I have always been interested in painting figures in different settings. The inspiration for this painting was from a walk, I took with my wife, on a hot day, in Heaton Park. This is one of our favourite walks as the view changes throughout the seasons and I have only painted landscapes from here before .
Towards the end of the walk, we sat on a bench near the lake enjoying an ice cream and I found the interactions of these three people interesting. Although, I like to do quick sketches if possible, in this instance, as they were continually changing poses, I took a series of photographs so I could adapt the scene to my liking.
I started by isolating the parts of the scene I found interesting and then sketched out the image in a yellow ochre watercolour pencil. Next, I used a brown watercolour pencil to tighten the image up. Then, using pen and waterproof ink, I finalised the composition, before stretching the paper and taping it to a board. This also meant the earlier sketching in watercolour pencil faded and just left a hint of background colour.
When the paper had dried I began painting. I used acrylics, working on the background first and adapting it as I went along. Next, I painted the clothes before moving onto the faces. Once these were completed I spent time refining extra details.
Although this is a very simplified version of the process, it does, hopefully, give an idea of how I would approach producing this type of scene, The actual painting took several days, as I was constantly waiting for areas to dry. In most cases I would be working on two paintings at the same time and swap between the two of them.
I displayed it in my exhibition at Saddleworth Art Gallery and was delighted that it was the first painting sold at the opening.