On Saturday evening I enjoyed watching an interesting documentary on BBC 2 about the impressionists. I found it fascinating because it was refreshingly light and informative. It wasn’t just about the artists themselves but about their working methods, techniques and influences which made it engaging. Towards the end of the programme, the presenter, Waldemar Januszczak took us on a painting journey to London. Monet and Pissarro both spent a part of their lives painting different aspects of the city. Monet’s moody paintings of the Thames are well known, particularly those which capture low sunlight. I was reminded of my own painting of a Thames Sunrise.
The painting above depicting a Thames Sunrise was painted in 2005. I wanted a painting of contrasts. The linear form and structure of the skyline, contrasts against the fluid, loose washes of the sky and water. Also, I wanted the painting to be full of light. Not just from the sun breaking through the low lying clouds, but also the last remnants of the artificial light being produced by the city itself before being switched off to be taken over by the full light of day.
This giclee limited edition print has been faithfully reproduced from the original watercolour. I painted it on Fabriano Esportazione, which a very expensive hand made paper from Italy. The heavy texture of the paper is a delight to paint on. If you drag a large brush full of watercolour pigment over the surface, it creates some wonderful effects. At the edges of some of the cloud shapes, you can see how the paint catches the texture. You can see how this effect has been repeated in the light being reflected in the water. I have contrasted these loose, fluid techniques with the tighter, more controlled painting of the architecture.