Monday, 27 January 2020
A frosty morning at the allotments
We had 2 consecutive frosty, but misty mornings this week. Once the sun peeks through, there is that most glorious period of brightness when the frost clings to everything, before it disappears.
I love those mornings, sadly the higher temperatures have now taken over so the mist seems to linger and those low grey skies have been with us for the rest of the week.
Frost is a bit of a painting challenge. Paint it too thickly and it resembles snow. Too dark and the tonal values don't work. This is the result of my effort.
The frost was so thick on the grass, that the colour underneath was unrecognisable as grass. The soil still had that earth colour, and the fencing looked very light as the frost stuck to all the wire.
This is how I began.
I like to start by establishing my composition, blocking in the darks as I see them.
I'm using the colour Shadow, but you could use any dark colour that you intend to use in your painting.
I then introduced some Bluebell colour and Raw Sienna, suggesting distant hills and foliage as well as the mid-ground area, foreground dug-over soil and the track.
I really enjoy this stage of a painting, not knowing whats going to happen and continuing to notice little aspects of the composition as I look more and more.
It would be very easy at this stage to get carried away with the interesting little details, but I avoid that and concentrate on building up the painting.
I darken up areas, adding some of the foliage at the back of the composition, as well as branches and posts.
I do this to ensure that my composition is accurate.
By adding posts, I can check that the proportions are correct by comparing their positions to that of others. Using imaginary horizontals and verticals to check where other objects are in relation to them.
For example, the scale of the shed, where the corner of the shed/roof sits, in proportion to the background hedge is vital.
Anything can be altered at this stage.
I can paint over anything, or even rub the paint off, if it is still wet.
If the shed is too big or too small, that too can be altered, so this is the moulding stage when the entire painting is developed.
I got so carried away with it that I forgot to take any pictures after this, until the final one.
Notice the row of dark posts on the right of this picture, then look at the final painting above, you can still make them out under the paint. I decided to give them less prominence by glazing over the top of them.
I used a limited palette, and as I hope you can see from the frosty photo at the top, the colours of the final painting certainly reflected the colours on the day.
I feel like 2020 has now begun for me, after being unwell for the first 10 days or so, and feeling very miserable and sorry for myself, I am now back into my painting and enjoying it again.
I have just agreed to tutor a studio based painting course in June 2021... I know, its crazy that the diary begins to get booked so far in advance.
I may even agree to an outdoor painting holiday in the future, but that probably wont be until the following year! And it wont be in the winter, that's for sure!