I was working on some bigger and more intricate paintings when I saw an advert for travel which depicted a river valley. I loved the colours in the photo where green was the mother colour but didn’t overwhelm. I felt I needed a rest from my acrylics and banged out this sketch this morning. I decided to add a stand of trees as a focal point which I masked out, but in hindsight should have just protected by keeping the area dry instead. I intended using only three colours, warm red warm blue and warm yellow but quickly realised I needed a cool blue to help out and get the depths of colours that were needed.
I was watching TV and there was an artist Norman Ackroyd painting some watercolours of woods in winter. I loved the greyness of these images along with the bare trees and after the programme I made up an image, just using washes of greys blues and purples just to see where it went.
Norman Ackroyd is a printer and I think he coordinated this year’s Royal Academy summer show. Some time ago there was an infrequent series on the tele called “What do Artists do all Day” – a title which amused me. He was featured in it and it showed him working on an etching of seabirds encircling a far flung Scottish Island. Needless to say some of his day was spent in a hostelry whilst he was waiting for things to develop. It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it.
I often cycle through these woods and the light on a sunny day gives great contrasts. I’ve painted it before but felt the result was a bit stilted. So I was suckered in the other day and decided to have another go.
Still not sure. Perhaps I could get the darks a bit darker. I’ll ponder on it for a few days.
When I was out painting the other day, as I put the bike back on the rack of the car, I looked over and noticed the trees in the field to my right. I’m not sure what I liked about it, the view behind into the far fields or the counter changes of light and shade, across the field. Anyway, here it is: an English meadow on a summer’s day.
I wanted to try another single colour painting and thought that yellow might be worth a go. I wasn’t happy with the outcome as the tonal range was too shallow. Plan B was to mix a blue with one of the yellows. I selected winsor lemon and added varying amounts of French ultramarine. The ultramarine allowed me to get a bigger tonal range and hopefully a sense of calm and light I was after.
At the end I glazed the whole painting, except for the sun area, with winsor lemon. Not sure about the effect as it softened some of the features, but once done there’s no going back.
I was experimenting with a series of abstracts inspired by the changing of seasons. One of the forms I was considering was colour and I saw the birch which overhangs my garden and played around with backgrounds and colour combinations which I might use on the abstracts but this time I employed them in a representational image.
We haven’t yet got snow but the white in the image seemed to lift the image. It could be snow or light coming through the leaves. I tried to blur the background to infer form but not describe it. I will work further on this.
I was playing around with some small pieces of pastel paper I found in an old sketchbook, just exploring some possible subjects. On one sheet I wanted to create a stained glass effect, using the trunks and branches of trees as the lead support. As I worked the image seemed a little stilted with the dark interstices so I started to overpaint some of the branches and trunks with the blues yellows and greens and with some blending it gave a pleasing effect. Once I fixed the painting I could then overlay further colour and built up the image, creating texture with the top layers.
I was pleasantly surprised with the result; the image has an undersea feel, which might open up some other images. I might try a bigger version and then work out from there. For the moment here’s the first version.