Thursday, 30 May 2013


Night - 14 x 20 - Watercolour

I think of this as my Atkinson Grimshaw Rheinhart Payne painting. I was very young when I discovered John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893). He was famous for his townscapes and night scenes and these stayed with me as I grew up. I have been planning to do a night painting for a long time but to get really dark darks with watercolour is difficult so I kept putting it off. Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967) was an abstract painter who was known for some 'black paintings' he did near the end of his life. I first saw these while at school preparing for 'A' Level art. I was very impressed especially by his slightly immodest claim that they were the end of painting. At first sight they just look like plain black canvasses but after a while the viewer can see that they are made up of geometric shapes in slightly different hues and shades of black. For this painting, which is probably an anti-Reinhardt painting, I didn't use black but variations on Paynes Grey, a mixture of indigo, sienna and crimson lake developed by William Payne (1760-1830). I also used another innovation credited to Payne which was to create highlights by taking out areas of paint by wetting the surface and rubbing it with bread or rag (or, in my case, with a brush).