Low Tide, Kinsale – Oil Painting
This is Kinsale, in County Cork. I was here a few months ago and took a few photos, on one of those really bright days, when photography just does not work. The cluster of houses on the hill looked great but the sky was a hazy nondescript mess of flat clouds. Too bright when photographed increasing exposure to give details to the housed. The sky, even if fiddled with in Photoshop, was a non event. So the sky is constructed from imagination to accommodate the scene.
This was the site of a battle in 1601 ad, between a combined Irish / Spanish force and the English. The Spanish sailed into the harbour of Kinsale and occupied the town. They were asked to come and assist the Irish in their war with the occupying English. While stationed at Kinsale, an English army laid siege to the town. The Ulster princes, Hugh Roe O’Donnell and Hugh O’Neill marched from Ulster to Kinsale and surrounded the English. As the English army was sandwiched between the two armies of the Irish and Spanish, in time the English would have had to surrender. The Irish did not wait but attacked immediately. Maybe it was the long forced march from the north which weakened the Irish, but they lost the battle. After this many of the native Irish aristocracy abandoned their lands fled to mainland Europe. It was the beginning of the end of the Irish struggle for independence until the early 20th century when war erupted again and, this time, independence was achieved.
I’m not to concerned about the photographic accuracy of the buildings. Two features stuck out which I did try and portray as accurately as I could. The church on the hill on the left and the red houses on the right of the cluster of buildings. The colours used were: Indian Red & Raw Umber (red), Raw Sienna (yellow), Cobalt Blue & Cerulean Blue (blue) and black and white. The sky was a ‘make it up as you go along’ type, with a ‘hole in the clouds’ as the rough plan. The method used I outlined in ‘For the absolute beginner – Part 1‘. With experience this method can be as complex as your imagination and ability allows. This scene is just a standard seaside town painting and needed something to lift it out of this well used painting type. The buildings were suggested initially with rectangular shapes, all dark with varying mixtures of Raw Umber, Indian Red and Cobalt Blue. Prominent house colours were suggested, cream coloured, yellow, grey and red. Using 2 fine brushes, one with the dark mix plus black, the other with white and a tiny amount of Raw Sienna, details, like windows, chimneys, roofs etc were, again suggested.
The water was painted in a way which is very similar to the sky method. That is, a sky without clouds. The key is in the blending of the colours using brush strokes, some vertical, some horizontal, some diagonal, to produce the shimmering light on the surface of the water. The foreground is fairly straightforward. The rough rocks of the low tide shoreline breaking the surface and their reflections in the water.
I will have the video of the process for the next post and hopefully it will be a little easier to understand the process. See you then.