Seaton artists captivated by ‘a bid for freedom’

PUBLISHED: 15:01 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:21 11 September 2018

David Webb with his finished painting. Picture: ROGER MANCE

David Webb with his finished painting. Picture: ROGER MANCE


David Webb uses a smart phone photo to create a painting of a busy street scene in Totnes

“A Bid for Freedom in Watercolour” was the subject of David Webb’s demonstration to Seaton and District Art Society.

Members heard that he had worked for 20 years as a cards and books illustrator before switching to fine art watercolour painting in 2000.

“It took me about a year to break away from the tightly detailed, small scale work then demanded to a larger freer and more loose style”, he told the gathering at The Gateway.

Interestingly, not everything was cast out with the bath water. A vestige of his earlier livelihood is evident in the preparatory stage of David’s pictures.

He spends the first 20 minutes of a typical one-hour picture sketching in the underpinning features and perspective lines with a 9B pencil. He does not use a ruler though.

“I don’t want an architect’s drawing”, he explains. Neither does he shy away from sometimes using a photograph, a point of issue to some purists.

But as he points out: “You come upon a scene that arrests your attention and it’s not always convenient to just set up an easel there and then”.

The example he used for his demonstration was a case in point - a shot taken with his smart phone just a week earlier, of a busy street scene in Totnes with the sun at a low angle casting deep long shadows along the road and across the frontages of buildings and parked cars.

The perspectives were tricky with the road sloping upwards and shop fronts rising in irregular steps and varying in angle and size.

With the drawing completed, David prepared five separate pools of colour for his pallet - cobalt blue, alizarin crimson, raw sienna, burnt sienna and Indian yellow.

He thoroughly wets the entire drawing with a large squirrel mop and working from top to bottom, mixes colours wet-into wet to cover the entire picture.

He allows this to dry before fortifying his pallet, then this time painting wet-on dry, establishes as many as possible of the hard edges and darker features in one left-to right, top to bottom sweep.

With the painting once more dry he moves to the final stage, the completion of any missing deep shadows and finer details.

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