Forest Farm – Oil Painting

Forest Farm

The horse drawn plough is a rare sight on the land these days. This time honoured activity is now considered a sport with competitions to find the best ploughman. The National and occasionally the World Championship Ploughing Competition is held in this area. Those taking part in the Horse Drawn Plough event will need to do a bit of practice with the horses. This is an imaginary scene of the horses heading home after a days hard work.

As my style of painting is ‘rough’ or ‘loose’, painting the horses is a little bit tricky. To keep the consistency of style I have to paint the horses in a way it ‘looks like’ I just stuck them in with the same abandon as I stuck in everything else. There is always a danger of overworking this vital part of the painting. Horses are difficult to paint looking natural. Having them looking like they were painted with a few ‘daubs’ and still looking natural is a bit of a challenge. As in the previous painting, Alla Prima makes it even more difficult. But there is a great sense of achievement when it works and I think it might have worked here (I’ll look at it again in a few days before I’ll know for sure).

The advice given to beginners in painting is to place the focal point, not in the centre, but in a position about one third of the distance in from the edge of the painting. This is good advice. The problem I find with this, is sometimes the scene can look contrived. You know, the same old comfortable arrangement and when a number of such paintings are viewed together, in an exhibition for example, the one third formula becomes noticeable. Producing a ‘lob-sided’ painting is not an option. The scene in such a painting will look unfinished. The viewer, consciously or sub-consciously, will assume a lack of skill on behalf of the artist.

In the above painting the farm buildings follow the rule, one third from the right edge. The horses would have fitted comfortably into the other one third position from the left but I broke the rule and placed them smack bang in the middle. I left a gap in the design on the left side which would be filled once I placed the horses. Only after they were in place was I able to ‘construct’ the trees on the left. The clouds, the trees, the farm, all weighed heavy on the right, and those little trees ‘grew’ until the balance was restored.

The colours were a little different from previous paintings, similar to ‘Morning at the Crossroads‘. They were: Indian Red & Raw Umber (red), Raw Sienna (yellow), Prussian & Cerulean Blue (blue) plus black and white. These colours have a raw look to them, nice for a cold winter’s day.

I will have the video for the next post.