Monday, 15 July 2013

Grazing by the Nene

It was too bright to paint in the studio today, so I trekked out to paint this 9 x 12 panel en plein air in the heat.  It was unbearably hot and I chose a spot facing the sun high above and in front of me.  With just a pair of shorts on and a wet towel draped over my shoulders to stop sunburn, I attacked this with gusto, taking a few photos on the way to show the progress:
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.

12 comments:

  1. Bonjour,

    Cette merveilleuse peinture valait bien quelques coups de soleil !! Sourire !
    Merci de nous faire partager l'évolution de votre travail. C'est toujours très intéressant à voir.

    Gros bisous

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    1. Merci Martinealison. Mes épaules sont aujourd'hui endolori après transport de mon sac à dos, en dépit de avoir la serviette au-dessus de eux !

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  2. Enjoyed the painting demo and the Latvian accents as well!

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    1. Thenks Andrew. Eet was guud, yaise?

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  3. Thanks for the demo Peter, it is great to see how you produce each little masterpiece....oh is vairy guud man!

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    1. Yuu arra nice wuuman, yees, thenk yuu...

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  4. Hi Peter.
    Thank you so much for showing us how you go about it mate. And also your little story that went with it. By the way, as usual, a brilliant painting. I wish I could have lessons from you. At one time you mentioned that you would like to loosen up a bit, well I`m too loose I`m afraid.All the best Peter.
    Vic.

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    1. Thanks Vic. Yes, I would like to loosen up, but maybe I'll end up like Tooloose Lautrec...groan!

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  5. Ive, enjoyed reading about your day, you meet allsorts of life quite unexpectedly eh. Also intersting to have a peep into how you progress. Still amazes me Ve

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    1. Thank you Ve; indeed I do meet all sorts unexpectedly, especially around Peterborough!

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  6. Very interesting post Peter and I loved those accents of the people you met! (:D Your work is stunning! So generous of you to share the different stages of working up the painting. :)

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    1. Thank you Eileen, glad you like my work and my commentary and thanks for your very kind words!

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