Durham is a wonderfully picturesque city famous for its cathedral, now a World Heritage Site. Folk travelling by train are afforded spectacular views that take in one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe towering above the medieval city below. It will come as no surprise that my Durham Paintings are very popular with customers from around the world.
When I used to lecture part time at various colleges around the north east, one of the highlights of the year was to take one particular class of students to Durham for a painting project. The plan was to encourage the class to spend the day sketching around the city. I would join in on the exercise by painting at least one watercolour of Durham on location, even though the project usually took place in February!
One of my favourite vantage points was Wharton Park above the railway station. Looking into the light on a sunny February morning was always a delight to capture in watercolour. These studies became the inspiration for further Durham Paintings executed in the warmth of my studio.
More recently however I’ve been doing a number of watercolour demonstrations for various art clubs. One particular group asked if I’d show them how to add figures in a cityscape. I decided to re-visit some of my Durham reference and was reminded of a small watercolour I did of Saddler Street in winter. Saddler Street is one of the older streets in Durham that takes you up to the Cathedral. Durham is also famous for its prison. At one time it had two. The old County Gaol was owned by the Bishop of Durham and was rebuilt in Saddler Street in the early 15th century.
The reference I had was perfect for the demonstration which the class enjoyed. I used a limited palette to capture figures making their way up and down the cobbled street, their reflections glistening in the wet. Due to the Beast from the East this week I’ve had time in the Studio to complete the painting which is available online and which can be seen from my Studio & Gallery in Ponteland.