Monthly Archives: August 2019

When is a Shed Finished?

August 10, 2019

Collage and water based media on heavy watercolour paper

Blue Shed at the allotments in St.Leonard’s Road, Windsor

A Shed in the Blackamoor Lane Allotments, Maidenhead in October

Last Autumn and this summer I had the pleasure of meeting a great variety of sheds, courtesy of allotments in Windsor and Maidenhead.  Tutoring sessions at Norden Farm and the Fairground Allotment Painters in Windsor with their shed rich location, working from the Gardener’s Hall in St.Leonard’s Road has been a great source of inspiration for me, and the pieces shown all started as demonstration pieces, including a little collage, ink and watercolour.  Some started life as rather random pieces of paper glued to the support with no preconceived idea of the end result, growing in much the same way as some of the more eccentric sheds seem to develop.  Others started as drawings to which additions of found papers that in some sort related to the forms and tones of the composition were made, and more layers of drawing and paint added till they were complete.

The Blue Shed is complete as is the shed in the Blackamoor lane Allotments, but I think the next two are still in progress.  The Singing Allotment has a music score included (an upside down rendering of  the spiritual “Let it Rain”, the story of Noah in song), reminding me that as I worked a man of mature age was singing with a great baritone voice as he tended his plants.  The dark brown paper applied to the white support suggested a composition of great tonal contrasts and the shed decided on was strongly lit against a backdrop of darker trees.

The Singing Allotment

I applied washes of India ink and watercolour wet in wet behind the shed.  The washes granulated and ran, accidentally but perfectly suggesting the young birch trees in front of darker and denser growth, so I picked out a couple of birch trunks with white gouache.

Detail of “the Singing Allotment” showing granulation effects and white gouache trees

A different view of the Blue Shed at Windsor

For this last piece I headed off outside to the same blue shed as in the first image in this post, with a pot of India Ink, a pen and a stick and made bold and more delicate marks, working rapidly.   As soon as the ink dried pieces of hand coloured tissue were added with a very definite but quite free relation to the shapes drawn and were glued to the support with matte acrylic medium.  This is a lovely technique as the drawing shows through the translucent paper.  When dry, a blue wash for the sky was added and some dilute white gouache on the tree trunks.  Is it finished?  It’s certainly not overworked but I hesitate to add anything as I like the energy of the marks and know only too well how easy it is to destroy all that energy by tidying everything up!

So when is a shed finished?