Brambles in the snow – oil painting

Brambles in the snow

The problem with paintings which are overly seasonal (this one is an example) is that they appear incongruous out of their season. This painting is about cold, bleak times and if hanging on the living room wall next summer, will be a little out of place. I have heard of people who change their hanging paintings with the seasons, especially at Christmas time. I can’t see anything wrong with this, but as an artist there is something unsettling about your work been packed away with the tinsel and fairy lights for 11 months of the year.

Limited palette again, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Prussian Blue, Raw Umber and black and white. What is different with this painting is the attempt to contrast misty flat distance and the thorny, jagged brambles in the foreground. There is also a contrast in colours. Underlying the snow in the mid distance are warm colours and in the foreground the underlying colour is cold blue. The warm snow suggests the yellow stubble peeping through the light sprinkling of snow. The cold snow emphasises the flaming orange of the dead bramble. This orange colour (Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre and white) was introduced, almost randomly, into the rest of the painting and the roof of the cottage to disguise my manipulation of contrasting colours and integrate the brambles into the general scene. The snow colour was ‘scumbled’ onto the under colour. If you are not familiar with this, check out ‘Ráth – time lapse painting‘.

I used a palette knife to scratch the paint surface and and give the painting a raw, brittle look. This texture I applied on foreground and mid distance to have consistency. I generally don’t like palette knife painting but this is a faster method of introducing suggested details than using a fine brush which also tends to produce smooth lines. Its an interesting method to try, but as mentioned previously it should be an integral part of the painting otherwise it might look like a mistake which was scraped off and overlooked in the repainting.

As usual I videoed the painting process so you will see the painting/scraping in action. I will post the video in a few days, so come back and check it out.