Last weekend I enjoyed meeting friends from University whom I rarely see, ending with a long and entertaining discussion past midnight with my host’s son about the nature of science and knowledge.
I arrived late, diverted on my way down by a cloud formation like a great rent in the sky.
Coming off the motorway to follow this, I realised the sky contained about 20 red kites (and the side road filled with cars presumably belonging to other birdwatchers). I only had about 10 minutes to watch these and no time to draw.
The next day was spent wandering the North Kent Marshes. What was striking was the intensity and variability in the whites that made up the sky and mud flats. This is the first sketch, drawn in charcoal and overlaid with gouache. This week, I intend to re-draw this scene directly in transparent watercolour.
This gives me an excuse to post an old painting, this time done in watercolour (except for acrylic corrections to the light on the right side) of marshland south of Brittany. I think I painted this about three years ago.
This illustrates a tension I feel in watercolour – my instinct has been to put in depth of colour, as here. When I have used thin washes, the result just looks washed out. However, the most beautiful of watercolours often employ the luminous quality of light reflected through pigment off the underlying white paper. I guess this requires a clever selection of tints and contrasts to make white look exciting. This will be my challenge when I re-paint the North Kent marshes.