MyLife Thoughts and rants

Dog walk cold day

Not much to report, its been so cold and dark lately that painting in the back room upstairs, which is the only space I have available at this time, has become impossible to work in. In a few weeks time I hope to start painting again and also finish off the gouache I started before Christmas. In the meantime Barney and I decided a longer walk was in order.

We headed down to The Cut along the river and saw where the embankment had collapsed, destroying what was left of The Chocolate Path (so called because the paving surface looked like squares of chocolate). This is really sad because this walk and the path have been the inspiration for me both for photography and for drawing and painting.

RIP chocolate path – apologies bad mobile phone image

We walked across to Hotwells, and mooched about before heading back.

Falling into the water

This is what the path used to look like:

The chocolate path a few years ago (on the section where it collapsed)
Another shot from a few years ago on a sunnier day.
Between the bonded warehouses.

The mist and the gloom gave everything a really odd light. Almost like a filter applied to a photo in Instagram, but without the filter.

The area there has changed quite a lot with the new bus road, which was now empty because the buses have been re-routed due the embankment collapsing.

These walks in the cold with just a mobile phone to get photos with don’t produce images that are any good for photography, but are gold for capturing the feeling and the atmosphere that might one day be useful in a painting, which I’m always thinking about. I like to imagine I’m a scout for a film company, looking for new paces to shoot scenes for films that might one day get made.

Here is a quick shot of the (unfinished) painting as it stands.

Unfinished gouache
Boat gouache MyLife painting Watercolour

Allora – all alone – part one

This painting, done in gouache, will probably be my last in this series of ‘Hope Cove’ images.

Got the initial sketch done. This one is going to be different from the previous two in the series. Much more quiet and serene.

Hope Cove is the place where all of our summer holidays were when I was a child, so it has a special place in my heart. We also have a family reunion on the first weekend in July in Hope Cove. My grandparents moved there with their kids (my dad!) during WWII. My uncle met his wife there. My mum was from Kingsbridge which is a town nearby, and I have lots of family and memories of there as well. There is also a lot of sadness associated with Hope Cove, more on that later…

In the first painting in the series, Hope Cove Boats, I was trying to capture the brightly painted boats, and the reflections in the water. Things are very bright and colourful. But something else has always intrigued me about these boats, and that are the long ropes that anchor the boats to the beach to stop them drifting away. I wanted to capture those ropes in the painting. They anchor more than the boats, they link the water in the mid part of the painting to the foreground, helping to tie the image together.

Hope Cove Boats

The ropes are also a metaphor, and form part of the visual language of the painting. Here it is not very deep meaning, just that we as a family used to be very close, and we are like the boats, and the ropes bind us together, and to this place.

In the second painting in this series, the ropes are pulled taut, as if some of the boats are straining to be let free. Or to break away from the family.

In this second painting, which was done using mainly gouache and very little watercolour, things begin take on more detail. Things become clearer. The colours of the boats are still bright though.

For the third painting I’m doing now, wanted it to look a little bit more serene, maybe a bit sadder.

Watercolour for the sky

Using a mix of really washed out ultramarine blue and transparent white I painted the sky using a wet-on-wet technique, using a clean mop brush loaded with water and a clean sponge to pick up the colour and get the wispy clouds. The cloud is where the white of the paper is showing through. I will not touch the sky again after this point, so I will need to keep that area clean of drips and fingerprints etc!

For this painting I did do a thin wash of colour over pretty much everything that was left, but I wasn’t too concerned about the actual colours, they are just an undercoat and using opaque gouache over the top very little will show through, if any at all.

A thin ‘tea’ wash of colour laid down with a mop brush.

It might be worth me showing you the actual palette for this painting, because it is the same palette used for the previous two. I haven’t added any more paint to the palette since the first painting in this series! In fact I also use this same palette for the narrowboat painting that I did before.

My palette used for the last three paintings. The winning palette.

This is a mixture of watercolour and gouache on the same palette. The blue bottom right is a mixture of ultramarine, cerulean blue, and opaque white. The green is made from lemon yellow, a tiny amount of neutral tint plus a spot of W&N sap green. I prefer to mix my own greens where possible.

Laying in the trees on the hill. You can see that some of the green is transparent and is allowing some of the base layer to show though (but not much).

I decided to make the trees look more lifelike in this one, so I’m working on them with a narrow no.2 brush. trying to get the bushes and trees look a bit more 3d, so I added a lot more neutral tint to the bottom parts of the bushes, making them almost black.

Working on the cliffs below the hill.
‘Reforestation’ 😉

Pulling back you can see that the overall effect is more detailed and lifelike, but using a smaller brush makes for very slow work.

Update showing more detail on the cliffs and the rocks below.

I will post more on this painting as I make more progress. I’m going to be spending some time on this over Christmas and into the new year. In the meantime I hope you have a merry Christmas 2019 and happy new year for 2020!


My Life – Part 5

Comic 5.adj1


My Life – Part 4



My Life – Part 3

Comic 3


My Life – Part 2

comic 2


My Life – Part 1

comic 1