‘City Lights’ Poolbeg Sketch

‘City Lights’ Poolbeg. This sketch based on the image here from my shop page is simple and straightforward. The scene is from north of the River Liffey in Dublin City. It’s a terrific spot to paint. Wide-open strands, boats and seagulls hovering over your head…nothing beats it!

Sketching is not ‘old school’, it’s been around before painting! My objective has always been, and always will come first and foremost in my paintings. I cannot do any painting without it. I can’t find my self looking into a photo on the laptop sorely and reliant on that alone. It’s cheating and that’s it!

The sketch:: What hits you first is the yellow and orange colours in the scene. That’s what I wanted to do. Bring in colour and light immediately. I need to have strong colours and values to know where I’m going first and foremost. Secondly, I wanted to contrast that with the darkest of darks, and that’s the sky and sand, along with the horizon buildings and background hills. If I can’t be at the scene, at least I’ll get a decent shot (photo) and from that back in the studio, I’ll work off parts that excite me, edit bits I don’t want. I’ll never copy it. Apart from cheating, I personally can’t do that – there’s absolutely no satisfaction.

I’m always wondering if colouring pencils are good or bad, I’m experimenting and I think I’m gonna try watercolour inks, they have a strength to them I can’t shake off. I studied an English artist: Richard Thorn – his work is lively and full of fresh and vibrant colours that saturate his canvas/paper. When I look deeply and see his paintings I am in absolute awe! Why I’m mentioning him: he uses watercolour inks a lot, and they are totally exciting and bounce off the page. This is what I need to do to bring my paintings to the fore. Watercolour pencils aren’t giving me that kick and excitement.

Watercolour pencil sketch: A4. (above text)

From a distance, finished painting of City Lights.

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