I’ve been meaning to paint the California Poppies in my garden for weeks. They are such cheerful things – opening up in the mornings to greet the sunshine and then closing up in the evening when it starts to get dark. It’s been so hot though that I didn’t think I could manage to sit out there and paint them so I decided to pick just one flower, pop it in a tiny vase and retreat to the relative shade and cool of my kitchen to paint it there!
Another day, another ditch… (sorry!)
A small oil study from sketches made on a walk around The Meadows in Chester a few weeks ago. The gorse bushes were glowing in the sun and with the warmth came the coconut smell of the gorse flowers. Lovely!
On a walk several weeks ago I noticed that the water in a shallow ditch running alongside the path was reflecting the most wonderful blue from the sky. I couldn’t resist recording it in paint.
…..bluebells this time!
The bluebells seemed to be fantastic this year and a few weeks ago I took sketchbook and camera out with me to record them before they disappeared. I actually created these two oil paintings shortly afterwards but it has taken me a little time to post them here. Hope you like them! Available to buy here http://sarahjenningsartist.com/gallery_698663.html
I spent a couple of days walking in the Yorkshire Dales a few weeks ago, including the must-do trail from Malham to Gordale Scar and then over to Malham Cove, with its cliff edge and fabulously preserved limestone pavement. To say the route is well trodden would be an understatement. There was a steady stream of walkers most of the way, especially from Malham village to the waterfall delightfully named ‘Janet’s Foss’. The sun was shining that morning after rain overnight and the views were magnificent. I’ve tried to capture in this small painting my experience of walking into the sunlight – the glare on the path, the walkers ahead and the cloudy mist on the hills ahead.
Another Burghley piece … and more trees! Many of the large trees in Burghley park have mistletoe and this is all the more obvious in Winter/early Spring before the trees come into leaf. The shapes are fantastic and rather surreal. The early Spring light is pretty special too. A joy to paint!
..well a tree ‘portrait’ anyway!
I quite often get asked how I approach making a painting and as I remembered to take some photos of work in progress on this one (which is rare!) I thought I would share.
The approach varies depending on the medium I am painting in but this is fairly typical for paintings done in oil.
My painting surface here is 3mm MDF which I have primed with several coats of household primer and then a coat or two of artist’s ‘gesso’. I then stain the white surface to a cool or warmish grey, either with diluted oil paint rubbed in with a rag or sometimes with acrylic paint.
I start by roughly drawing out the main shapes with diluted oil, taking note in particular of where the darks will go (stage 1). The next stage is to mix up the colours I will be using and to ‘block in’ the main areas of colour, trying to get the lights and darks and the colour mixes approximately right (stage 2).
Stage 3 then involves refining the block in until the painting is finished. There are lots of mini stages here and what amounts to ‘finished’ is often hard to gauge. Some people like a very detailed, refined image. Personally I strive not to fiddle and to try to achieve a ‘painterly’ work, which hopefully has interest to the viewer.
Here is the finished piece. I hope you like it.