Or at least, extreme weather. I braved the elements on a (relatively) sheltered café terrace as the storm raged across the canals. With frequent gusts sending rain spitting across my paper, a tight painting was never using to happen. So instead I ordered a generous beer and dropped a load of colour onto the damp paper. What made it harder was the strong orange glare of the street lamps which made it impossible to judge colour accurately.
This was the base wash that would later become the windows and reserved highlights. I honestly never thought it was going to dry. The wind was pushing the pigment around on the paper and the spray creating a nice mottled texture… but the paper was getting damper by the second. I painted in the sky with a fairly strong mix of light red and cobalt, then retreated inside the café.
Next came the beautiful canalside buildings of Keizersgracht – visible through the rain as a low dark mass. This was painted as a single varied wash: light red, ultramarine, burnt sienna – whatever was to hand. Once this was sort-olf dry, a bit of loose wet detail came in, toghether with the canal’s choppy reflections and the foreground.
Here’s the finished painting. I had fun with the trees and bikes, slopping on rough shapes of wheels and branches in a weak wash, then adding stronger, more precise details. The final touch was a fair bit of highlight detail in various opaque shades of titanium-white, which I also used to recover a few windows I’d accidentally painted over in my earlier exuberance. Arguably this should be a bit finer, but as the shapes merge together it doesn’t jar too much.
Looking at the final painting, I think it needs a rain-swept figure or two, desperately trying to keep their umbrella from blowing inside out. Still, next time…
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