The Tower


My wife and I flew to London. We landed at the Gatwick airport, took the Gatwick Express commuter train from the airport to Victoria Station, then rode the tube (subway) east to the Tower Hill station. We exited, then went across the street to the Grange Hotel and checked in. Our son-in-law lived with our daughter in Cologne, Germany but during the week he often worked in London and stayed in the Grange, so we actually got to stay in his hotel room.

I was flabbergasted when I looked out the hotel window – there, right before my eyes, was the Tower of London with Tower Bridge and the Thames River right behind it! I love the Tower of London. It is such a fascinating complex with it’s Yeoman Warder (Beefeater) guards. It has the famous White Tower which was built by the Normans who invaded in 1066, as well as the location where Anne Bolyn was imprisoned and executed. The Tower Bridge is commonly mistaken for London Bridge. It is one of the most famous structures in London. It is the two big structures in the rear of the painting. I could go on and on – I absolutely adore London.

I decided I needed to paint the scene.


With this scene there was so much detail that I thought I’d get lost. I actually ended up gridding my canvas and painting in each grid individually so I could keep track of everything.

Another point I need to make has to do with atmospheric perspective. With atmospheric perspective, warm colors come forward and cool colors recede. What that means is that the green colors that are closer to the viewer are greener the closer they are, but if there is a green in the far background, they fade to a light bluish tint. You can see that with the trees near the castle wall.  They are very green. In the background the green countryside fades to more of a bluish tint. Also, the actual structures that are nearby are painted with much detail, but buildings far in the background have little detail at all and their colors are faded. Atmospheric perspective gives a feeling of depth – you can look deep into the painting.

Comments on The Tower Leave a Comment

October 31, 2007

Margaret @ 10:14 am #

What a great picture – certainly one of your best thus far. It conjures up such memories of my visits to London and particularly to that area. One can almost “be there” while viewing your stunning portrayal.

Christine @ 10:23 am #

I think this painting is one of your best. It is extremely detailed and beautiful. Awesome is actually the word that I would use to describe it, in the literal term of the word. I love it! It makes me want to see London in real life.

Susie @ 10:45 am #

Its amazing to me that you could use the grid method, and still end up with such a wonderful painting. Having seen the Tower of London and Tower Bridge in person, I can appreciate the detail and perspective that you talk about. Even though we are viewing a photograph of your painting, it almost has a 3D effect. In addition, your knowledge of the history of your subject really adds to your post. I love this! It makes me want to go back to London!

Fridas Eyebrow @ 3:00 pm #

This is stunning Tom! I have a friend that just got back from London and sent me his photos today…I’ll make sure he sees this!

Heather W. @ 4:36 pm #

Beautiful, Tom! I’ve never been to Europe, but this makes me want to go.

Tom @ 5:20 pm #

Heather, Just let me know when you want to go.  I’ll bet I know some people who’d gladly go with you!

Larraine @ 6:00 pm #

I’m simply going to say that this is so wonderful!!! What PATIENCE it must have taken!!!

Nicole @ 7:04 pm #

Daddy, your painting is so beautiful. Good job!

Larraine @ 7:23 pm #

I’m going to put this simply! Tom – this is SO WONDERFUL!!! It must have taken you SO LONG!!!

LaDawn W. @ 8:38 pm #

Will you retire there? I can see you and Norene in Europe. We’ll miss you!

Tom @ 8:51 pm #

LaDawn, we had hoped we might reside in your servant quarters there.

LaDawn W. @ 9:15 pm #

I’ll speak with the butler…he’s so picky about who stays there, especially artists.

T. Grey @ 9:16 pm #

Being fortunate enough to have been able to visit the area myself, you have captured the essence and beauty of the scene very well. You are awesome

November 1, 2007

Jennifer @ 8:35 am #

This is a beautiful painting! Zach’s teacher saw it in the Sherrus Gallery and wanted to buy it, but couldn’t quite come up with the price. It has lots of good memories. This is the first time I have heard atmospheric perspective explained. Could you go into a little more detail?

November 2, 2007

Suzanne @ 12:24 pm #

I love this painting.

November 3, 2007

Erika @ 4:21 pm #

Hi Tom, you and Noreen are lucky (blessed) ducks to have been to London and seen the tower and tower bridge and all the other neat places, and then to be able to paint it, and in such great and realistic detail! Well, of the paintings of yours that I have seen, I think it is among your best ones. Wish I had the money to buy it. It certainly reminds me of my time in the UK and all it has to offer.
My love to you both,

November 4, 2007

Barb @ 4:28 pm #

Hey, Tom, when I wish upon a star, I’ll wish for this magnificent painting. Back when you used to draw me with my buck teeth, I never dreamed you had it in you to do such amazingly beautiful art!

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