I just love the Thames and Westminster is one of my favourite places. Maybe it a bit of obsessive compulsive feeling for this area, but I do keep returning to it in my paintings. It's usually full of tourists during the summer months. So much to see. So much to do. The south bank, London Eye, the Tate, the Houses of Parliament, Whitehall, Trafalgar Sq., the National, the Mall and Buckingham Palace and many more places to go, to see, to paint.
Earlier this spring, I decided to paint a skyline of Westminster bridge and the Houses of Parliament but with a twist. I had a photo of a watercolour of Venice painted in a style similar to Charles Reed. My thoughts were to use that painting style on the upper buildings and blend this into the darkness of the river. Here is that early spring attempt.
The buildings turned out OK but overall it was a bit of a failure. The Thames and Westminster Bridge disappeared into the blue gunk at the bottom of the painting. After some thought, I knew what I wanted and I knew that I needed to do a couple of value studies.
The first study (top-left) was a simple three value study. This solid, non-gradated study isn't going in the direction I wanted. The second study (top-right) with a gradation from right to left and somewhat from top to bottom exactly the image I wanted to paint. The third (bottom-left) done with a sky wash failed again. The last study in colour also is moving in the direction I wanted to go.
So I've done the studies and I know where I want to take the painting. Just a quick light sketch and I'm can start to sling paint. Right? Wrong! The original painting and the four studies stayed pined to the wall for 3 three months before I decided to take them down and have another go at this subject. I think it's an improvement over the original. I also think there is still room for improvement. Maybe I will revisit it in a couple of months and maybe I'll be happy with the results and maybe fish will learn to fly. Enjoy