Thursday, 22 June 2017

Swans by the River Coln

Oil on Board, 9 x 13 inches

This one is another verdant landscape, with a mass of May blossom on the hawthorn bushes. Painting white blossom is always a challenge, especially when there is a strong light as there was here. I used my 1" household decorator's brush, firstly placing the dark green foliage, then layering the blossom on top with a light touch, in varying shades of white and mauve and all subtle variations in between, depending on how much the particular bit was in shadow.

The Swans just happened to be in the right spot, acting as a stopper to prevent the eye shooting out of the picture.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Mellow Windrush

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

Another Cotswold-themed painting, this time of the River Windrush near Burford, where the river winds its way through meadows to Swinbrook.

The day was not sunny, so all the tones were somewhat close, and I had to pay special attention to the subtle shifts of colour. 

The pink Willowherb provided a nice touch of colour, and the Thistle seed-heads, which I always think look like the old-fashioned shaving brushes, are always fun to paint, and I suggested the whispy seeds just flying off in the breeze.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Sherborne Park

Oil on Board, 10 x 17 inches

Another Cotswold painting, this time one of the glorious landscape of Sherborne Park Estate, where this year's Springwatch programme is based.

I felt a panoramic-shaped board would suit the composition, with the Sherborne brook transversing the meadows, with the little weir in the foreground, the white water punctuating the predominantly green landscape. The cattle on the left in the sunlit patch of meadow were perfectly placed for a bit of interest in the distance.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Sunset over the Windrush

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

Another Cotswold painting, this time the River Windrush near Swinbrook, East of Burford, one of my favourite stretches of water. The water always seems to have a slightly milky effect to it, with a tint of blue in it, too.

I used a little artistic license with this one, introducing a sunset sky onto a fairly dull light effect, adjusting the tones of the trees and vegetation accordingly.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Upper Slaughter

Oil on Linen Canvas, 20 x 28 inches

One of the chocolate-box villages in the Cotswolds, I painted this view of Upper Slaughter in all its verdant, Summer glory. I was lucky that the woman was posing on the bridge, with a lovely, backlit halo around her dark hair and sunlit highlights on her arms. The ancient cottages also provided a nice foil to the abundance of greens in the trees and bankside vegetation. The River Eye and the path, of course, were convenient 'lead-ins' to the composition, with the dark shadowed side of the bridge the darkest dark in the painting.

 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Oxford Canal

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

I did this as a demo painting last week at Napton-on-the-Hill, and I took a few photos of the local landscape having got there early, so opted to paint this view of the Oxford Canal.

The big Oak tree provided a perfect focal point with its ochrey reflections in the canal. Canals invariably have these tainted, or tinted reflections because the mud at the bottom is constantly stirred up by the narrowboats traversing back and forth.

The little brown dots in the water are not paint slashes - they are the little ducklings which were everywhere, with their tiny outboard motors whizzing about like toys.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Cattle by the Windrush

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

This was an entirely studio painting after a trip to Burford in the Cotswolds last year. Just about every time I've been there, it's been dull with no sunshine, so no sparkling water or sharp contrasts in this painting. But dull days have a certain charm and the true colours of the trees and banks of vegetation are revealed, so special attention must be paid to accurately convey the subtle colour changes.

The sound of Raasay

 Oil on Board, 9 x 12 inches

This started out as a plein air painting I did almost exactly a year ago on the Isle of Skye, when the temperatures were in the mid to high 20s! This was probably the most problematic painting I've done on the spot, with the light changing almost every second. First of all it was sunny, then the clouds tumbled over and the sky became grey and the distant mountains were lost, so I faded them out, then the sun came out again and the sea turned blue again. Having left the painting with a grey sea and dull, formless headland, I tickled it up in the studio and painted over it again and made the sea blue and some gorgeous cast shadows, and painted out the clouds! Talk aout artistic license!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Late in the Day, Brancaster Staithe

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

I originally posted this painting back on 3rd October - I did it as a demo painting at the Mall Galleries during the RSMA Exhibition last year. I felt it needed a bit of tidying-up, so set about just that in the studio.

I put a little more warmth in the sky, reminiscent of a November afternoon, then worked over the entire painting with some more subtle colour/tone shifts. Wet mud is always a challenge to tackle, especially with low winter sunlight bouncing off it, with lots of jewels of light here and there. Much of the this was done with the palette knife, dragged across the sticky, drying paint underneath.

This painting, along with 'Moorings at Thornham', my last post, are going into the RSMA’s 2017 out of London exhibition, at the Barn Gallery at Patchings Art Centre. The show starts this coming Saturday with a Private View from 11am to 1pm, then continues until 25th June, open 9am - 5pm daily. It will be a great show with work by the best of Marine artists on display.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Moorings at Thornham

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

This was a demo painting I did at the Peterborough Arts Society a few weeks ago, finished off in the studio. It's going into the Royal Society of Marine Artists Exhibition at the lovely Barn Gallery, Patchings Art Centre, from 13th May - 25th June.

I wasn't sure that this would make a great painting, but having worked on it and judging by the reaction on Facebook, maybe it would have made a big painting! I certainly enjoyed painting the glistening mud at low-tide, especially the darker reflections beneath the boats and the gorgeous purple/grey cast shadows. Bits like these are really the fun part of a painting - the posts and masts, rigging and rails on the boats are a bit of a trudge quite honestly, but then when you move on to these most important incidentals, you can use the palette knife to describe the dark mud in the shadows, and they can really make the painting.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Pines by Buttermere

Oil on Canvas, 18 x 26 inches

This is the first relatively big canvas I've painted for a good while, and it involved a lot of standing back to assess the drawing and tones - it's so much easier when you're working on a small board, because the whole picture plane is so much more condensed.

I loved painting the blues of the distant mountains, conveying the sense of depth and space. Probably the most enjoyable passage was the water in the foreground, where you have the combination of reflections and being able to see the lake bottom with the different coloured stones - magic!  

Friday, 31 March 2017

In Great Langdale

Oil on Board, 14 x 18 inches

Woh, a handbrake turn for a while, away from the relative flatlands of Rutland, I thought I would do three or four from a trip to the Lakes. This one is in Great Langdale showing the Pikes beautifully lit, with a stripe of sunlight across the mountain and the meadows and bare trees below. 

So many spots of contrast and counterchange here, it was a joy to paint, with lots of 'pow' and drama! I deliberately placed the two Herdwicks right at the bottom of the picture to give the Pikes their majesty, towering into the sky above. I painted the sky and the mountains with a No 5 long flat Hog bristle brush, refining the crags with a long flat chisel-edged Rosemary & Co Series 279 brush. All the trees were painted with either a fan brush for the more distant ones, or a 1" decorator's brush for the nearer ones, augmented with a rigger for the thicker branches.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Lyddington from Bisbrooke Road

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

This morning I was driving slowly the through nearby villages to my studio, and this view struck me as a good subject, with the church splicing the skyline and providing a perfect focal point. So, I parked up, got my plein air kit out of the car and jumped over a ditch into a field and set up to capture the scene.

The view was perfect, with a hazy light, looking directly into the sunlight, but what I hadn't catered for was the gale-force cold north-easterly wind blowing into my back...and neck! After nearly two hours painting, my neck was nearly frozen, despite being dressed up in a thick fur-lined jacket and anorak over the top. So, I packed up having got the painting mostly finished. Having taken off my rucksack from the hook on my tripod which acted as a weighty ballast, the tripod with the painting attached promply blew over, luckily wet-side-up!

I put just a very few finishing touches back in the warmth, and calm, of the studio. Looking forward to the next CALM day outside! 

By the Welland at Wakerley

Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

The River Welland trundles through Rutland, and provides an artist like me with a wealth of subject matter. Here, with a ewe and a small gang of lambs munching on the Spring grass near Wakerley was a heaven-sent composition.

With the sunlight coming from the right, behind the bank of trees, the water was bejewelled with sparkles, spotted in with a small rigger or the tip of the palette knife. Most of the tree work was done with my 1" decorator's brush.

Last Hard Frost

 Oil on Board, 6 x 8 inches

As the name suggests, this was the last hard frost of the Winter. Crisp, silver and varying shades of mauve dusting of ice adorned the fields and vegetation - always a joy to paint. The sun broke through the grey, foggy sky, and the perfect vista was complete.
The dark Teasels provided a nice foreground interest, and helped to depict the feeling of spacial depth to the painting.