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St. Pauls Interior by Tim Rose

Posted on Tue 27 Nov 2018

St Pauls Interior by Tim Rose

I have been painting in St Pauls Cathedral for nearly twenty years, and have produced many paintings of the interior showing different aspects of the Cathedral under various conditions of illumination, ranging from direct sunlight to artificial light.

Each time I visit the light is always different, sometimes bathing the interior in warm sunlight with dramatic shadows, other times gloomy with soft contrasts of tone and colour. I try to rise to the challenge of the day.

For this painting I chose a view I had painted before under evening lighting conditions. I traced my initial sketch onto stretched watercolour paper then redrew it onsite in the cathedral. I find that two to three hours drawing onsite is time well spent, as one sees the light change and shadows come and go. On the day I was there it was sunny and warm; light was coming in through the windows bathing the side aisles, whilst the columns in the dome are were in shadow. This gave me sufficient contrasts of tone and temperature.

I decided to paint back in the studio while the memory was still fresh in my mind.

I flooded the paper with washes of naples yellow, cobalt blue, violet and permanent rose to create an initial structure of shadow and light, putting raw sienna in the upper arches and recesses. I decided to involve myself with the figures early on in the painting as I did not want them to look like an afterthought.

The second stage was to build up the strengh of colour and tone and carry on bring some of the details into focus. I was aware that I needed to retail the overall balance of light/shade/warm/cool values.

The darkest tones were under the lower arch vaulting and once I had those in place I was able to adjust other tones around the composition. I worked on the upper area where there were stronger colours and also the top of the picture where the whispering gallery almost comes into view.

I did not want to over emphasise the patterns on the floor, nor make it too dark as the lighting conditions had created a lot of reflection.

I felt the picture needed more drama, so I added more contrast to the right hand side, making the figures bathe in sunlight coming from an upper window.

The painting was made on Saunders Waterford 300gsm rough, dimensions 20”X17”

My colour palette was Winsor yellow, raw sienna, burnt sienna, permanent rose, permanent magenta, ultramarine violet, viridian, cobalt blue, ultramarine, indanthrene blue and manganese blue.

You can see more of Tim's work in the gallery by clicking here


This demonstration originally featured on the November 2015 bonus features e-newsletter. Make sure you are opted in to receive more features like this from PaintersOnline gallery artists.


St. Pauls Interior by Tim Rose


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  • Wonderful a dream painting thank you for sharing it - Bernard

    Posted by Bernard Dillon on Fri 30 Nov 10:19:57