Wolfhill – Oil Painting


The last wolf observed and killed in Ireland was in 1786 in County Carlow, which borders Wolfhill in County Laois. This is a wild and rugged area and probably gave good cover for the unfortunate wolves. It is likely the area was named Wolfhill because of the resident wolves in former times. It’s sparsely populated now but during the industrial revolution, coal was mined  here for export to the UK and there was a thriving community of miners living in the area. When the industry first started in the 18th century, miners from England and Wales were settled here to supply the mining expertise. There was even a rail line built, now disused, to accommodate the removal of the coal. The slack heaps from the mines are still to be found and usually there are mine shafts close by. Dangerous places to be rambling about.

The scene is not a particular place but a combination of memories jumbled together to recreate the flavour of the landscape. Most of the landscapes I’ve painted over the last few months are composed this way. Nature is rarely accommodating in producing a scene which is just copied as is. If it was, I would be redundant as a painter and have a load of very interesting photographs to show you.

The colours used in this painting were: Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, French Ultramarine and Cerulean Blues and black and white. French Ultramarine this time to give a winter coldness to the scene. I paid a lot attention to the foreground and tried to suggest as much detail and colour to an otherwise empty area of canvas. When the composition does not have a foreground interest to frame the scene and give it depth you have to create some interest. Not too much to take attention away from the overall scene but enough to lead the viewer into the scene to explore the landscape (watch out for those mine shafts). The underpainting of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna was not completely covered with the later layers of rough grass colour (Cerulean Blue and Yellow Ochre) and in some instances the still wet underpainting mixed with the green to produce even more interesting colours.

I will have a video of the painting process in a few days, so call back and check it out.