Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Harvest Bales

Oil on Board, 7.5 x 10 inches

I started this one on site on Sunday evening at 6pm, having seen the arrangement of the roly poly straw bales on a bike ride. I dashed back with my gear and quickly got set-up and drew in the composition, then started to paint. I quickly realised within half-an-hour that this was going to be too ambitious to complete en plein air with the swiftly changing light - not only was the sun moving, which it has an annoying propensity to do, it was going down too, so the shadows changed fast and so did the colour of the sky. So, I took a couple of reference photos and finished it off in the studio.

What initially drew me to paint this was the one bale at a different angle to all the other ones, just behind the one in the foreground. Because of its quirky angle (I think it was a maverick, like me), it had that gorgeous flash of sunlight on its top, which I couldn't wait to describe with a thick slab of Titanium White and a touch of yellow, red and blue. Again, it was one of those fleeting light effects that was gone in minutes, and very few of us are capable of painting en plein air, certainly not me. So, I unashamedly put it in in the studio, with it fresh in my memory.

Painting stubble is another fascination for me (I'm easily pleased) - it has a multitude of colurs, not just Yellow Ochre as you might suspect. I painted it with thick mixes of paint using my 1" decorator's brush, using Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow Light, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber, with Titanium White, of course, in fact, almost every colour I possess, apart from Sap Green and Viridian.

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