Cottage gallery photo:
This photo is of an artist’s cottage gallery in the main street of the little town of McGregor in the Cape. She told my daughter and me that during the week she resides on a farm outside the village, but comes into town and opens her cottage gallery over the weekends for public viewing. Wonder what she would have thought of another artist taking their time to paint her cottage? But why not! It is so picturesque, don’t you agree?
Notice the photo doesn’t show the gate or pathway. I remember there was something peculiar about the gate, can’t remember what now, but once in the garden going up the pathway I do remember having the urge to look around me, closer at the flowers because the garden was so fascinating. But I thought perhaps the artist wouldn’t approve of us wondering around her garden, so moved up to the front door.
The artist had a few small paintings which she had called the little big five. They consisted of tiny insects. The larger paintings were of figurines in fine abstract format.
My demo painting of the above photo:
First an overall imprimatura wash of raw sienna. An imprimatura wash consists of a mixture: a little amount of pigment and lots of pure turpentine. When applied, it helps to eliminate the possibility of white spots of the canvas showing through later in between and surrounding the objects placed in the composition. Laying in an imprimatura wash ultimately unites the elements with atmospheric conditions within the composition.
When the imprimatura wash was completely dry, I added a light wash of pink to the sky and blocked-in the foliage areas and the thatch roof with brown. Brown is a subdued red and red is the complementary colour to green. In this stage you are composing the composition and establishing light and dark areas.
The photo is rather cool, ie with green and blue colours. To liven it up I added some warmer colours. You will see I also added a gate and I pathway. I wanted folks to feel they could enter and pass through the gate posts and down the path to the house, just as we did.
With artistic licence I didn’t give the gate posts equal dimension. Perfection can be uncomfortable in its exactness. I wanted a more romantic artistic approach.
You have to take into consideration that the Old Dutch styled houses that were built long ago by the first immigrants to the Cape weren’t perfectly built. I first noticed this when I went to Bishop’s Court to paint Desmond Tutu’s portrait. Door frames weren’t neatly rectangular and the steps were at odd angles to each other.
The charming cottage we stayed at in the town of McGregor had rough plaster and uneven tiled floors. If Cape Dutch styled houses are built neatly, or an artist paints them with perfect straight neat contour lines, been a stark white cottage they look severe and less picturesque.
Check out other Cape Dutch cottages painted by Ada Fagan in the ‘Photo Demo’ page and under category listing.