Paintings of London IV (The making of "Evening Light, Leadenhall Market II" )

demo Enid Lawson Gallery exhibition london oil on canvas people

This is another painting that featured in my just concluded group exhibition of Paintings of London at Enid Lawson Gallery. The painting is another after work series on Leadenhall Market, my first one can be seen HERE.

Evening Light, Leadenhall Market II, 24" x 30", Oil on Canvas, 2011 SOLD

The Leadenhall Market is a beautiful spot in the City of London and I'll love to do more on this series.

Below are some steps I went about to complete this piece. This is not a step by step demo, most of what I have here are just photos of different stages of the work. It is very hard to have a proper outlined demo of complicated paintings like this but at least it gives a clearer view of how I go about these busy paintings. I never have a set way I do them, and most of the time I only decide after starting, on how I am going to go about the whole process.


I have gone straight with paint from the start here, no charcoal or coloured pencil sketching, just an initial sketch done in burnt sienna on my pre-coloured ground-I have used a warm orange-brown scheme for this. I work very quickly in broad strokes to quickly capture the essence of the scene. the architecture means a lot to me, it's what makes me love the place. So, apart from the figures, I spend a lot of time planning the colours and perspective of the whole structure. As you can see broad strokes of colour are laid in, I do this to quickly have a clear view of how the whole scene is going to look.


I work more on the architecture here, I love architecture! It's as simple as that, so when a building has a bit of beauty to offer-I get to grips with it and make sure I enjoy all the mouldings and pillars. I don't like the whole thing to look overworked and all technical but I just try and enjoy the process and deal with each phase in terms of light and shade, warm and cool. It's a game and if played well always results in reality. Look at the difference between the front of the structure and the part that is underneath, the part underneath is the same colour but it has been cooled down to indicate the lack of light reaching that area. I leave all the figures out at this stage but you can see indications in sketch form, of where they are going to be.


The first few figures emerge from this stage and I work on them from left to right, working in a shape by shape manner and making sure each figure is finished before moving to the next one. This helps to clarify my thoughts on how and where the next figure is going to be. I also work on their surroundings at the same time, making sure they don't end up looking like cut-outs on the scene but fully part of the scene. The figures in urban scenery must belong to the scene-if they don't belong to the scene the painting will end up looking a bit weird. In order to avoid this, I work on the figures and their surroundings for this piece at the same time. The process is slow but rewarding in the end.


Even more figures emerge here, and more detailing to the architecture that surrounds them. It's always a delight to work on these areas and watch the figures emerging from ghost-like sketches. It is this sense of, "not knowing what to expect" that keeps me focused while working on scenes like this, with this method.


Finally I add all the figures and refine all parts of the scene, working backwards and forwards to make sure the whole scene vibrates as one. I tune the colours to keep them all within the right range to avoid a sudden leap of tone or temperature. Then, to give it a sense of spark-I add spots of light in random places to create a bit of buzz in the areas where the figures converge in the background.

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