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Lights in the Sky, Lights from the Land: Harbour and River Lights

November 10, 2020

Little Yellow Boat
Pastel on blue paper

This week we are moving toward the coast, rivers and canals for inspiration and your challenge will be to produce paintings including a light source and its reflection in water.  The reflection will not only be affected by the position of the light source to its reflection but also the prevailing light conditions; mist or the darkness of night and whether the water is calm, rippling or rough.

Little Yellow Boat with Lights
Pastel on blue paper
This has been developed from the first picture and has a completely different atmosphere.

Look at photos of rivers and the sea where any light is reflected and look at how reflections are interrupted and sometimes scattered by waves.

Apart from the vertical positioning of any reflection take special care that each reflection is directly below the light source being reflected. This is seen very clearly both in works by Whistler and Andrew Gifford. better still take a walk along the Thames in the early evening.

The medium is very much your choice and as last week you may work from your imagination or from a reference, preferably of a place you know.   James McNiell Whistler is famed for his series of “nocturne” paintings of the Thames. The darkest of these are full of drama and the most subtle have that beauty of early morning stillness. Examples of Whistler’s nocturnes alongside works by Andrew Gifford and the Canadian artist David Haughton can be seen on this week’s Pinterest board at:

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/jhall1282/lights-in-art/harbour-lights-lighthouses-and-docks/

Also included are some imaginative works by Charles Philippe Jacquet. The artist’s rather surreal compositions combine his ideas with an almost believable reality.  In reviewing some of your own photographs you may be inspired to adapt them to an imaginative approach or to paint a more representational painting.  If your reference is complicated, consider making a study of part of it and experiment with little sketches before homing in on a final composition. 

Leaving Funchal: Photo

Lastly I couldn’t resist including this photo of a cruise ship leaving Funchal; the antithesis of the little yellow boat that carries commuters and tourists alike from Leeds Dock.

If you have very little in the way of references for lights reflected in water at night or evening from boats or buildings on the shore, make a sketch or photo of one of the bridges or part of the Thames shoreline at dusk. Maidenhead Bridge has plenty of lights. Alternatively, if you would like to try a more surreal approach why not choose a building you know and perch it with fully lit windows on a rock in the middle of a lake and imagine your own private lighthouse!

Your paintings:

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Pastel on black paper by Barbara
Christchurch Bridge, Reading
Acrylic by Malcolm
After Ravillious
Watercolour by Shane
Lighthouse
Watercolour by Sarah
Gaios Harbour, Paxos at Night
Watercolour by Sarah
Moon over Kings Lynn
Pastel by Jane
Bull Seal and Harbour Lights, Shetlands
Pastel by Jane
Light in Rough Seas
Watercolour and Pastel by Heather
Imagined Light
Pastel on terracotta paper by Shirley
Hong Kong
Pastel on dark paper by Shirley
Guilin, China
Pastel by John
Early Evening in Venice Harbour
Watercolour by Maricarmen
Lighthouse at Dusk by Maricarmen
New York 1
Watercolour by Ann
New York 2
Watercolour by Ann
Night Yacht
Pastel by Liz
Moon over Tenby Harbour
Watercolour, highlighted with pastel by Liz
Chatham Shipyard
Pastel on dark blue paper by Jan
Chatham Shipyard
Pastel on grey paper by Jan
Marlow Church Reflections
Pastel on blue grey paper by Jan

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