I saw this scene last week on the Thames, it was quite magical! But I couldn’t paint in plein air as the sun was too bright off the water – I couldn’t see the subject!
I did start a painting see below but when I went to work on it in the studio realised I was trying to get too big a picture in so I honed into the bit I really liked, not worrying that I cut off some of the bridge, just making sure the composition worked.
Also using a bigger board size than normal, which I enjoyed and worked well for the subject. I used larger brushes for as long as I could mapping in the darks. I graduated the tones from very dark of the boats, making it light as I went to the bridge, trees, background buildings… this gives a sense of space. Also as I lightened mixing the orange sky colour with the dark colour gives a feeling of light saturation – see the tall tower next to the dark bridge strutts.
The ‘wires’ on the bridge I put a main thicker one in first before the sky and other others after. Being bold with the strokes but a light touch as well – I use a Rosemary & Co Rigger. Where the sun was shining you couldn’t see the wires so I didn’t paint them in.
The boats needed surprisingly little painting, I put the main shapes to start in a thinned dark and then picked up the light on the top using a mid grey and nearer the sun a warm colour.
I’m really pleased with how this one has turned out.