Monday, 6 December 2010

Meat market with Art Convoy

I recently spent a chilly Sunday painting at a spot down at Smithfield's meat market in London with a group known as Art Convoy who I came across on Facebook. They're a very nice bunch and it makes a refreshing change to be outside painting alongside other fellow artists. Hopefully there will be more outings to come in the future.

The piece I did was an interesting composition with radical shifts of light. I liked the cool light gently filtering in through the skylights in the roof curves. I also thought the puddles helped draw the sky down through the composition. I was conscious of trying to balance those shifts and make sure I got as close as I could with the colour temperatures. The phone boxes offered a bit of a challenge because their intense colour could easily have stole the show. Hopefully I got the balance somewhere near the right sort of level, tempered with a touch of viridian and ultramarine to knock it back slightly. It was great to see how the other artists approached the same subject. The somewhat 'unifinished' look I attribute to the grittier nature of the subject :o)

Compare my study with the photo below. Those telephone boxes don't half scream at you which is why I toned them down by adding Viridian. Notice too how the lights are totally bleached out by the camera. This is one of the reasons I much prefer painting directly from the subject. Couple that with the fact that I find working from photos a pretty dull affair. The energy of the moment is what guides me. I find the camera often kills the subject but it can be handy for reminders of details.


  1. That's brilliant. What a great idea to paint on site in a group. Do you guys exhibit together in London somewhere as well?

  2. Thanks Olha! Yes indeed, painting outdoors with a group is a great experience, I'd thoroughly recommend it. I came across the group on Facebook and intend to return for more outings with them when I can. The group formed after meeting on a course at Heatherleys School of Art (a superb art school based in Chelsea). They seemed more than happy to allow me to join in :o) Do you paint plein air yourself?