John Bell, “Boats, Mallorca, Spain”

“Boats, Mallorca, Spain”, painting, 2019.

Materials: watercolours.

Dimensions: 43cm x 53cm x 4cm

Learn more about John Bell at

Artist’s comment: Inspired by the exquisite daylight captured with a limited palette in the paintings by Valencia artist Joaquin Sorolla I last year traveled to the island of Mallorca in the hope I could also experience the natural beauty of a Spanish landscape. I was not disappointed. The island is an artist’s dream with a potential painting on every corner! 
My painting shows a small part of a wonderfully picturesque fishing village called Cala Figuera which is situated on the south east corner of the island.
This charming hamlet consisting of small dwellings that cling to the waters edge is ‘living’ with residents going about their daily tasks. 
First sight of the village took my breath away. There was not the odd one or two ‘potentially’ suitable scenes for a painting. There were hundreds of them!
With regard to the painting I have submitted I choose this particular scene because it best portrayed the character of the village as I saw it. Stone buildings built over centuries clinging to steep rock that descended steeply to the waters edge leaving only a two metre wide footpath for pedestrians to gain access to the lower dwellings. The smoke from the chimney indicates habitation. The modern rubber dingy positioned by more traditional wooden built boats indicating a village steeped in history and tradition yet prepared to adapt in some part on more modern living.
Working on cold pressed, 300gsm watercolour paper stretched on a commercial bought artists clapping board I used a 9H pencil to initially sketch the scene prior to laying the first coat of watercolour. The slightest hint of graphite and sharp indentation on the paper surface soon fills and disappears as the water expands. Like Sorolla I used a limited colour palette and placed layer upon layer until I achieved the desired effect.