Bonfire Night Painting

Bonfire Night Painting


Revisiting a blog from a year ago, while I sit in my studio being pounded by the wind and rain, summer feels a long way away . When the weather allows it's good to get outside and marvel at the autumn colours

Today unfortunately is not one of those days , today is a day to batten down the hatches, I am trying to promote  my calendar sales, aware that it is time critical. 

Christmas cards however can be saved from one year to the next, I have definitely noticed that I sell less cards than I used to, as we all reduce the numbers we send. 

Anyway enough about sales and admin, back to the matter in hand and back to painting.

It is only in recent decades that Halloween in the UK has become the dominant celebration at this time of year. For me growing up in the North of England Bonfire night was most definitely the festival we celebrated, we would dress a 'guy' up in old , scavenged clothing, usually pretending he or she was a terrible headmaster or bully we didn't like. Then wheel him/her around the streets to gain some pennies.


Bonfire night was a night to wrap up warm, pick out potatoes wrapped in foil from the bottom of the bonfire, break our teeth on treacle toffee, eat chestnuts and parkin. Hurl our guy onto the burning fire and . Then oh and ah at the local firework display.


We didn't really know the significance of Guy Fawkes , but it certainly brightened up a November evening. Since moving to Devon , in the South West of the UK ,we have learnt of other old traditions. Such as Tar Barrels in Ottery St Mary where crazy locals run around the streets of the town carrying burning tar barrels aloft. A sight to be seen to be believed, but not for the faint hearted!



So in tribute to my childhood bonfire nights , here is a fun simple piece to have a go at.

All you need to sketch is a line of onlookers happily surrounding the bonfire.

then I picked out my most fiery colours

Indian yellow, cadmium orange, scarlet and cadmium red .

Then I wet the paper and dropped lots of bright yellow onto the paper.

The fire is blowing in from the right so I left some white showing through

Then orange next.

Then a few darker reds and a touch of blue to make a purple colour.


This is all good fun, and when I was happy I threw some salt on the left hand side to hint at fireworks.

Leave that to dry, then use a mixture of cadmium red and cobalt blue to fill in the people, redder parts where the fire is reflected.

This painting is just pure fun, I sprayed the bottom of the people with a water spray as they looked a bit too solid, but you do what takes your fancy.


Have fun, keep pets and children safe and Happy Bonfire Night x



Back to blog

Leave a comment