Friday, 29 April 2016

River Welland by the Harringworth Viaduct

Oil on Linen Canvas, 16 x 22 inches

This is the first in a string of commissioned paintings I have to complete. The couple concerned wanted a view of the iconic Harringworth Viaduct which crosses the River Welland on the border of Northamptonshire and Rutland. It is 1,275 yards long - the longest masonry viaduct across a valley in Britain, has 82 arches, each of which has a 40 feet span, took 2 years to build and was completed in 1878 - I'm full of useless information... 

Anyway, fantastic structure though it is, I felt a painting just of the viaduct would be somewhat dull and boring, and inevitably repetitive - an arch is an arch, and with 82 of them, all identical, there's little to make a painting interesting. A photograph, yes, but a painting, hmmm. So, I guided the clients to opt for a painting of the beautiful river, with the viaduct as a backdrop, simplified against the strong morning sunlight into a predominantly blue shape, rather than a portrait of the structure itself, and hopefully, this has worked.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Light Summer Breeze

Oil on Board, 11 x 16 inches

This was another demo painting I did to the Colourwheel Art Group at Alwalton in Peterborough a few weeks ago. It's a view of the River Nene from a bridge at Cotterstock near Oundle. 

I've painted from the same spot before, and in summer too, but this one has a different feel to it - the first one I did was on a sharp, bright Summer's day, with billowing cumulus clouds and blue sky, with the water very ruffled by the wind. This one, the sky was somewhat overcast, with the occasional shaft of sunlight lighting up the landscape - one of my absolute favourite light effects. As I said in my demo, the lightest part of the painting are the Yellow Water Lily pads in the right foreground of the river. To make these 'sing', the sky and water had to be painted correspondingly darker - as ever, the tones are THE most important parts to get 'right', so that the eye 'reads' everything correctly, and the light effect I experienced can be conveyed to the viewer.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Roach Pool on the Nene

Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

I found this painting on a shelf - painted last year and forgotten about, so dug it out and framed it!  I actually did a small study of this a few years ago and revisited it with this larger version, with one or two alterations. I also did a same-sized plein air painting from almost the same spot a couple of Summers back - a most glorious bit of river near Waternewton.

Friday, 1 April 2016

River Shadows

 Oil on Board, 10 x 14 inches

This painting was also one I did as a demo to the Castor and Ailsworth Art Society a couple of weeks ago, and finished off today.

Stop press! I looked at the painting with fresh eyes this morning and decided it was a little too dark in places and din't quite capture the intense brightness of an early morning frosty light, so I reworked it and am now much happier with it. I also took out the dark tree on the left, which on reflection competed too much with the dark mass on the right - the joy of oil paint, being able to edit and lighten, after you've 'finished' a painting!

It's a view from the bridge over the River Welland in a village called Harringworth near me, famous for the Harringworth Viaduct. The strong morning sunshine cast stripes of light and shadow across the water beyond the foreground bank of trees on the right. Although we are still having early frosts, these sharp mornings are fast being taken over by signs of Spring, with birdsong now very evident, Blackbirds and Songthrushes exulting, and the huge Red Kites and Buzzards pewing, and the diminutive Wrens bellowing out jubilant claims for their territories and calls for mates, and we even had a pair of Yellowhammers 'cheesing' in the garden yesterday. Soon the lanes will be green with the first flush of leaves...aaaah, bliss, a new year!