Powerstation – Work In Progress (Painting)

Just lately I haven’t been able to get the image of the powerstation in the next town out of my mind.  I mean that in a good way – it fascinates me. It’s not your traditional landscape filled with beauty – but there’s something about Powerstation Approach that I love.

So I revisited photographs from earlier in the year and decided to try another painting.


I don’t usually go public before a painting is done – just in case it goes horribly wrong.  But my sketches for planning have gone ok today and I’m excited about having a new project after a long dry spell … so I can’t wait to share!

It’s a challenge – to try and show you the viewer the beauty I see when I drive past these cooling towers.  We’ll see if it works 😉

I started with my source photo, did some digital adjustments to get to grips with the colours and light/shade (I’m still learning and exagerating these in Photoshop really helps me).

powerstation approach high contrast

I tinkered with the street lights.  The one nearest the camera really messes with the composition.  I tried moving it further away in Photoshop but it still overpowered the cooling towers and unbalanced it.  So I took them out … and it works ok for me.


I did a couple of loose sketches (look at those wonky boxes!).


Later I did another sketch – getting to know it better and finding my style/interpretation of how I see it.


I was worried about the colour of the cooling towers.  In my first sketch with colour wash earlier on it just wasn’t working.  I tried to remedy the colours and ended with a bit of a muddy mess.  I don’t want that to happen on the final piece so thought I had better do some planning and experimenting!


The first colour study works really well.  Looking carefully at the source photo and being faithful to the colours in reality worked out!

But the chimney on the far right didn’t seem quite right.  Something is wrong.  Loking at the source again I saw I had overlooked the shadows of the steam from the neighbouring cooling tower.  So I showed that in my second study.  I don’t know if it’s the way I hatched the shadows, or something more fundamental – but it’s still not quite right.  I may have to tinker some more before I start on canvas board for real.

Oh.  Also … to get a feel for the shapes and lines I did a quick digital trace of the source photo.  It turned out pretty well.  So much so that it rattled me for a moment and I wondered if I should carry on with trying to do an acrylic glazed painting.  But the glazing is a much more subtle technique so the finished piece should be quite different in feel to this.


I’m looking forward to finding out!

So there we go.  Not bad after two months of struggling.


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Posted in Art, Artist, Digital, Doodle, Drawing, Experiment, Landscape, Painting, Paintings, Sketch, Sketchbook
2 comments on “Powerstation – Work In Progress (Painting)
  1. Christ Almond says:

    How wonderful this is. From an obsession with an odd, unlikely, yet strangely charming scene, through meditations on composition and colour, to palpable excitement and enthusiasm for the next stages of your project. You are very informative about the processes without being too academic, which is great for me to read because I have little idea about painting techniques. I’m amazed there is so much preparation involved!

  2. Karen & Laura says:

    Just sat here on Laura’s Computer on a fairly sunny Sunday afternoon doing a bit of surfing!
    And we thought we’d visit your site………’coooool pics’ as Laura said! ‘how does she draw that?!’
    A really interesting site and a real pleasure to meander around!!!
    Keep up the good work!
    Love Karen & Laura

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Rachel Groves, Artist
Lichfield, Staffordshire, UK



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