Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Sunlit Yellow Boat

Oil on Board, 10x14 inches

Another studio painting of one of my favourite old haunts at Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk. 

This one contains a variety of techniques, with the backdrop of trees scrubbed in loosely with an old hog brush, then refined a little with my 1" decorator's brush, the boats painted with a Rosemary Flat Ivory brush and the mud almost sculpted on with a mixture of brush strokes and palette knife dragged over. 

The ropes and masts were all placed in with the lovely fine, chisel edge of the original Rosemary Mongoose brush. I left the foreground yellow boat till last, having a joyous time painting in the various mixes of yellow, then a few heavy impasto slabs of almost white paint for the highlights. Note the handy use of counterchange with the sunlit bow of the boat against the darker mud and the darker stern of the boat in shadow set against the lighter muddy water rivulet. All adds to the interest and impact of the painting, hopefully!

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Receding Tide, Mousehole

Oil on Board, 10x17 inches

This is another studio painting for the RSMA show at the Mall Galleries. I liked the placement of the boats with the intense morning sunlight coming from stage right, casting gorgeous, rich shadows over the exposed sand. The rivulets of water with the mini-sandbanks around them were joyous to paint, and of course the ropes and chains provide the perfect lead-ins to the colourful main players.
A painting like this is such a different kettle of fish (did you see what I did there?) to my landscape work, because I use so many different tools. It's almost like a different medium in fact. My big 1" household brush is redundant and I made full use of the alkyd paint, letting the basic mud and sand colours of the foreground dry off a little whilst I painted in all the fiddly boat details. Then, I had a lot of fun with my slim palette knife, an implement I rarely use for landscapes, dragging assorted colours over the sticky paint, also using the texture of the board, to give the lovely broken effects of the light catching all the stones and seaweed and sand. Hmm, almost as good as Lindt chocolates, or Crunchy nut Cornflakes...

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Morning sunlight, Mousehole

Oil on Board, 12 x 17 inches

A studio painting this for the upcoming RSMA exhibition, involving a lot of fiddly work on the boats. I loved the composition, with the eye being taken on a journey through the painting, from the two little girls and mum on the beach to each boat and out through the harbour gates to St.Clements Isle and onto the gleaming sunlight on the sea horizon and then back again, checking out the odd few figures on the harbour wall and cars with intense reflected light bouncing off them, then passing a few more boats missed the first time round and back to the figures again. Is that how your eyes travelled?

The main problem with this sort of painting is not to make it looked too laboured, but there is plenty going on, with lots of little cameos on the way, like the dazzling sunlight below the blue boat left of centre and to the left of the blue vessel in the foreground right of centre. It was another case of "maybe I should have made it a bigger painting" with such a lot going on, but there we are, don't always get it right!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

River Nene at Waternewton

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

Sometimes as an artist, you look at a subject and think "hmm, it's quite pleasing, but it doesn't have the knockout composition that warrants a big canvas or board", which was the case here, so I opted for a small board....and wished I'd gone for a bigger one!

This was a very green picture, but as I painted it, I really started to love it, and the slow-moving water of the Nene was captivating with the shadows running across the water.  The main thing to make a green painting convincing is to try to observe all the myriads of subtley different tones and shades of green. 

Ah well, could maybe do a big version, but unlike many of my colleagues, I don't really like repeating a painting - the juices just don't flow a second time for me.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Tumbledown Barn near Oundle

Oil on Board, 10x12 inches

I spotted this glorious old barn with its collapsed roof and just a few orange tiles clinging stoically to the timbers. With a lovely cumulus-clouded sky with blue patches as a backdrop and lots of Hogweed and a broken gate, I couldn't resist painting it. I moved a few things around for the sake of the composition, like shifting the gate to the right and making it a little smaller so not to dominate, and bringing in the distant fields to give a sense of depth, but really it was a perfect subject.