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Amanda Hamilton – Blog 3 – creating Monnow Bridge Over The River

Amanda Hamilton  – Artist and Designer 

What’s in a name?

It’s the Forest and Valleys Open Studios throughout the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley at the moment.  My work is on exhibition from now til 24th July at Woodys Arts Cafe, upstairs at Woods of Whitchurch.

That means plenty of time to create new work and chat to the lovely people visiting!

It also creates a perfect opportunity to trial the hybrids in a new painting, this one of the National Trust Monnow Bridge.



I’ve painted it before as a full feature portrait painting, but I thought I’d explore it this time in profile, including the bridge and River Monnow.



I’ve decided to create the sky and reflection using Heliotrope, Blue Celeste and a Cobalt Blue dense wash.  It spreads well and creates a solid background into which to raise the other colours.  I’m not positioned near a power point today so my usual hairdryer to speed things up isn’t an option. That means working all over the painting so the final effect may be a bit scatty.  On the other hand, it may be perfect!

Building in a little foliage now I’ve stayed with the same three blues/purple and added Permanent Yellow and Lemon Yellow.  I usually use Naples Yellow and Gamboge as my two favourite yellow mixes so this is a new colour schematic for me.  I don’t mind the effect so far!


Moving into the brickwork I’m going to introduce some alizarin and carmine.  I don’t like how much water runs out if the tubes – with a small ceramic mixing palette it makes it hard to keep the colours separate…



Well that was scary!  These hybrids have an intensely rich tone to them so I needed to dab out initially so the colours weren’t too overpowering.  That said, I like the effect now.



Painting in a hurry never fills me with glee but I can begin to see the basis of the painting now.  I’m struggling with the fluidity and intensity of the colours but that’s just practice! The cafe’s a little quieter now so I can get the hairdryer onto it before I go home.


A few hours later …

Well my residency ended at 2pm so I set up in front of Serena winning her 22nd Grand Slam title!  Developing the shadows and water reflections always brings the character of the painting through.  I’m becoming less afraid of the intensity of the colours and adding more water to the mix, the painting is beginning to take shape.

A few hours later and it’s time to step back from the piece and see what speaks to me. I still need to get the feel of the hybrids in a formal context but all in all despite rather too many tubes offering mixtures of pigments which I’m not so keen on and again in my view more browns than any self respecting artist would ever use preferring to mix their own, I like the effect.  It’s fresh, vital, filled with life and colour.



Would I recommend these hybrids?  You know yes I would – it’s certainly less hassle squeezing paint out of a tube than wetting half pans and trying to achieve the same intensity of colour.  I think you need a BIG palette with lots of little mixing wells so that the very runny hybrids don’t auto mix with other paints but the plastic tubes are fantastic because no matter how sediments and gritty the mouth of the tube, the lid still opens easily.

Out of ten? 6/7.  That’s a good mark for me!

So I’m running a competition with this painting – it’s the Old Monnow Bridge in Monmouth, South Wales. If you can come up with a great name, sign up to my mailing list at and share this blog with a friend, you will go into our prize draw, being drawn at the end of July!

Good luck,




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This entry was posted on August 16, 2016 by in Art.

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