Trains and tower blocks

I’ve spent months, on and off, working on a fairly large triptych of Glasgow, seen from the top of the new City of Glasgow College building.

It’s been largely tedious, if I’m being honest, as I started it in quite a tight style and am bound to continue in the same fashion.  Sometimes I get into the fabled ‘flow state’ when painting a section of it, but most of the time it’s a slog.

When it’s finished it will look quite impressive (I hope).  As for it’s artistic merit, well I’m not making any great statement.  If successful it will provoke the same feeling that you would get by looking at the vista for real.  Ideally in a more ‘alive’ way that a straight photograph.

From a ‘learning’ standpoint, it’s helping my colour mixing.  More specifically browns, blues and greys, which I hadn’t previously realised were so dominant in the city’s architecture.

Anyway, in search of some relief from the above project, I tackled a small painting in a deliberately looser style.

I’m not a train ‘anorak’ by any means, but I’ve always liked the pattern of the tracks as they recede into the distance and the clutter of the overhead lines.  There’s also an ‘industrial’ aspect of stations that appeals to me especially as they are bang in the centre of an urban area.  Furthermore, I get this train a lot and I have some empathy with this grimy vehicle as it shunts it’s way back and forth dutifully every day.

Result?  Yes, it was fun to paint this. It’s nice working wet in wet (applying fresh paint over a wet previous layer).

I do find a typical pattern when painting.  First enthusiasm – choose subject, decide composition, get the underpainting down.  Then it’s a bit of a mess, part logic, part instinct.  Encouragement when it seems to be going well and satisfaction when you realise it’s just about finished.  Then the kicker … it’s not quite what you hoped it would be.  Realisation that a better artist would have painted it, well, better.

These days though, I can more easily accept that it’s part of the process.  Going through this loop continually means that my work should, logically,  continue to improve.  For today, I am happy enough with railway carriage 314214.

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