Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Painting No 11 - View from our Back Door

Well some you win and some you lose.  This started out as my first plein aire painting (from the safety of my back garden).  I managed to get the sky, house and main bushes done in about 20 minutes when I received a long phone call.  At the end of the call the sun had gone and it was freezing.  So, I decamped to indoors which is where it all went downhill.    

Using a photo of the scene I'd taken when the lighting was just right I continued to finish the painting.  Maybe the subject matter was too fiddly but I reckon I'm still unable to back off from the detail.  I think I'd lost interest in the end and rushed off the left hand side of the painting. The end result you can see above.

Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Painting No 10 - Autumn Flames on Ivinghoe Beacon

Oil on canvas board, 8" x 10".

This was a quick one (2-3 hours) based on a photograph I took last week while walking the dog. I was struck by the gorgeous yellow trees (a cluster of three small silver birch) in an otherwise drab landscape.

I used a canvas on which I'd attempted a scene of frost and mist last year sometime. I gave that up as a bad job.

I found this one interesting in terms of the composition as the hedge and pathway take the eye across to the left hand side. The trees help balance that and draw the eye back. This is demonstrated by the incomplete painting below without the trees.

Having put the tree in the picture still wasn't properly balanced so I added some figures (my daughter and dog) from another photograph.

I left the forground in a fairly crude state as I didn't want to overcook it. I'm pleased with the result although it may be a little weak at the bottom left.

I think I need to develop a more interesting signature.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Painting No 9 - First Steamer of the Morning, Ullswater

Oil on hardboard, 20"x 13"

Once again I'm attempting difficult lighting conditions. Still working from photographs, this one was very misty so I had to lift the background out of the haze a little by making the colours stronger. I had to redo the foremost hill after making it too orange but I quite like the overall effect now it's finished. I'll be sticking to brighter lights for the next few. I moved the steamer near to the centre to balance with the island.

This painting, for my friend Sally, is the first of, I hope, many many more of the Lake District in North West England. I aspire to become a mountain painter. Having said that these mountains are not typical of what I hope to do due to the hazy mist.

Ullswater is thought to be the lake by which William Wordsworth saw the daffodills that inspired the poem of the same name. Here's the first verse:

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Incidently this was written in Grasmere in 1804 the year before my great grandfather Joseph Wren was born in Grasmere. It's a small world.