Sunday, 7 June 2009

Time & Immediacy - two different approaches

Watching the Band
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

My two most recent paintings were done in one weekend. The first is one which I'd been meaning to paint for ages. Last Summer we visited a festival in the Bishop of Winchester's palace grounds, because a young relative was playing with a local youth band. While we were watching my attention was caught by a couple in front of us - he, sitting casually on the grass while she stood with arms folded, her red hair and green dress brightening an unfortunately dull day. I took a photo because I knew I would want to recapture the scene in paint at some point. Would it be pure watercolour or line & wash? or some different approach? I couldn't decide.

May evening, Harpenden Common
© Teresa Kirkpatrick 2009

Then a couple of weeks ago we had some beautiful late Spring weather. Harpenden Common was looking its loveliest and I got the camera out, even going so far as to get my other half to park the car at a suitable vantage point on a busy road . . . I knew the shots would be no good as photos because the light was poor, but for reference they would be ideal.

That was the Friday evening. By Sunday night I'd reinterpreted the buttercups on the Common and finally got round to painting the couple watching the band (I even managed to sneak my partner's nephew into the top right-hand corner). I had photos of each in front of me but for general reference only - I prefer to let the painting take on a life of its own rather than faithfully copy a snapshot. The Common painting was almost done from memory - an impression of the sea of flowers and grasses stretched out in front of me and my camera. The painting of the band, on the other hand, developed a character of its own as I imagined what each of the musicians was thinking.

And of course, in my paintings the festival is taking place on a bright day and the Common is bathed in entirely fictional light. Isn't watercolour wonderful!!


  1. It's great to see your two new pictures! I especially like the one of the common - very atmospheric, and I love all the subtle colours and cool shadows.

    It's amazing how people can catch your eye, isn't it? I wonder now why she wasn't sitting too...

  2. thanks Sue! it was quite a damp day so perhaps she didn't want to risk grass stains. I always want to find out more about people in paintings - why were they doing this or that? what happened next? LOL