Firstly I put on a very wet, turpsy wash of grey using a wide brush with lots of white spirit and let it drain down the board, just like a watercolour wash. Then I drew in the composition with a brush and a neutral grey colour.
Next, I scrubbed in the rough tones of the darks and the approximate colours with thin turpsy paint, still with no white added.
With the underpainting blocked in, I mixed up the sky colours with Titatium White in the mix and no White Spirit, painting into and around the treeline.
Working back into the sky, the truer tones of the trees were added, paying careful attention to the highlights and shadows to give them form. At this point, three Lithuanian lads swam past, stopping to say "hay man, ees vairy guud", with lots of gasps and Lithuanian sentences, before continuing downstream, letting the current take them with little effort. It's not often anyone says anything at all in my experience, let alone voices coming from BELOW you! It must be the English reserve I think - most folks glide past as if you're invisible, or have some obviously contagious disease. When the three lads, all mahogany coloured from their hard work, walked back instead of swimming against the current, they stopped by to see the progress and congratulated me on my "oh, ees vairy guud man!" A little later, four women from Latvia made a point of coming over to see and said similar comments, like "aah, ees look real, like there!" and "do you doo dees for a hohbee?" "no, this is my job" "aargh, yoowar johb, oh, yees, ees vairy guud!" Peterborough now seems to have few natives left, or at least the ones who go to the countryside to swim and sunbathe aren't. There were at least twenty or so others nearer the car who were also of a non-mother tongue.
I must confess,I forgot to take more photos after this stage before it was virtually finished, oops! When it's this hot and you're so concentrating on getting as much down as you can before the light changes too much, you get so absorbed you forget other things. That's my excuse anyway!
Here is the painting with as far as I could take it in the two and a bit hours. I continued fleshing out the trees and far and nearside banks and then tackled the water, the usual sequence I employ, and then popped in a few shapes of the cattle, slowly going about their business of grazing in the oppressive heat.
And here's a photo taken back in the studio before I do any more finishing to it.