• Daler-Rowney Cryla Heavy Body acrylics: yellow ochre, cadmium scarlet, Prussian blue, ivory black, titanium white.
  • Rosemary & Co 2in and 1in flat brushes; card, finger
  • Cotton canvas


I started with a mood/key colour using cadmium scarlet and yellow ochre painted in vigorously with a 2in brush. When dry, I used scarlet, blue and black all at once to describe the boat shapes and basic building structure and establish the composition on the canvas. While still wet I added some opaque cool greys to the face of the buildings and boats. The spontaneity of the brush-marks and speed of execution will only pay off if the composition has been fully worked out beforehand



I then negatively painted a semi-opaque grey mix of blue, red and white, with a tiny touch of yellow around the buildings and boats to describe the sky and river. A few vertical and horizontal brushstrokes to the buildings and boats provided a little extra structure to the painting




The buildings and boats needed more explanation so I added more layers of opaque ochre, red and blue greys and intensified the horizontal band of intense light along the Embankment with ochre and white, adding flicks of these colours to give the look of lit buildings and reflections in the water




Lights at Dusk, City and Embankment, acrylic on canvas, (51x61cm)

With card, palette knife, and finger I intensified the lights with white, ochre and red using dashes, dots, smears and smudges. I added a touch of detail to the trees on the left to add a little extra feeling of depth. Hints of mast, rope and window were added to the boats and, lastly, tiny dashes of red and white to signify the lights of moving traffic. I put down my brush before I considered it finished – always the best place for me to stop! The painting seemed to capture that moment when dusk descends and lights are just being switched on.