Last week I posted about Carl Laubin’s forthcoming exhibition at the Plus One Gallery. Today I want to show some images that allow us to look over the artist’s shoulder as he was painting Vanbrugh’s Castles.
The idea for this painting evolved out of Laubin’s previous work, Vanbrugh Fields. The artist now wanted to give the Blenheim Bridge a more central role. Instead of using a Claudean tree to balance the composition he created a steeply rising bank of buildings on the right side of the painting.
An initial sketch was developed into a working drawing, which was then scaled up and transferred onto canvas.
As the painting developed, certain problems of composition and scale became apparent. For instance, Laubin felt that the Temple of the Four Winds in the right foreground (in reality at Castle Howard, North Yorkshire), didn’t feel quite right there.
It was removed to the middle ground and replaced by the demolished Bagnio from Eastbury.
But this in turn seemed to reduce the depth of the composition.
Experimenting with a less prominent version of the Temple of the Four Winds sketched onto an acetate overlay, Laubin found a better place for it further down in the lower right corner. This also gave the Blenheim Bridge more breathing space.
How amazed Vanbrugh would have been to see his oeuvre laid out like this, as a kind of palatial hill town. I am very grateful to Carl Laubin for allowing us this glimpse into his studio – indeed, into his imagination.