View Full Version : Northleach Church Wip

mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 12:21 AM
I thought I would do a WIP and was finally inspired to get started today after Andy Lavallee posted an image in the Wash, of the town where my Dad was born in England.

This is Northleach church of St. Peter and St. Paul, in The Cotswold Hills of Gloucesteshire in England. Northleach is a wool town probably most famous for itís church, which is built in the perpendicular style.


My Dad was born in Northleach, christened in this church, and spent his summers with his grandparents here.

I have collected tons of images of this church. Including a painting of the same reference I will use, and which I had my father-in-law paint last year. Itís a beautiful painting, but I need to do this myself. Perhaps I will give it to my sister if it turns out.

The reference image is B&W. Andy's image of the Market area of Northleach, in the Wash gave me a pretty good idea of the colour of the cotswold stone and eliminated any excuse I had not to paint this.


Image is drawn on Arches 140# CP, quarter sheet. I stretch and staple the paper.


Start with the sky which here, is cerulean and paynes gray to deaden it. I will fix that later with some indigo.

Wet the paper, donít let it dry to a sheen, thatís for people with patience. I am not in that demographic I am afraid. I splash about, mostly horizontal stokes and then start tipping and turning the board. Donít stop until the water stops flowing. Tip it up and go make tea, or read the wash and see what Spritey has been falling out of lately.


Still lots of time to ruin this... which i hope does not happen now that I have started all this.

C & C, tips etc all welcome.

Gooby, back in a bit.

[Note: This thread has been edited; posts that did not pertain to the technique being demonstrated were removed in the interest of preserving continuity of instruction. The Moderators]

mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 12:36 AM
My Dad swore he left England to get away from the rain. So rather than paint the light image from my Ref, I decided to use a deeper, somewhat ominous sky similar to another reference which is there on the wall beside the painting.


To get a transparent sky I mix my washes very thin. Lots of water. I use ceramic ashtrays which I found 2/$1.00 at the local dollar store. These are deep and white, make great palettes. Lots of water. Oh and did I say, lots of water.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Apr-2005/31024-NLEACH05.JPG http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Apr-2005/31024-NLEACH06.JPG

There I got my paint, my Tim Horton's coffee, pictures of the girls and my icewine if things go bad. My Dad was an artist and he never tidied up much either.

Now I am using a wet wash of Indigo and cerulean. I will go over this a few times to get a deep colour.


I try to leave some hard and soft edges by touching along the edges of the paint with a damp brush. My caddy taught me to do this.


I had to add some masking to try and save the edges of the building. I was getting too sloppy here.

My great grandfather Herbert Earle was born in Northleach and was the church organist at St. Peter & St. Paul for about 50 years. His house at 3 College Row could be seen from the church tower. Herbert was married to the schoolteacher from Hampnett, Annie Dance, who originated in Wales.

mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 12:36 AM
Lets not panic yet folks, the sky will be ok in the end.

mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 12:48 AM
There is a palque on the wall of St. Peter and St. Paul's commemrating those boys from the village who died in the wars. Included is the name of my Dad's uncle, William Earle, Corporal, 12th Gloucesters who died in May 1917 at Arras France, he is also named on the memorial in the Town square.

Dad was named after his uncle Billy, ad when Dad died I got Billy's bugle

Ok while I did that, I was waiting for this to dry. Here I have gone over the sky a few times with clear water to soften it up a bit.


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 01:03 AM
Ok Kevin from here on in I will be working mostly right side up. You get some sleep. And yes the painting would be meaningless to me without the story, but it will have a bit of a twist at the end. (If Malty can keep a secret)

It is believed that the church was built to commemorate the marriage of Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York The church is renowned for having a collection of some of Britainís best wool merchantís brasses and is known as a 'cathedral of the Cotswolds'.


I found this reference today and will use it to help with the window details.

OK have not much patience for green today so here I am painting the trees with Yellow Ochre and French Ultramarine Blue. Later I will add some sepia or something.


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 01:26 AM
Adding a gray wash (Burnt Sienna and FUB) over the church and gravestones, some lemon yellow to the foreground and now i will get to sleep.



mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 11:19 AM
Hi Chris,

Sitting next to JJ waiting for the next episode in your family saga and watching your lovely painting progress. I'm enjoying both immensely.

BTW, can you explain what "the perpendicular style" of architecture is? I know you are an architect, so it must be a technical term I'm not aware of. :confused: ;)


OK since my Architect is still apparently in (or was before we cross posted) the horizontal, I will try:

Perpendicular: Of or relating to a style of English Gothic architecture of the 14th and 15th centuries, characterized by emphasis of the vertical element. ie. at right agles (perpendicular) to the horizontal.

There is a chapel at Westminster Abbey built by Henry VII which is in the perpendicular style. Westmeinster Abbey of course is where Poets Corner is. Kevin and I hope to be put there once we achieve the state of permanently horizontal.

Forgot the spring forward thing and missed church, so have flailed away at this a bit.


Chris (better stop with the gooby thing)

mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 01:59 PM
Last October, a large stone fell from the nave at St. Peter and St. Paul and the church has been closed since, while waiting for repairs.

Added some detail in the church. FUB and Burnt Sienna for the windows.


Added some shadows here.


Established as a market town after the Norman Conquest, in about 1220, Northleach was granted its Charter in 1227 by the Abbott of Gloucester.

Detail of the church.


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 02:51 PM
Going to finish this off in a hurry now.

Some more detail in the windows, touching up the shadows.


I have done a lot of research on the family tree, too much probably. My dad left Northleach when he was about three, when his father went to work in Ross on Wye. Before that there was ancestors Richard, John, William, Herbert and Frederic (Dad's father). Six generations lived in Northleach.

A few bits on the grave in the foreground.


ok now comes the part I like.

mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 03:12 PM
Ok well I sort of lied to you all a bit. I did not post the full reference image at the start. Seems I cropped it.

A long time ago, up there I mentioned Great grandfather Herbert. His father was William, and William was the son of John who was the son of Richard. John Earle (my Great Great Great Grandfather) was born 1795 in Lower Slaughter not far from Northleach and he was christened at St. Peter and St. Paul.

John was a carpenter/joiner.

My father recalled that when he was young, and spent the summers at Northleach with his friend Ivor Miller (Ivor was killed in action during WWII and his name is also on a plaque in the church), they would play in the churchyard.

The story Dad told was that his GG Grandfather John had been a dour man, and had arranged for his gravestone to be topped with spikes, in order to prevent the children from playing leapfrog over it. John died in 1876.

I found this reference image totally by accident. The photograph was taken in about 1901. I was googling about the internet one day doing research, and this image popped up in the British National Archives. I was totally surprised.


The gravestone is that of my ancestor John complete with spikes.


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 03:14 PM
John Earle's Grave, Northleach.

Arches 140#CP, Holbein and Davinci Paints. 11 x 15"


Thanks for looking.


04-03-2005, 03:16 PM
Chris as summer is coming a a run up to the Cotswolds is one of our favorite trips if you want pics of any special place your welcome to ask!!!!.. found this as you probably have, but its colour is quite good .


04-03-2005, 03:20 PM
What a wonderful painting with a wonderful story to go along with it. I enjoyed watching your WIP. Thanks for sharing. This painting has special meaning to you, I am sure. Great job, Jane

04-03-2005, 03:22 PM
Wow Chris...that is so cool about your dad's great, great grandfather (did I get enough greats in?) with the spikes on his tomb. He must have been quite a character (like someone else I know :wink2: ). I bet you were surprised to find that picture on the internet. You did a great job on this painting..it's fantastic! Especially love the old, old, old church. Wow it is old!! You are lucky to know so much about your heritage... I don't know mine that far back. :clap: :clap: :clap:

04-03-2005, 03:26 PM
What a wonderful painting with a wonderful story to go along with it. I enjoyed watching your WIP. Thanks for sharing. This painting has special meaning to you, I am sure. Great job, Jane

I agree - a very nice painting and a wonderful story. What an incredible coincidence having your ancestor's graveston right in front of the camera.

Make sure you paste a print out of your story on the back of the frame.

Congratulations on painting a family heirloom.


04-03-2005, 03:28 PM
WOW WHAT A GREAT FINISH! The story almost outdoes the painting. ;) Love that twist at the end. You were born to be a storyteller Chris and you know it! :clap:

Who ever views this work (which you MUST SURELY frame and hang somewhere significant in your home) you MUST tell them the story to go with it. Fabulous!!!

Thanks for doing this Chris! :wave:

04-03-2005, 03:29 PM
Wonderful Chris. I'm totally impressed! Enjoyed this WIP greatly...and just for sending me that $20.00, mentor point to ya. ;) Enjoyed especially how you did the sky. :wave:

04-03-2005, 03:35 PM
Well done! :clap:

04-03-2005, 04:40 PM
Amazing, Chris! What a fantastic coincidence to find a ref. image showing your GG grandfathers grave! I love the dark sky - perfect to set off the warm cotswold stone.

:clap: :clap: :clap:


Brian Barnes
04-03-2005, 05:45 PM
Really nice one, Chris! That sky really sets off the church. I love a dark-skied painting. :cool:

One small correction I think you should make. Because of the low viewing angle, the horizon line should be almost level with the base of the church .... which is hidden by the tops of the tomb-stones. By having it too high, the church is given the appearance of being a miniature set very close to the tomb-stones. Lowering the horizon line would make the church appear further back and as a result seem larger. Hope this makes sense.

Yorky --- What do you think?


04-03-2005, 05:46 PM
Nice Work Chris, :)

04-03-2005, 06:23 PM
Really nice one, Chris! That sky really sets off the church. I love a dark-skied painting. :cool:

One small correction I think you should make. Because of the low viewing angle, the horizon line should be almost level with the base of the church .... which is hidden by the tops of the tomb-stones. By having it too high, the church is given the appearance of being a miniature set very close to the tomb-stones. Lowering the horizon line would make the church appear further back and as a result seem larger. Hope this makes sense.

Yorky --- What do you think?


I hadn't noticed the effect, Brian. As far as I can see, Chris has the scale spot on. The only thing missing is the visual cue of tiny gravestones in front of the church which can be seen in the gaps between larger stones on the B&W photograph. It is difficult to convey the distance from foreground to the church without visual cues such as the steadily reducing size of the gravestones. Perhaps the lack of tiny gravestones in front of the church is what is fooling the eye?


Brian Barnes
04-03-2005, 07:19 PM
What's fooling the eye isn't the size of the gravestones IMO. It's the lack of distance between them and the church. This can only be created by lowering the horizon line and adjusting the side roads accordingly.


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 07:45 PM
Appreciate the comments gentlemen and will looks to see what i can do to tidy this one up. Brian I would rather you don't manipulate my paintings if you don't mind.


Brian Barnes
04-03-2005, 08:11 PM
Sorry, Chris. Will try to respect your wish. I usually check the signature line first to see if there is any stated objection. Perhaps a reminder there would help me out. Need all the help I can get in that department. :D

BTW I still had the opportunity to go back in and remove the manip. ..... done.


04-03-2005, 08:16 PM
I have loved reading and looking, what a journey.

And the suprise at the end blew me away!!!!

I can imagine how excited you were when you first saw you relatives name on tha gravestone. Oh My!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for sharing your journey with us, and I love your painting..


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 08:22 PM
Its not a problem Brian. I belong to a poetry forum and people over there can be murderous if someone edits a poem. Poets are nuts, learn to live with us and you will be fine.

I have done two things: lowered the horizon as you suggest (in the ref there appears to be a some distant hills below the foliage in the trees and i mistook that for my horizon.)

i also have added a few smaller gravestones where I could fit them in.

Both fixes have been good.

I wanted to paint this ref for a long time, and was looking forward to it. Once I got started however, I was horrified at how grainy and lacking in detail the old photo really was.

Andy has referred my to an image which shows much of the detail i in fact missed. 1/2 sheet would be much better for this one methinks..

and Brian.... the Gooby was a mispell of the word Goodby. It stuck and since its mine, I deem that it means "best wishes and be safe".

So Gooby

Brian Barnes
04-03-2005, 08:39 PM
Don't we get to see the finish? :D

I think you made the right decisions. I can see why you thought that was the horizon line in the distance. As a matter of fact that's what I figured had happened. Yorky's suggestion of adding smaller stones showing between the bigger ones was a good one. To clarify, I felt just lowering the horizon would be enough to do the trick and that more stones would be rather difficult to do.

Lol about Gooby. I remember when it all started. Perhaps "Goo'bye" would work better. But I like "Gooby" now that I know how to pronounce it. :D


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 08:41 PM
Yep, will post in a bit. Waiting for paint to dry, is like, well.... watching paint dry.


mr sandbanx
04-03-2005, 11:21 PM
OK so once in a while I disgust myself. Looking back here I thought the workspace may have gone a bit too far, so I called Malty and he came over and tidied it up.

The book is the one I wrote for my family geneaology. I tend to get a little long winded at times if you can believe that.


And the finish.


Thanks to everyone who looked in and commented.

Brian now I know why you paint fish... to avoid a horizon.

Ok, now I have a boat to paint.


Brian Barnes
04-04-2005, 01:33 AM
I think your treatment of the horizon line on the right has created the desired effect of making the church look bigger and more distant by giving the viewer a lower vantage point. (I'd soften the line a bit though.)
I opened the first version in a new window and flipped back and forth to see the difference. It works for me.

Great finish for a great painting with a great story line! :cool: Thanks for sharing it.

I sure hope those tidy surroundings don't result in a loss of creativity. :D I should clean mine up like that but ........... I'm afraid it would slow me down in a watercolour-emergency scramble.

You may be right about the absence of horizons in my fish paintings. I knew there had to be a reason to keep doing them. Maybe I'm not crazy afterall! :D


04-04-2005, 01:57 AM
Chris, don't know how I missed this one! Better late than never, I reckon. :)

Definite improvement by correcting horizon and adding tiny tombstones. Good work on your trees and I think you have completely gotten over your fear of green!

Excellent story. I'm working on the genealogy of DH's family. I've done pretty much all I can on mine--grandparents on back were born in Poland and Lithuania! Difficult to research. Ed's family on all sides have been in the US since at least the early 1700s. I didn't get here until 1947! :eek:

You get my merit point today.


Arnold Lowrey
04-04-2005, 04:05 AM
Bravo, Chris
Fresh as a daisy!

04-04-2005, 06:05 AM

Excellent revisions and wonderful finish. Your decision to use a dark sky was a good one, it brings great drama to the painting as well as showcasing the lovely structure of the church.

I enjoyed reading your narrative too.

Would give you my Merit Point too if the system would let me, I'll give it a go at least. Woo-ee, it worked! You must really rate around here, Chris, I haven't been able to award points for several months! :p


04-04-2005, 06:50 AM
Thanks for showing your working proces. The painting is very impressive with the dark clouds and the sun low!. BTW a couple of years ago I was ibn Stwo on the Wold in the Cotswolds. What a beautiful regio. At a certain moment I was looking from a hill in the direction of Oxfordland, I had the feeling I was in Tuscany. Never knew that England could be that beautiful. (it was the first time I visited the English countryside)

04-04-2005, 07:26 AM
Looks very good , very imposing, I like the colours------------well done------Alan

04-04-2005, 11:06 AM
Great WIP. The way you tackled the moody sky was especially interesting.

04-04-2005, 02:48 PM
Chris, I didn't see anything wrong with the first one..... but since you changed it...I like it even better.... very good fix!! Now don't touch it again except to mat and frame. :) :clap: :clap: :clap:

You wrote that whole genealogy book?? Maybe you could help me with mine! LOL :D :wave:

04-04-2005, 06:52 PM
Great finish! I really like this. Also great tidying job...what's in all those Mason jars?? And don't try to tell me it's water.... ;)


mr sandbanx
04-04-2005, 07:22 PM
uhmmmm...its water Patty. :(

Am I in trouble?

mr sandbanx
04-04-2005, 07:43 PM
OK Patty I am trying to conserve water. I admit it... (that and it's too far to walk to get fresh). In the summer I just dip into the dehumidifier which is always full beside my work area. Its fresh and it's clean...

Ok so you think I am all done? NOT!

One more thing I forgot:

Several years ago my dad's cousin, who lives in Warwickshire, and who is also named John Earle, sent this to my Dad. I got it along with the bugle when Dad died.

Northleach Village, by John Earle


My father in law is a pretty decent painter. Before I got too far into watercolours and recognizing the total lack of abilities I possessed, I commisioned him to paint this. (Not cheap....he gave me a discount on the frame, but was brutal on the cost of the painting!)

Northleach Church by Robert Allen:


So thats my collection. Gooby

04-04-2005, 07:50 PM
uhmmmm...its water Patty. :(

Am I in trouble?
LOL, I just thought that you and Maltman were brewing up some moonshine!

Great ending to your story! :clap:


mr sandbanx
04-04-2005, 08:17 PM
....and so began the "Legend of Malty 'n Banxy, Amateur Moonshiners"

04-04-2005, 08:20 PM
:D Gotta be a poem in there somewhere!

08-02-2015, 08:50 PM
:wave: wow when I came across this dear brother hehe I couldn't help but join and say you're amazing all of this is amazing love ya!!!:clap: :angel: