Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Theatre Royal, Bath, Summer evening

For the third year now I have decided to enter the Bath Prize (, which is a painting competition for paintings of Bath. A location is allocated to each artist and it has to be his/her first entry, but the artist is free to enter additional paintings of any other locations. I have been really lucky as I have been given the Theatre Royal which is a beautiful building. A fellow painter Andrew Taylor suggested I should do it at night to get all the lights and I have to thank him for the great advice...

The Theatre Royal, Bath, Summer evening    oil on canvas  12"x20"

As much as I love painting outside in plein air, I decided to do this one in the studio for several reasons. First because it's a larger format than I usually work on, also because the sunset/evening light changes so quickly that it's very difficult to catch it on the spot, and finally also because this is a pretty busy spot and I'm still a little bit too shy to paint in very public places on my own...

I worked from a series of photographs which I took recently - I love all the lights and golden tones:

I found the sky a bit too dramatic on the pictures so I decided at a later stage to go for a sunset instead and adjusted my values on the rest of the painting too. Before starting the painting I did a quick sketch to test my composition. I applied a grid to it which I reproduced on my canvas to help me get the drawing right before tackling the painting.

I have just been in touch with the Royal Theatre as I was hoping to be able to do a few sketches from the inside of Theatre and maybe produce a painting inspired by Degas' Theatre/Opera stage work. I'm waiting to hear from them but there is only a couple of weeks left before the deadline so maybe I'm just being a bit too eager...

On a other note, please let me show off a little bit if you don't mind - I'm delighted to see that the Fall issue of Plein Air Magazine in USA features a great spread about our painting trip in Cornwall earlier this year. I was very happy to see they've displayed one of my painting (on the right hand page). It's such a great magazine - I would recommend to everybody (and not just because I'm in it!)

Plein Air Magazine - Fall issue


  1. Great painting Valerie, beautiful light.

  2. First congratulations on your American debute. That is very impressive. I've been telling my friends to look for the article. Now that your group has made it in print you all will have to come in person some time.
    Now for the painting. It is exactly what I would expect from you. I love the soft brushwork, harmonious colors and feeling of depth. I also am impressed by the way you depicted the lights and sky. Best of luck with this one.

  3. Thanks Antony and Doug! Your comments are much appreciated!

  4. Val I love the painting, it has a dreamy romantic feel. I'm imagining a warm summer's evening coming to an end. Having just had dinner and wine the theatre now awaits me (with my very handsome date) :o) Good luck for the competition! and brilliant work being featured in the magazine, looks great! x

  5. Thanks Susie! You're spot on with your description. You might not be able to see it on the painting but Robert Pattinson is waiting for me in the Theatre and we're about to watch the sound of music together;)

  6. Nice one Valerie. You seem very good at taking a subject and somehow making it your own with a glowing sense of on for creating that atmosphere at dusk.

  7. Spot on! That twilight hour and magical summer evening at the theatre.

  8. Lovely painting Valerie. Congratulations on not only being in the Magazine but also being featured in Judsons. All the best Valerie.

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