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Grey Day

Fabriano In Acquarello

Grey Day is a painting I produced with the intention of submitting it to an annual art event called Fabriano in Acquarello. Supported by the International Watercolour Society (IWS), it’s a watercolour convention held in the Italian town of Fabriano.

To my delight, the IWS Scotland branch has accepted Grey Day as an entry. The painting will go to Fabriano to be exhibited there.

A Street Scene

The choice of what to paint is up to the artist. So I decided to go for a Glasgow street scene. Since I own many reference photographs that I’ve taken in Glasgow, that wasn’t going to be a problem. My basic reference was a photo I took in the city’s Mitchell Street, looking up into West Nile Street. However, it’s not precisely a painting of that area, because I simplified some elements and brought in features from other photos.

My main aim was to capture the mood of the day: a damp, overcast morning in central Glasgow, a short while after a light shower of rain. I also hoped to give the painting a sense of depth, using linear and aerial perspective.

There’s a lot of grey and neutral tones in the painting, to give the effect of flat light on a cloudy day. However, most cities are colourful places, even when the weather is poor, and Glasgow is no exception. So, towards the end of the painting, I brought in some touches of brighter colour such as red and yellow. These gave the grey scene a bit of a necessary lift, I felt.

The trickiest things to get right were the vertical lines in the background and the complex reflections in the windows and paintwork of the parked cars. I just had to take my time and slog methodically through these. To be honest, I enjoy that sort of detail work.

Unframed watercolour painting. Size 815 x 22 inches / 38 x 56 centimetres.

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