Painting Grey Street

Painting Grey Street
Grey Street, Saturday Morning

Painting Grey Street

It’s often helpful for anyone keen on painting to see how other artists tackle a subject. On Saturday 4th September, I was doing a painting of  Grey Street for a demonstration at Waterstones book shop in Emerson Chambers. Earlier that week, I called in and spent about 40 minutes on the preliminary sketch book watercolour above.

After drawing out the basic composition in my studio, I was ready to start the demonstration. You can see that there is an initial wash of yellow made up of lemon yellow and raw Sienna. This helps to take away the stark white of the paper and set the tones for the rest of the painting.

Manganese Blue

Once dry, I then began to select specific shadow areas and the sky with washes of Manganese Blue, Paynes Grey and a touch of purple, leaving selected areas untouched where the sun catches the buildings and paving.

I managed to accomplish more than I had hoped for in the time I was there. The fun part was really enjoying rendering the foreground building in a rather loose, impressionistic style, picking out various aspects of the wonderful Georgian architecture on Grey Street. As the scene was constantly changing, it was important to keep the brush marks free.

Often for scenes like this, one has to rely on photographs, but in this instance, it was great to have a mini studio set up with the view of Grey Street right there in front of me.


The danger in painting in the studio is tightening up, loosing the fresh, lively brush marks that one makes on location, so it’s important to keep the “on the spot” studies foremost in ones mind. I managed to move on to the other aspects of the watercolour in the same style.

The figures really help to bring this scene to life. I tried to make sure that they too were painted loose, almost in the same manner as the sketch book study.

Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne on a bright, sunny September morning.

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