Outside our house, along the road, are sycamore trees and against a bright blue sky they recently displayed a vitality I felt compelled to capture in paint. They looked good, despite the problem of all the seeds that come down with the leaves, leaving me with a year-long task of uprooting seedlings as they emerge.
Now, after a few autumn gales, the title should be Fell – but the display was good whilst it lasted, though I notice bunches of seed heads still hanging onto the otherwise bare trees, taunting me with their presence.
Looking over recent output I realised I hadnt done a pastel in a while, so here is another view of the River Wear, in Durham. This one was glimpsed as I was hurrying past to do some painting in fields alongside the river, downstream. I suppose I could have done this scene, but it would have meant sitting in the road – and whenever I do that a lorry or tractor comes along, so I took a few photos and proceeded onwards.
I was struck by the light on the grasses and foliage which made them stand out against the shadows and reflections of the trees. I did some thumbnails of this and decided on a portrait format, but now its done perhaps a landscape format would be better.
In this painting I blocked in the darks with acrylics before starting out on the pastels. It does save a lot of time, and pastel, getting variegated darks in with paint and gives a great base to build up texture.
I`m working on a commission at present so here are a couple of paintings I did a while ago but didnt get around to posting. This one above is from a set of photos taken earlier in the year when it was too cold to paint outside – well for an impatient wimp like me who spends sunny, summer mornings waving paintings in the warm air getting the washes to dry.
I had posted an earlier version of these autumnal birches in our local woods, but decided to have another go. Lots of spraying and splattering, but not much progress. It seemed to go downhill from the start with a pallid sky which I had hoped to to use to accentuate the warm autumn oranges.
As winter draws to its cruel close I came upon this view over the Brede Valley in East Sussex. It was from a dark photo, into the sun, looking over a church cemetery – where some of my maternal family are buried, and on into the valley beyond. I liked the skeletal tree and added another on the right. I lightened the foreground up and created some rough ground instead. Winter coming to an end.
The creation of the branches was a therapeutic exercise, with rain thrashing the window and a spot of Bach on the stereo. It filled a wet morning perfectly.
With a recent spell of bright sunshine we went for a walk along the canal a couple of days ago. It was the fields nearby that caught my attention. This one with the light on the top of the hill and the deep blue of the sky setting off what remains of the autumn leaves captured the day for me. I was thinking of putting some crows in it – but so far have resisted.
I had a bit of time to play around with some forest scenes I had collected from recent visits to our local Ainsdale and Formby woods. On the top painting I did the colour mixing on the paper adding water to push colour away from the top right and then push and reinforce the dark mixtures on to the bottom right to get contrast and mystery.
This, above, was my first try. I like some of it, but feel that I need some colour contrasts to highlight the point of interest and break the monotony.
This got a bit obvious with streams of light, but has the area of interest I needed in the painting above. Again, with a few tweaks it could be worth another try. I think if I push the bottom area up into the `middle it might enliven it a little.
Continuing the series of repeats. I have exhibited the first version of this many times but it never sold . I liked the tight range of hues which I hoped emphasised calm and quiet. This time I have increased the lights in the wooded area and darkened the field shadows. I have also ensured that the yarrow flower heads contrast against the shadow areas in the field. We’ll see how this goes.
Having travelled back from my Life Drawing class and needing to set up an exhibition this week, I have not had time to paint anything new. Then as I was browsing through images on my camera I spotted one I had done a couple of weeks ago and not posted. I recall at the time I wasn’t too taken by it, but after a couple of weeks my antipathy has softened, so here it is.
I also should post it as I have a rule to post everything I do, whether I like it or not, which I pretty much follow, another reason to inflict this on you.
Following my watercolour sketch – Walk in the Woods – I presented a week or so ago, I thought that I would develop it a little. I liked the bands of light and shade created by the beeches in this wood on The Southdowns Way, close to the Cuckmere Valley. I mentioned in the blog that I took some pictures of passing walkers and I put in a couple with their sticks. I also kept the colours muted and resisted my urge to bang in some scarlet amongst the greens. Not sure whether it has the impact of my Dog Walkers where I succumbed to the scarlet urge – but maybe I got some of the calm I experienced on the day. Hope it calms you, also.
A view of one of my apple trees in the autumn. I liked the mellow light coming through. Now it’s up on the screen I think I might need to get a bit more texture in the left hand shadow. Leave it with me .
Merry Easter to everyone. At least we look like we have escaped the threatened snow I hope you all do – well, except for the skiers perhaps.