'Growing up in the fishing village of Newlyn, west Cornwall, my bedroom window looked out over the always busy, noisy, colourful harbour and across the sweeping, wide bay to the largest surviving lido in Britain, the Jubilee Pool,' says Glyn Macey.
'The pool shone out like a glistening white arm of clean ice plunging into the petrol blue sea of Mounts Bay. The smoothly curved 1930’s architecture of the pool and the intense cobalt interior entranced me. As a small child, I learned to swim in the pool, I played with friends and ate ice creams and lazed away days sketching by the pool.
'Later, I became aware of the stunningly rich colours of the GWR travel posters, all flat brushwork and Art Deco typefaces promising pleasure and fun, and long, hot, languid days; and I recognised the same flat colour and design used throughout the Jubilee Pool. Later still, while browsing my local library's art section, I came across the work of David Hockney for the very first time and his paintings of pools and Art Deco inspired 1960’s architecture; all clean, fresh colours and flat brushwork.
'Sunlit and clean contoured, I recognised the Hockney paintings not as far flung exotic locations from the other side of the world but as warm, happy vistas of home. To me these David Hockney paintings could easily have been of the Jubilee Pool. These elements of flat, fresh colour, optimism and easy pleasure became my biggest influences. I borrowed every David Hockney book the library could find for me and I cycled home, books balanced on the handle bars, weaving my way along the seafront between Penzance and Newlyn bathed in the same crystal clear light as portrayed in the Hockney California splash paintings.
'Back home I devoured the books cover to cover, soaking up the information, discovering the reasoning behind the paintings and committing to memory everything I could about the artist, his techniques and methods. All the while, glancing out of my bedroom window, over the busy harbour and across the bay to the Jubilee Pool, I considered the similarities.
'Interestingly, I discovered that David Hockney's biggest influence while at art college was the Cornwall-based artist Roger Hilton, who lived just a few miles from me. And sure enough Hockney’s early work was very Hiltonesque. The visual and inspirational connections just kept coming.
'All of these years later, and the Jubilee Pool is still a huge inspiration for me. I paint the lido regularly, and I am always inspired and intrigued by the glistening water, sunlight and shadows.
'My style and approach may have changed over the years but the fascination and thrill that I get from the crisp, curved walls, and the intense blue and white paintwork has never diminished. And nor has the fascination and thrill that I get from viewing David Hockney’s work. Every time I visit a Hockney book or exhibition, I am always drawn back to those 1960’s acrylics of the Californian pools. They simply remind me so much of the Jubilee Lido and, by default, my childhood'.
Demonstration: Jubilee Pool
A simple line drawing was used to work out the best composition to capture the stunning Art Deco shapes of the pool.
I used a soft 4B pencil on a textured acrylic paper.
To create the crisp lines associated with deco design and particularly the GWR posters of the period.
I used masking tape to delineate the straight line areas.
A pale mix of ultramarine and titanium white was used to block in the sky, the middle distance pool wall and the foreground balustrade.
Bouncing the same colour throughout the painting helps to create a sense of unity in the artwork.
Then I added a little more ultramarine to the blue mix for the closer wall and detailing below.
Phthalo green is a fairly translucent colour and worked well to describe the deep, clear water at the bottom of the composition.
Neat cobalt was used next to block in the blue pool walls.
Then titanium white was mixed with just a touch of yellow ochre to create a cream for the pool-level pathway before adding a tiny touch of cadmium red to the cream mix for the upper-level pathway.
I mixed a dark using ultramarine and burnt umber.
This rich dark was used to paint in the dark side pool wall and ladder. Then, back to our sky colour, I added a touch more ultramarine to create the pastel sea tone before using the dark colour again to describe the railings.
A touch of sky blue and white gave me the all-important shine on the chrome ladder. I also used neat ultramarine to add shadow areas to the cobalt wall.
Jubilee Pool, acrylic, (40.4x30.5cm)
After scanning the painting, I added a little deco-inspired text to the image, as a salute to the pool’s 1930’s heritage and a nod to my Hockney-inspired childhood.
Glyn Macey studied graphic design and marketing at Falmouth School of Art. He is the author of Glyn Macey’s Cornwall, Glyn Macey’s American Sketchbook, Acrylics Unleashed and Glyn Macey’s World of Acrylics, and has made several films.
Glyn has completed commissions for many clients, including high street retailers, Greenpeace, the RNLI and UNICEF; he is currently working on a series of documentaries entitled Vanishing Britain.
His paintings can be seen in a number of galleries around the UK. Glyn’s acrylics workshop is a package of home tutorials – for full details of this, his other products and more examples of his work, view: www.glynmacey.co.uk
This is the first of a six-part series by Glyn, and can be found in the March 2017 issue of The Artist.
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