People can be so kind. I felt so welcome and cared for while stood on the street corner every night working on this painting. I met all kinds of lovely people who wanted to make sure I was doing ok. The staff at the Yewdale brought me delicious cups of hot chocolate with cream on top. I recommend their hot chocolate, really lovely, and Harry, of Harry’s restaurant, which you can see in the painting, gave me a Pizza. IT WAS A GREAT PIZZA, just like a proper home made pizza, none of this mega greasy, plastic ham rubbish, it had proper meat and proper cheese. great pizza. So go and eat Harry’s pizza’s and drink Yewdale Hot chocolate. Now would be a good time to mention the really good cups of tea at Gillam’s in Ulverston, and the coffee at Lucy’s on a plate. (where I should also plug my little exhibition) I don’t know if it is that when you are really cold everything tastes better, I’d like to believe that all of these places have given me the choicest cups of tea, like their specialities, because Gillam’s was a better than average cup of tea, and likewise the Yewdale hot chocolate and all the rest of them, they must be able to tell I’m a discerning kind of tramp who appreciates quality refreshments.
So here is my painting of Coniston by night. As night fell, and I clattered out of my little hut with all my gear my neighbour voiced her puzzlement at how I could see in the dark to paint. “I’ll just have to guess” I said. I was surprised the next day to find that the colours I had been using at night time, were the correct colours. I was expecting to find everything a murky shade of green, but the many nights spent painting at Mondo’s Marveloso caberet have paid off.
If you want to paint in the dark – don’t do it, you need to be able to see something.
If you want to paint in a dark place, but there is some dim light – ok, that’s not so bad.
Painting in the dark requires a good memory for how colours were mixed. This is where it is useful to have a large vocabulary for describing colours. Red, Orange, Yellow etc, is not enough, you need to know just how much orange makes an orangey yellow, you can always say yellowy yellow orange, and orangey orange yellow white, but having names, that don’t change for colours is useful. What’s more useful is remembering where you put them on the pallete after you mixed them. Try and keep things simple and logical. On another occaision I will talk at length about how to manage the pallette, because it’s very important.
You can get by in daylight working ad hoc (or by ear but that makes no sense) mixing the colours each time to the correct tone, but if you tell yourself what the colour is you want to mix, and then tell yourself how many parts of which colours went into it, you’ll be able to make that colour again when you can’t see the paints on the pallette very well. Does that make sense?
The problem is, that under a street light, or lights in a night club, its not darkness that’s the problem, but the fact that different colours are filtered and appear the same colour. This usually means that green doesn’t look green anymore. Green is the biggest problem, because if green light is filtered out of the scene you are looking at, it shouldn’t be in the painting, but, green is the easiest colour to mix by accident, and if you have a tiny bit of blue on the brush, it can turn any yellows you want to mix into greens, and then, being in the funny light, you don’t know it! So beware!
Painting at night time is fun, you don’t know exactly how the painting looks, it will inevitably not look as good under day light as it does under street light, but unusual things can happen when you are painting a painting you cannot see. There is no use being to precious about the painting, because you can’t see it that well, so you have to let it grow and become itself without taking too much control. Paintings are magical objects, and they can do things by themselves sometimes, so the picture you come back to the following day, might not be the same picture you painted.