The weather has been so bad that I had to visit our local town of Stowmarket several times just to get some photos I could work from. Rain was just a cloud away on all three occasions. I was plagued by dull grey skies that revealed no shadow or light on two visits but, hurrah, during the third visit there was a break in the downpour and the sun came out. It made all the difference. I know now why so many artists head for the south of France!
I focused on the Buttermarket, which is fairly dark alleyway with higgledy piggledy buildings, some ancient, some with modern frontages, either side. It isn’t a very exciting view but it does have a bit of atmosphere, and some drawing challenges in terms of perspective. I did two pencil sketches and an exploration in colour.
Sketch 1: Looking from the edge of the market square to the church. This was a very grey day (around about 2pm) with no shadows. It was quite busy for Stowmarket as it was market day. I chose not work further on this because I felt the lack of light and shadow was going to make a dull picture.
Sketch 2: Looking from the church down the Buttermarket to the edge of the market square. It was around 2pm on a quiet Sunday. It had been raining and then a very bright sun appeared and created light and shadow. This was the sketch I developed further because I liked the mix of old and new and the rooftops, and also the light was giving me something to work with.
In both sketches I left out a street lamp because it wasn’t sited in a place that complemented the overall picture. I also left out bins and chairs outside the cafe.
Sketch 3: Exploring light and shadow and colour. This was useful prep for the limited palette study and enabled me to experiment with shadow, light, tone and the detail of the cobbles in the foreground.
In the end I decided to use coloured pencils for the limited palette study instead of Conte crayons as the picture seemed to call for softer colours.