Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Zut Alors!

Man on Steps - 10" x 14" - Watercolour

This was my father's favourite painting, another forerunner of “Looking Down Some Steps” ('Keep it Simple' - 12 December 2011), and painted at about the same time as the previous painting entitled “Steps” ('Sacre Bleu' – 27 December 2011). For my part I always wanted a raincoat like this (it was a Humphrey Bogart thing) and it reminded me of a dreadful pun in an old Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band song, 'Big Shot':

“Have you got a light, mack?”
“No, but I've got a dark brown overcoat!”

The steps were in Paris although I don't remember where. There are a lot of horizontal lines and the painting is divided into thirds, horizontally and vertically. In the preliminary drawings I experimented with the shadows following the diagonal, but it looked wrong so I changed it in the finished painting. The palette is very limited: earth colours, alizarin crimson and ultramarine. Most of the painting is done with layers of washes but the foreground steps use a wet into wet technique. I like the way the shadow changes colour and become less sharp as it moves away from the figure.

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