St Paul’s Bay, Lindos, Rhodes.
watercolour 428 x 248 mm
This well known location on the island of Rhodes made a strong impression on me a few weeks ago when I attended a close family wedding there. This watercolour painting was made for the happy couple as a souvenir of a highly memorable occasion.
The afternoon of the day before the ceremony I spent some time walking around the bay assessing various views where the small white chapel is the focus. The obvious angles, already well covered in tourist photos and prints for sale in local shops, didn’t seem to capture the key experience of walking up the steps into the chapel precinct where the weddings actually take place. Only this view, to my eye, contained all the elements that really made the scene- including the bay itself and the Acropolis of Lindos in the background.
So, sitting on the low stone wall flanking the slope down to the water of the bay( with my calves catching the burning sun), I began some exploratory sketches setting up the composition and relative proportions as experienced rather than photographed (see blog entry ‘Award for Excellence’ March 2009)
Clearly there was an issue of composition to deal with- the scene divides itself all too neatly in half: the foreground chapel and its precinct on the right and the distant Acropolis and bay to the left. How was I going to properly render these disparate elements yet unite them in a single composition?
Only in the act of painting the scene did the solution present itself. I had already decided to radically ‘crop’ the promontory of rocks edging out from the chapel precinct to bring the Acropolis closer in to the centre of the picture. In the colour study rehearsing tone values, the first sky wash went in and I then tentatively added the complex establishing wash for the key foreground shadows making up the steps, trees and chapel. I put this in with the same sky wash, purely out of convenience, and, ay caramba, the solution presented itself – BLUE. Blue underpainting in concert with the blue sky running across the upper half of the painting would unite the composition.
The blue wash layers, deepened in the foreground with red to violet, were balanced with muted neutrals, both warm and cool, for paths, and the volcanic rock outcrops of the Acropolis. Deep greens for the tree next to the chapel and those on the distant horizon added the final colour counterpoint ‘punching up’ the whole effect.
Fine art limited edition prints of this painting are now available please go to the main site via the ‘home’ link opposite and click on landscapes in the right hand menu.