This started out as a subject for a Christmas card. Now I think its a little too ‘gritty’. The composition strays too far from the ideal, non challenging one third ‘point of interest’ arrangement. Also the snow is just not ‘right’. As I said in previous posts, Christmas card subjects are difficult to define. I might change my mind about this painting in a few days, at the moment its just plain old nasty winter.
The colours I chose were possibly a little ‘rough’. Indian Red was in there with Burnt Umber to make up the red part of the spectrum. If you want a difficult colour, Indian Red is a contender. Its a strong red in mixes to a point, then at lower concentrations collapses into a dirty grey brown. Prussian Blue is also a strong tinting colour, good for shadows in snow. The yellow was Raw Sienna a golden yellow, which in this painting was dominated by the other colours. So maybe I was expecting too much from this combination.
I’ll post the video of the painting process in a day or two. You will notice I’m still not using any medium. Recent paintings done like this should dry very matt and dull, but this is not the case. Confirming what I think, that recently manufactured paint contains more medium in the tubes than was the case a few years ago. See you soon.
I don’t know, I quite like the ‘grittiness’ of this, Liam, but I know what you mean about its suitability for a Christmas card. Perhaps you could introduce a bit of warmth in the foreground, some sunlight on the snow and the left hand side of the foreground trees? I love the gloom of the grey, snow-laded sky and snow-tipped conifers though – don’t change that!
Although the initial plan was quite clear – create a Christmas card, sometimes the image evolves in a different direction. When this happens I let it happen for the sake of producing an acceptable painting. I find trying to force my will on the painting can be disastrous. I will leave it as it is. I might try something different for a time and come back to the Christmas card theme after the break.
sorry, that should have read ‘snow-laden’!
With Winter as my favorite season – I love this painting. I know what you mean about the one-third composition. But the thing (in my mind) that saves it is the angle of the stream which allows the eye to travel in and around the image without drawing attention to the things you mentioned as concerns.
Thank you. Ultimately I’m interested in producing a painting. It might not be suitable for the intended Christmas card, but I’m more interested in a finished painting that works. I think this is more important.
I think this is quite beautiful. Maybe not for a Christmas card, but I love the moodiness. If it were my painting, I would take out the middle big tree on the left just so my eye could go through to the background more. Also, reduce the size of the white clumps of snow below it. My eye keeping getting “stuck” in this part of the painting. Beautiful sky!
Thank you for the helpful suggestions.
As always, I really enjoyed the video. Just wonderful!
That’s great, I’m delighted you enjoy.
Personally I’m not a big fan of ‘Christmas Card’ images – yours being an exception – but I am attracted to the realistic cold and almost desolate feeling of this painting. It reflects how I experience winter – icy and unyielding “grittiness”…
I agree with you John, that’s why only a few of the intended designs reach the Christmas card stage. I think as we are removed from contact with the landscape some of the deep rooted significance of Christmas is lost. It is a Christian celebration now but I can’t help but wonder why the farming community, who built Newgrange 5,000 years ago, were also celebrating this time of year. The ‘Disneyland’ images just don’t seem appropriate.