Friday, 28 February 2020

The Open Barn

I walk past this open barn so often and have always been attracted to the light shining between the wooden planks and the pattern it creates. I am also attracted by the little cart which has been there as long as I have been walking here.
I have stopped so many times to look at it, thinking I would paint it one day. At this time of year it is clear to see, but once the leaves begin to appear on the trees, this view gradually becomes more obscured, so as each year has passed my opportunity slipped by, but not this year.

We have had so much rain this year that when the sun does come out, I feel a flurry of excitement and the need to enjoy it, appreciate it and use it. Washing can blow on the line, blankets can be aired, and the light is perfect for painting.
Maggie used to get a little confused when I gathered up her various bedding and hooked it onto chairs or shrubs in the garden to get a good airing. There would always be one mat left on the ground in the sun for her to lie on, she sun bakes, even in February.

I rushed to take advantage of the sunshine and this is my finished painting, (10 x 12 inches) it's an unusual subject for me, but it turned out as I had hoped and I now have my eye on some tractors....

I began by sketching my composition using a dilute dark. Adding lots of water to acrylic at this stage, to dilute it for the sketch, means it can easily be adjusted, wiped off if need be. 
I paint at an easel standing a couple of feet away from the board and use a long handled brush. This ensures that I look more at the subject and am more discerning about where to place my initial marks.

This scene has very subtle colours, there are no real brights, but I do see blues and ochres, so I block those in. Already after a very short time, my basic composition is there.

Once at this stage, its all about building up the painting.
If I am outside and have limited time, or the weather changes, the painting will be less detailed and often, I feel, more interesting that one painted entirely in the studio.

The challenge when working indoors and using photos exclusively (as opposed to beginning a painting outside and adding details later in the studio) is that there is a tendency to look for the tiny details within a picture before the basics are there.

I like my subject to emerge from the canvas. This is my personal way of working, I know its not everyones, so if it doesn't work for you, then perhaps its not right for you.
Thats one of the fascinating things about painting, its more about the way we see things, rather than the way we put the paint on the canvas.

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