We had an overnight fall of snow recently. Come morning it had melted away but not on high ground. This scene looks Westward, towards the Slieve Bloom Mountains. These are old mountains, possibly one of the oldest mountain ranges in Europe and originally one of the highest (estimates of 3,700m, 12,000ft). The shape of the individual mountains testify to aeons of erosion. The wide base and tapered peaks have a distinctive profile, like a wall sitting on the horizon. Normally this ‘wall’ is unnoticeable, blending-in with low lying cloud. With a capping of snow, and bright April light, it looked surreal.
A small painting, 11″x8″ (31x19cm), this was completed in less than 2 hours with the level of work I was happy with. I like a weave of intense deliberate brushstrokes, and this is time consuming. On large paintings I find it impossible to work this way. The paint has to be wet on wet, with enough dryness to allow more paint to be put on top if needed. I think the ‘lines’ or strokes made by the brush, or whatever, are important . An alphabet which allows the image to be ingested differently from photos or mechanically produced or accidental patterns. For this reason I don’t like to see the weave of the canvas as a feature of the painting, although it works for some people.
The colours here are Indian Red (red), Yellow Ochre (yellow) and French Ultramarine (blue). Also Sap Green, and of course, black and white. Indian Red is a powerful, rust red, colour. It is lighter in tone than Burnt Sienna but does not mix as well with other colours. It is so strong, adding the same volume of black paint still produces a red colour. I find it produces ‘gritty’ looking pictures compared to Burnt Sienna, which always produces a range of pinks when in contact with white. These remarks are personal and your own experiences may be completely different. I always use a very limited palette and this effects the behaviour of colours.
Here is the video of the process.