I wandered around the caravan park I was staying on the last day of my painting trip. The park was pretty empty, it was a day after the Easter weekend. I discovered this abandoned caravan tucked away in a corner, I thought the composition was wonderful so I took a few shots with my phone. I stumbled across the images again this morning when I was wondering what to paint. I decided to do a sketch first and I’m happy with the result. I must do a larger version of it very soon, I still feel it is a great composition.
I stayed at the Moby Dick Caravan Park very close to the centre of Calella. It was quiet and the family running the park were charming.
I had an amazing week staying mainly in the town of Calella but I also visited, Pals, Cadaqués and Girona. Here are my watercolours from the trip. The great thing about painting outdoors for a week it that you gain such a connection with the landscape you are in. A photograph is only ever an image.
It was wonderful to meet Angela Barbi while I was in Spain. I drove to Girona and spent the day there, the weather wasn’t so great but meeting Angela for lunch filled the day with sunshine anyway. For those of you who don’t know Angela is, she organises watercolour courses with some of the best watercolour artists in the world. I can warmly recommend a week in Girona learning from a master. I spent a week in 2016 with Chien Chung-Wei. https://epc-artcourses.com/
Here are some photographs from my trip. I slept in a tent in the Moby Dick Caravan Park which is very close to the centre of Calella. I camp for two reasons, it’s cheap and I enjoy it. It also means I can afford to rent a car and zip around the Costa Brava.
I am continuing to experiment with light and shade. It is also interesting to try and find exciting compositions from the streets of my home town. In everyday life we stress and don’t study our environment, we should from time to time I think. There is a lot of beauty out there is we take the time to slow down a little and look around. These watercolours are from my Saunders Waterford Sketchbook which is 28 x 38 cm
I have been told that it’s going to take me 10 000 hours to master watercolour. That’s okay, I am enjoying the trip. This is another painting of Stureplan, Stockholm. I am exploring a lot at the moment, I wonder about form, tonal values and overall composition. I find it fascinating, a watercolour is more likely to succeed if one keeps these in mind while you paint.
In this video I show you the contents of my sketching bag. It amazes me how much I actually squeeze into such a small space, I don’t need everything and you don’t either. It’s best to be prepared for all eventualities though, that’s my philosophy. I hope you find this video informative.
I am talking to myself when I say, “Sketches are so important”. It is so easy to just be lazy and start painting directly with a photo that is in front of you. We rarely succeed when shortcuts are taken, a photo needs to be interpreted, analysed and broken down. It needs to be simplified and elements moved or removed. So this is why doing a quick sketch beforehand is so important, we discover what should be done to achieve a good watercolour. In the perfect world I would prefer to sketch outdoors but that not possible here for a large part of the year, it’s minus degrees and windy here in Stockholm today. Next week I travel to Costa Brava in Spain for a week of sketching. More about that in an upcoming post.
I am finding this street scene a real challenge. I am enjoying it though, I basically have to paint kungsgatan several more times before I can be fully happy. This isn’t a bad watercolour, I just want to do it better. I guess that’s the artist’s curse, never totally content – always trying be better.
For Sale: €350
Title: Kungsgatan Technical information: Painted on the backside of Saunders Waterford Rough. 26 x 36 cm. I use W&N, Holbien and Daniel Smith paints.
My name is David Meldrum, I love painting watercolours. Another passion I have is life drawing, I run a class called Meldrum Kroki. I was born in Ireland but since 1990 I have lived in Stockholm, Sweden.
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