In 2009 we went to visit Nona at the Italian Club in Cape Town.  Ethan was very focussed on perfecting his Ollie at the time.  I could hear him clattering outside the studio often.  Sinead took a brilliant photo of Ethan and his shadow, from which I painted this quick sketch:

Light is Sweet

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At the time I was working hard to implement the approach taught by Charles Reid.  Here is what I wrote about my approach:  I am so keen to develop a looser approach to watercolours.  Here is a picture of my son Ethan.  I started with a contour drawing and then began with the darks.  I also tried to go out of the body as soon as possible to the dark tree in the background.  I did the road and the green grass last, after the shadow, which was a problem perhaps – but it feels great to just do it with out trying to be perfect – mmm very good.

Then I did a more careful painting of the same scene :  Here is a picture, below, I did of Ethan doing an Ollie on his skateboard:

I liked the dark background as it gave definition to his upper body and arms, which were light.  But I found the tree trunk off-putting.

Notes from 2009:  I am pleased with the shadow which has more life, and I like the way the shadow and the tree shadow repeat the motion of the arms.  The tree is overworked though – this is a lot of dark and I want to learn how to apply this amount of colour with sparkle.  This will be my bed-time reading.   Oh yes – Ethan tells me that the move is called an ‘Ollie’ but as his brother Calvin explained, “We are South African – therefore Arlie”  (I am not sure I understood but anyway).

Here are the stages in the development of the first picture:

arley-ii-w     arley-ii-2w

At the time I wanted to do the painting without the tree in the background.  I had a feeling the painting went downhill from the first one and wanted to preserve some of the freshness.

So I did the picture again:

With the lighter background I thought the figure was more prominnent.  However with the benefit of all of these years of other work I prefer the second version.  I have an idea of how I would do it today but that can be for another posting.

What do you think?