A painting's story.

Well here we go - as promised the excitement about the painting sold yesterday from @theglamorousowl in Newcastle - in the form of an origins narrative...

"Quayside" started off as speculation.

The summers day was warm, and I was hot having walked throughout town looking for moments to sketch - to capture.

Not being at my physical peak this meandering had left me thirsty. Along the Newcastle quayside are many bars, but the heat, and the view led me to the 'Pitcher and Piano', to this table, and to a cold pint of (continental) lager. 

Settled, I began to review the days snapshots, the thoughts and scribblings dotted through my sketchbook. Between glances and sips I found my eyes following the geometry of the bridges, the vanishing of the buildings and the fences and street lights. Soon my pen was working its way over the landscape -  searching for the nooks and crannies of line and shade, forming the patterns and shapes flowing across the horizon. I persevered - trying to balance between quick strokes hinting at movement and the anxiety of over-working the line. It was only with the addition of people - filling out the pavement, that an image took place; now the eye entered the picture and I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Beer goggle sketch.

Beer goggle sketch.

I let the sketch nag away for a couple of weeks. The movement of the people an abstraction that played against the strong lines of the various bridges that crossed and re-crossed the river. Though it was probably the flickering pattern of the lamps - growing from a distance that I itched to use.

Sitting with my watercolours, the sun of that day poured into the colours; sweeping with movement over the paper - splashes of stronger colour contrasting with softer hues that let the brightness through.  Drawing over the image - strong lines jumped out, the sketch strokes became solidified, and the play of ink built up the depth and energy of the scene.

With the image added I set about taking it away: first with a knife - scratching away at paint and ink - marking the texture of the paint, and hinting at the colour left in flecks and streaks; then with tip-ex - providing an energy and subliminal direction for the eye. 

At this point I struggle to stop - knowing I must, that holding back leaves more that I can add; yet the temptation to do everything with each medium is at times overwhelming.  

Now I'm a shudder away from a tantrum, knowing that each stage needs to build, to enhance (or rectify) the stage before. I'm really impatient and the idea of having to redo something at this point drives me crazy - so these last touches are where I alway believe I'm going to throw it away.  It's a massive relief when I can finally put down the pen, walk around the house, and look down on a finished picture.

Then there's only the signature... Christ! 

"Quayside" - just sold. 

"Quayside" - just sold.