Work In Progress: Mill Pond, Cambridge

There is a larger effort happening right now in my studio and it’s called, “National Park.” It involves rocks and cliffs, water and the rear view of a 1920’s car with a driver and a passenger. I will be proud of it when it’s finished, but the canvas is ambitiously large, and frankly, I was starting to get sick of looking at it.

It’s in pretty good shape (you can see it peeking out on the right hand side, and it doesn’t look ambitiously large, does it?), but I wanted a vacation from oceans of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna.

So I flipped through photos of my trip to Cambridge from 2015 and came across a photo I snapped during an overcast morning of aimless wandering.

We’re in the Newham area by the River Cam in this scene.  The building just to the right of the tree in the foreground, still missing its six windows, is The Malting House, original to the 19th century.  Its name accurately depicts its original function, and it’s now a 12-room student hostel.

My palette is: Ultramarine Blue, Aliz Crimson, Yellow Ochre, Thalo Blue, Cad Red Light, Cad Yellow Light and Titanium White. Replace the Ultramarine Blue with Cobalt and you’ve got more or less my favorite palette.

Soon we’ll have a few more buildings on the right hand side, some water in the river with some reflections, a nicely defined tree, some more definition in the clouds, and lots and lots of lovely highlights.

The biggest challenges here for me are the details through the center line of the painting: small architecture and defining the foliage. I’m alternating between a fan brush and a #2 dagger, trying to somewhat restrain my options, and keep things as simple as I can.

I hope you enjoy the peek of this painting in its unfinished form. My goal is to have it wrapped up within the week, so I’ll be in the studio every morning and every night until that. Come back and see how I go.

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