This is the first in a small series of mixed media paintings I am making of my local river. Sunny days have been few and far between recently but I did manage to catch the sun a week or so ago and was struck by how the lichens on the riverside trees seemed to glow. The river was high after a lot of rainfall and some small branches and pretty large twigs had washed downstream. I was also treated to the sight and sound of a small flock of long tailed tits – always a bonus!
I worked up this painting from a small sketch I made a few weeks ago in the grounds of Burghley House. The low sun that morning meant there were some fantastic shadow shapes!
A fun experiment using cool and warm colours. I can’t say I’ve used a combination of peach and mint green in the same painting before but I rather like it!
I’ve been compensating for the recent dull weather by playing around with colour and texture. This is my interpretation of the low warm light I found on a visit to the Fens in late December.
Green. Yellow-green, Blue-green, Viridian…..
Rather ambitiously I decided to challenge myself to create a painting comprised almost entirely of green and to mix those greens rather than use greens out of the tube. This did turn out to be quite tricky – both to paint and to photograph for this blog. Let’s say it was a learning experience, which I guess is what it’s all about!
They say, incidentally, that frost is good for leeks and sprouts as it makes them sweeter. They should be delicious this Winter then as we’ve had heavy frost (and some snow) here for what seems like ages.
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.