Cattle in the mist – Oil Painting

Cattle in the mist

I’ve had this idea knocking around in my head for a while. Cattle can be mischievous and will break out of, or into, anywhere they are not supposed to go. I saw a small herd, including a bull, in the woods many years ago. The image was striking. In the setting of the woods these domesticated farm animals were transformed into primordial creatures. Cattle feature in many myths and legends and have a long relationship with people. I’m reminded of the Irish of pre-Christain epic, The Táin. Set in a time of druids, priestesses, sacred trees and places. A mythology which has left its mark on the landscape and ‘coloured’ Christianity when it finally arrived.

I did not have a camera at that time and I missed a great photo. The two photos I have included below touch slightly on the image I wanted to portray. The colours I took from the photos and also took some elements like the mist and distant trees. I really went wild with the colours in this painting. Here they are: Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Prussian Blue, Raw Umber plus Ivory Black and Titanium White. The Cadmiums were to give a brilliance to the sky and don’t feature much in other areas. In fact, the lack of colour in the foreground also contributes to the brilliance of the sky. The scene is framed in dark colour to achieve a feeling of mystery.

When you see the video of the painting process you will see how much time was spent on the sky which in the end was almost completely covered up. But it is a most important element in the scene. By having a ‘complete’ sky allows later trees to be painted anywhere the scene dictated. This is important, as the picture develops some adjustments are always necessary, so the ‘complete’ sky keeps your options open.

The video will be in the next post.