Regular readers of this blog must be tired of the same old, same old colours – Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and Prussian Blue . Well, sorry to dash your expectations of excitement, its the same old colours again. Well thats not quite true, the yellow in the cottage windows is a tiny bit of Cadmium Yellow plus white. As in previous paintings, whenever I need a colour which is not part of the natural spectrum (the red tractor, the people going to church), I use a colour out of the normal harmonious range. This colour does two things, it says man-made and it stands out from the other colours.
I was planning to put a ribbon of smoke coming from the cottage. As the sky progressed I changed the plan, smoke would not be visible on the irregular pattern of bright colours which is what the sky turned out to be. The sky changed from what I intended. It was to be flat and brooding with wisps of white cloud scurrying across a cold blue sky. A more solid structure presented itself, and being an opportunist, that’s the way it went. The ‘knock on effect’ was that the fine lines of the beech trees on the left would be impossible to paint onto the thick layer of sky colour. If the painting, at this stage, was allowed to dry, there would be no problem. I could paint on top and even make corrections by wiping of the fresh paint with a tissue soaked in a little white spirits. But as this was to be a single session painting the solution was to ‘draw’ the trees with a palette knife into the wet layer of paint. Into these ‘channels’ the darker colour of the trees was placed. The paint was very liquid, with loads of white spirits, and ‘flooded’ the channels producing a clean sharp line. Any of the ‘scratches’ not painted in looked OK as well. As usual I’ve videoed the process for a future post, so check back in a few days.
P.S. I took this photo last Christmas Eve. I was photographing a rare occurrence, a ‘white Christmas’ (very rare in Ireland). The little dog is Zuppy, our old Jack Russel terrier. It was so cold on that day, he just stopped walking and gave me the ‘slow look’. He then headed back to the bed. The silhouette of the dog against the snow was an image looking for a painting, and this painting was built around it. The fox, being careful to avoid the cottage, was caught ‘off guard’ by the viewer.
So lovely! And the how the painting “changed” is fascinating. Thank you for sharing this!!
Wonderful photo, beautiful scene!…Zuppy is adorable!)
The clouds in the sky mirror the puffs of snow on the ground. The golden lights in the cottage are inviting…(so you were right to use the cadmium yellow there!)
Wonderful transformation from photo to painting! Such lightness, even translucence about it…not easy to achieve in oils.
Very nice indeed!
I was just thinking how much I like the colors you use! I think some consistency is a good thing.
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Hi Liam, I’ve posted about your blog on my blog. I love your paintings!