Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sunset at Latheronwheel

Sunset at Latheronwheel, Acrylic, 20 x 25 cm

This winter has been very different from the last two. So far, instead of snow and ice we have been having mostly wet and very windy weather. The other day there were heavy showers of hail and wind gusting at over 60 mph. It was very noisy at home, so I decided to go over to the more sheltered east coast in search of some peace and quiet. I took my pochade box with me and found a good painting spot in the car park at Latheronwheel Harbour. Even at the foot of the hill the wind was still blustery, but using the box I was able to paint from the comfort of my vehicle.

As it happens, with the wind coming off the land, the sea was quite calm and there was nothing else in the subject to indicate the rough conditions. It just looks like a calm sunset!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunshine in the Dales

Having just painted a large watercolour, I then had a commission for a large acrylic as well. It was also to be on a gallery-wrap canvas, which was something I hadn't tried before.

The brief was for a painting based loosely on a photograph of a Yorkshire Dales landscape. I used to live in that area, so it was a subject I was very familiar with.

Stage 1
I did a few pencil sketches to try out different compositions and then drew the outlines onto the canvas.

Thumbnail sketches

Rough outline
I started the painting by establishing all the darkest areas.

Stage 2

Stage 3
Then I covered the rest of the canvas with loosely applied paint for the middle-valued areas. The lightest values were left as white canvas.

Stage 3

Stage 4
From this rough groundwork I then continued to build up thicker and stronger colours.

Stage 4

Stage 5

Stage 6

Stage 7
At this point I reassessed the painting and saw a few things that needed changing. The woodland on the hill was too dark in tone, so I scumbled over it with white and a little bit of blue to make it look more distant. The middle-distance fields looked a bit empty, so I added more field boundaries to break up that area more. I also repositioned the barn. In the foreground, I felt that the colours were too bright and the river was too straight. A few glazes took care of the colours and a few stony areas made the river more interesting. The final touches were some birds in the sky and sheep in the fields.

Sunshine in the Dales, Acrylic, 51 x 76 cm

Finally, I had to paint the sides of the canvas, so that the painting continued around the edge. I probably should have done that earlier, but I didn't want to stop to take the canvas off the easel.