Walking through a clearing in my local woods last August I spotted the downy seed heads of the rosebay willowherb about to shed their harvest into the wind. It seemed a good subject with the remaining magenta flowers and reddish stalks set against the blue greens of the pinewoods and the yellower greens of the open scrubland. Here is the result.
You know, when midway through a painting, progress starts to slow and the enthusiasm edges towards the door, that perhaps it wasnt such a good idea, or a different approach might be advised. Actually, the reduced resolution of this photo has softened its pedantic plod and made it a bit less jarring to my eyes.
But then, I know the truth – it’s in front of me. We move on…
After the holiday, back to earth with a bump – particularly yesterday, when I had some pretty aggressive dental treatment. But this blog is about painting, not my teeth, so here is a painting of the local woods which back onto the sandy beaches around here.
The woods are predominantly made up of conifers, but there are gaps where spruce makes a grab for the sunlight. Then, in the autumn these gaggles of spruce light up the forest with their colourful, leafy displays. I’ve painted this type of scene before and here, without apology, is the start of a wooded section just behind our local airfield.
Coming out of the shade of a copse, the light on the trees and their trunks ahead, grabbed my attention and the puddles on the path was an added extra.
I continued my search for a woodland scene for an upcoming exhibition and painted this yesterday. I will probably submit this painting rather than the one I posted on my last post. Both are from the same woods.
You can see the path disappearing right, down what becomes a sharp hill, which quickly bottoms out and then rises sharply again. Great for cycling down until you meet another cyclist coming the other way doing the same thing – trying to get enough speed to get up the hill in front.
Fortunately on that day I didnt meet anyone coming the other way.
Anyway, I have now submitted my exhibition entry form, so that’s one less job. We start another exhibition in town on Sunday, so I need to label up another set of paintings.
I think I mentioned that I have a couple of exhibitions coming up. So apart from painting, I have been assembling paintings in readiness. Gathering the paintings together, I felt I needed another local forest scene and a beach scene to give me a good spread of subjects. Here is one forest scene I did this week.
But despite the loose splattering and layers of masking fluid, I felt that the painting lacks the punch I was after. I feel it needs more colour even though I injected more colour than is in the reference. I was also hoping the large tonal range would galvanise it but, for me, it isnt enough.
Fortunately I have time. I just need to produce a list for next week, so at the very worse, I can put down a generic title and keep my nose to the easelstone.
I dont regard these problems as a waste of time. It is a learning opportunity – even if it can get half forgotten in the months ahead. It is also good practise – something you can never get enough of.
I was in the middle of an acrylic painting and had an impulse to paint this in watercolours. It is of another favourite subject of mine: Ainsdale Woods which sit on the edge of the sandunes on the coast. I loved the purples, blues and greens, which I have enhanced here, and how they collide with the yellows of the sunlit leaves.
I tried to be sparing in my washes and brushwork to keep a freshness and may have left areas underworked as a consequence. Anyway, there`s plenty of colour for a gloomy pine forest.
I was going to display some more sketches of my garden, but on Wednesday the sun rose early and I decided to get out and do my first painting of the year.
I had decided on the location but on my way I spotted that a mist was coming off the moss and that would have made painting very difficult, so I swerved off beachward and tried to find something interesting to do on the dune belt.
The first were the pines lit by the morning light, above.
Then I spotted this pine on the edge of the woods. I liked the colour of the bark in the light against the darkness of the woods behind,
I had one more sheet on my painting pad so I decided to head towards the sea and sat on top of a sand dune and painted, the admittedly rather mundane, view to the sea.
Not an exciting bunch of sketches, due to the location being forced on me by circumstance, but it was great to get out and just have a chance to sit and meditate for two or three hours in the sun. There was also one advantage of this social distancing – no-one bothered me as I worked – not that there were many out at that hour and location.
Another view from Ainsdale pine woods near to my home, where the firs and bracken have populated the old sand dunes down to the beach.
You can understand, in a more credulous age, the belief in sprites and fairies as the morning light bristles or crepuscular darks grow.
And another go at the view of the woods and path I posted a few weeks ago. The first one was quickly done on the back of an old painting and I loved the glow I achieved. Unfortunately some of the old painting had been cut down so it didnt fit my frames and mounts. Hence this second attempt on a fresh sheet.
I saw a woodland scene simply done in watercolours the other day and wondered whether some of my scenes could do with decluttering. The painting was eye catching though too simplistic for my taste but I felt it was worth trying some of the principles.
This painting was from view I have had lying around for a while and I thought that it would make a good starting point. I proceeded with a wash of strong primary colours over the wetted sheet and then moved the whole lot with more sprayed water to get some colour mixing into a myriad of hues.
When dry, further forms were created into sprayed areas to give hit and miss shapes and gradually the whole thing was worked up with drier and drier brushwork.
I’ll do a few more and compare them with earlier paintings I have done.
Regular readers may sense groundhog day, but this is a more finished version of an offering I produced a few weeks ago as part of a set of woodland scenes. As I scratch around for suitable work for a couple of upcoming exhibitions, there may be more of that set coming – so those of an unforgiving disposition should switch off now…