For many years I have had the privilege of working in Newcastle several days a week. I try to take this opportunity to gather reference for possible future paintings. It’s always a joy to paint Grey Street in Watercolour. So it’s great to make notes of different lighting conditions throughout the year. One of the huge benefits of smart phones these days is that you always have a great camera to hand. Carrying a sketchbook is also a big asset to record simple shapes and gatherings of people. Swiftly recorded scenes in watercolour are invaluable when it comes to painting in the studio.
The early morning winter sunlight creates some wonderful effects on Newcastle’s majestic architecture. This view looking down Grey Street is particularly spectacular. In this study, almost all the buildings are shrouded in expressions of cool blues, purples and inky browns. Light relief is offered by the distant buildings that glint like gold, kissed by the sun.
The painting began last year as a watercolour demonstration for a class I was teaching who were staying at Shepherds Dene. I’d been so busy with various painting commissions and my work with Junction 42 that the unfinished painting had sat untouched for a year! I finally got round to completing this scene of Grey Street in Watercolour titled Grey Street, Winter Morning Light.
Although there is lots of activity in this busy watercolour, a careful analysis will see that I’ve simplified so much of the composition. I’ve used a limited palette which really helps to harmonise the colours. Also, I’ve reduced much of the architecture to blocks of colour with minimum detail. There’s no detail in the figures, only shapes that describe form and movement.