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Shimmer Sunset by Sara Sherwood
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How I Paint London Bridges on Commission by Sara Sherwood Cityscape Artist

Painting London bridges is for a client in Singapore. It was painted on Commission and is called “Shimmer Sunset”

Customer Brief

This customer brief was about painting London bridges as well as a London skyline. These include; Tower Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, Millennium Bridge, Cannon St. Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. The bridges represent the exchange of ideas and trade. I was sent photos of the client’s room, with images of the other art to make sure the colour palette would work well in the setting.

Sketching

Next I produced a couple of sketches in pen and ink to suggest a layout on paper and with client approval started work on the original oil on canvas. I prepared the background, painting and layering the sky with colours to make a warm sunshine blend. I then sent this for approval before the next layer of buildings and bridges were added.

Compostition

Spurred on by approval, my next task was to build the composition and I referred to the sketches I made and begin to paint. I did not think too much just painted and flowed with ideas as I worked. This is the easiest way to be creative and the art has a spontaneity this way. This layer was then left to dry and then the painting of London bridges were added. I used photos (I take photos whenever I see something beautiful or to capture light on a building so have many images of London landmarks and ideas for inspiration) as a reference point to get the structural shapes of the bridges and then just painted. I took out a lot of detail this was the most time consuming part of creating the art.

Technique

In reality the bridges are painted lightly so they appear to float but it took a while to achieve this result and it was more about what I took out and did not paint to create that effect. I experimented with the reflections until I was happy with the results. I wait for layers to dry when working in oils as then you can work quickly on top and without fear of ruining the blends underneath. If I choose I can take off a new layer with minimal negative effect whilst the paint is still wet. Some colours like yellow are harder to remove and they create a residue but generally I use this technique to build up reflections but putting on and taking off oil. I wipe and smudge with a cloth and my hands as well as with wet and dry brushes. This form of pure creativity is very near to play and I am focused in the moment when I paint.

See More Art

To see more of my commissions and sold work see On The Wall

You can also see the actual art at Spitalfields Art Market and SkylarkGalleries London in the Oxo Tower.
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Sara Sherwood
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