s about 15 miles as the crow flies to the distant mountains) It was important that I didn’t paint too dark too soon, and wanted to capture a perfect summers day.

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STEP 2

Using a mixture of Caput Mortem and Cobalt Blue, mixed with a little Light Red Oxide Goache I painted the distant mountains (known locally as the Blue Mountains) The light in the painting was coming from the right, so I used sloping brush strokes following the contours of the hills. As you can see I carefully cut around the distant towns of Pomorie, Nessebar and Sunny Beach, and did the same around the Island and Lighthouse. As a newbie to Mixed Media painting am not sure this is necessary but I knew that the ‘lights’ in the painting would be important.

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STEP 3

I painted the shadow side of the distant hotels using the same mix as the mountains. I then strengthened this mix and painted rocks on the islands, and added some detail to the distant water, and some darker lines for the reflections.

STEP 4

I then used various earth colours and cool greens to paint the islands, indicating some distant trees and bushes. I painted the lighthouse sharply ensuring that the shadows were on the left hand side. Doing this ensured that the lighthouse counterchanged with the distant mountain range. I even included a couple of seagulls over the roof !

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STEP 5

Was to warm and darken all of my colours to paint all the buildings on the foreground headland, ensuring that all the shadow sides were on the left. This took about two days work. I also ensured that the brights here particularly the greens really pinged !

STEP 6

Once everything was painted I then added some reflections in the water, and suggested some movement in the foreground.

The painting was exhibited at the Bisserra Gallery in Sozopol

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It was then featured as the showcase at my first exhibition ‘An Englishman Abroad’  in Sofia and subsequently sold and is now in a private collection in Germany

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I hope you enjoyed this short tutorial and story of my painting.

Please feel free to share or comment

HAPPY PAINTING

MARTIN

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