Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Starting painting “Arc de Triomphe early morning”

It often happens … I plan to do a step-by-step commentary on a painting, I take photographs for the first few hours and then I get in the flow and forget to capture the different steps on camera. However, here is what I can share with you on my recent painting “Arc de Triomphe early morning”.

The Reference Photograph

Arc de Triomphe – by Audrey Philippe (© 2016 Audrey Philippe – used by permission)

When I saw this photograph that my younger daughter took around Christmas, during an early run in Paris, I knew immediately it would make a good subject for a painting.

Initial drawing and composition

Arc de Triomphe early morning – Initial sketch

I drew the composition directly with a small square hog brush dipped in diluted paint (so that it dries quickly). The tricky part was to get the right placement, size and proportions for the Arc itself. After that, it was easy.

Conventional advice is to stay away from symmetrical compositions because they look unnatural and static. However, this particular subject landed itself to be right in the centre of the canvas… because the Arc is at the centre of the Place de l’Etoile and at the meeting point of twelve avenues. In this case, the pure symmetry of the Arc is counterbalanced by the cars on the left that bring a secondary focal point.

The palette I used

I used the following palette for this painting:
  • Ultramarine blue (Griffin Alkyd)
  • Cerulean Blue Hue (Griffin Alkyd)
  • Cobalt Turquoise Light (Griffin Alkyd)
  • Cadmium Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow Deep
  • Cadmium Red
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Titanium White (Griffin Alkyd)

Arc de Triomphe early morning – Stage 1

The painting plays on the contrast between the overall blue tones of the early morning and the sky lit-up with warm tones by the rising sun. Although blue is the dominant colour, Ultramarine Blue as a warm overtone and goes well with the warm tones in the sky.

Arc de Triomphe early morning – Stage 2

The tone of the painting is in the mid-range, but dark enough to allow the sky and the lights of the cars to shine through. The lights reflected on the wet cobbles help to bring some three-dimensional effect.

Arc de Triomphe early morning – Final painting

Friday, 19 August 2016

Arc de Triomphe early morning

Arc de Triomphe early morning – Oil on canvas (14”x18”) by Benoit Philippe

Swindon Open Studios 2016

I will show this painting during the Swindon Open Studios 2016, at the beginning of September.


Richard Jefferies Museum
Marlborough Rd,
Swindon SN3 6AQ,
United Kingdom

Dates and time

Saturday 3rd September – 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday 4th September – 1.30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday 10th September – 11:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday 11th September – 1.30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Swindon Art Trail

Swindon Open Studios (SOS 2016) will take place the first two week-ends of September. In preparation of this event, we have an Art Trail and I have two of my work in the window of the local Marriott hotel.

The window is located on the left side of the main entrance.

Where are the paintings?

Swindon Marriott Hotel 
Pipers Way, 
Swindon SN3 1SH
United Kingdom

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Espiguette beach at Le Grau-du-Roi (France)

Espiguette beach – Ink pen and watercolour

Espiguette beach is a sandy beach a few kilometers away from Montpellier, in the South of France. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

The Botanic Gardens in the centre of Glasgow (Scotland) are a great place to visit. Plant enthusiasts will love the glasshouses packed with tropical plants, cacti, ferns, orchids, etc.

The Kibble Palace (source: Wikimedia)

The Kibble Palace is a beautiful 19th-century wrought iron framed glasshouse. The outside is very elegant. The inside is quiet and an ideal place to reflect. All around, along the alley, are marble statues.

Eve – marble sculpture by Scipione Tadolini

Glasgow Botanic Gardens
730 Great Western Rd, Glasgow, 
Glasgow City G12 0UE