Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches
This painting is a commissioned piece for a customer who wanted a painting similar to one in my exhibition last month. I will never repeat a painting that I have done before, because paintings are sold as originals, but sometimes I will paint a similar view/feel to a previous piece, and this is one such painting, a little further downstream to the one before.
Painting a composition such as this is quite involved, with a lot of spidery winter tree tracery to depict - a little trickier than the same trees in their summer garb. Without any obvious light and dark side of a green tree that conveys a three dimensional shape, describing a bare tree is more difficult and requires more subtle application of brush strokes, at least the way I paint it does!
For the more bushy trees, I describe them using my trusty 1" decorator's brush, applying many judicious layers with paint not too heavily-laden on the hairs.
For the main bare trees at the rear centre of the picture, I scrub in the basic shapes with a dry brush with not too much pigment, then paint in the sky around them, then stroke the same colour over the tree with a hog brush held almost parallel to the board surface for the 'sky holes' seen between the branches. Then I describe the branches with a long rigger held almost at the end of the handle (not the hair end!) - that way, conversely to what you might think, you can stroke really delicate lines where needed. Holding the rigger near the ferrule end, which is the temptation, only results in clumsy, thicker lines, spoiling the look of tree branches. For the feathery ends of the branches, I place them in with the decorator's brush, pushing gently into the wet sky paint so they don't appear too 'sharp' and hard. What lets a lot of amateur paintings down, is the lack of painting the branches that are growing 'out of the picture', so to speak, coming towards the viewer, which appear foreshortened. This is what gives the illusion of three-dimensional depth to the painting, although it is on a two-dimentional surface.
All the frosty vegetation is painted with the decorator's brush again, heavily loaded for the few warm sunlit highlights.
I've just realised I've given away far too many secrets...I'm going to have to kill you all.