Year’s End – Oil Painting

Year's End

Here and there, scattered across the Irish landscape, you’ll find what appears to be the ruins of formal structures. Usually well made ‘cut stone’ walls or gateway, the remnants of the 18th century estates. Many were abandoned or acquired by the State, to be split up and distributed among the former tenants, after the break with the United Kingdom in the 1920’s.

This finely constructed gate post and overgrown remains of a stone wall is an appropriate foreground for this painting of the closing of another year. The ploughing of the stubble fields after the harvest is a harvest for bird life. Seagulls travel from the coast to feed on the morsels turned up by the plough.

The colours are the same as before: Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Prussian Blue. Also used, Raw Umber and Cerulean Blue. Cerulean Blue because Prussian Blue is dark and purple and is moderated nicely by the lighter blue. Although a spot of Cadmium Red was used for the tractor it wasn’t part of the overall colour in the rest of the painting. This spot of colour stands out from the surface and when it dries I will trim flat the lump of paint and possibly scrape off a little to help with the shape of the tractor. That ‘shaved’ red paint will really stand out from the rest of the painting which is needed to draw attention to the tractor. Its such a small item it needs an attention grabber. Subconsciously, the viewer enters the painting somewhere on the left, the tractor grabs the eye which will then travel with the birds and leave the painting over the hills on the right. Subsequent journeys may take the viewer to the gatepost and into the field, which is OK .

There is an overall green/brown colour in the painting, good for late Autumn. The green was a mix of Yellow Ochre and Prussian Blue. The blue is added to the yellow, in that order, as it is easier to check the ‘greeness’ of the mix going from the yellow (this might sound weird, but it is not). Remember from a previous post about mixing greens as opposed to using green straight from a tube – the ‘mix’ green is always more natural, better for landscapes. On the subject of mixing colours, one mix which will always be required in a landscape is the mixing of a blue and white for the sky. Always, always add the blue to the white, never the other way round. The bulk of the mix will be white, so adding little bits of blue until the colour is right ensures you don’t end up with a huge lump of sky blue mix. Also, like in the green mixing above its easier to check the colour of the mix coming from the white.

There is a video in the pipeline for the next post. See you then!