Last week I was in Durham and was able to get outside painting on a couple of warm and sunny days. However, the painting above was done at home. I had spotted the subject whilst sketching the dead tree beside the river, below – in fact this view above was behind me as I sketched, but getting the filigree foliage against a smoky forest backdrop needed a bit of thinking through, so I declined the challenge and painted this instead.

In hindsight I should have given it a go. Still, it was good to have an unexpected chance to get outside. The day before I sat and sketched the city skyline into the light.

This was again done on the banks of the River Wear with a curious bull snorting near my back from the field behind me. Fortunately the seemingly flimsy barbed wire fence did the trick and I survived to paint another day as this blog and my final sketch: looking up the hill to the other side of the river – testifies.

Other landscapes are available for sale on my website:


  1. My dad was once painting a picture along a river and a bull came up behind him.

    And there was no fence separating them.

    But the bull just looked at the painting and, after making his own personal criticisms or thoughts of appreciation of the work in his own mind, proceeded to move on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like the smoky forest backdrop. So much so that I think maybe the bush in the foreground is a bit of a distraction. My 12 year daughter agrees! The View up the Hill is eye catching too. Looks like you had a lovely time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Roger. If the committee give it the thumbs down I may have to think again.
      Actually, I had a lot of trouble with the foreground. The committee of 11 demons who reside in my head couldnt agree. In the photo the foreground is dotted in many such scrub/bushes and I thought them distracting. However the bland foreground that resulted unnerved me and so I put the top of a bush right at the front – similar to the photo . I used the left side of the bush to start a diagonal to the focal point and wrapped the right hand side into the diagonal of the shingle bank – again aimed at the focal point.
      So the bush is an incidental, but I gave it a purpose, unlike a mass of grass. If I pushed the foreground forward and cut it out, I`d lose the force of the line of the shingle and the eroded bank.
      Life`s a bitch … and then you die.

      Liked by 1 person

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