The Possibilities of May – Oil Painting


The Possibilities of May

Between storms the sun’s heat is driving the midges and Mayflies into a frenzy. The natural world is, at last, waking up to the possibilities of May. I was thinking of how I would manage a painting with swarming insects to suggest this intense explosion of life. I tried to find a painting with swarming insects to see how other artists would approach this subject. I couldn’t find any. Plenty of drawings and painting of individual insects, but none as an element in a landscape. I took a photograph of one such buzzing swarm. To represent this image in a painting as it appears in the photograph would amount to a splatter of dots. Very acceptable in a photograph, but looking like a mould growth on a painting.

Swarming Insects

Swarming Insects

I haven’t given up on painting this subject yet. It means working out a setting and context to portray this overlooked natural process.

With this ‘coming to life’ in mind I created this painting. No insects, just the possibility of a swarm, and the beginning of the cycle of life and death. I felt that sombre contrasting colour and an obvious repeating pattern of verticals would create an ‘edgy’ mood of expectation.

Again I used only 3 colours. Windsor Lemon, Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine Blue. I’m still using Alkyd fast drying oil paints and like the speed at which I can overpaint without a ‘greasy’ build-up of paint.

I will post the video of the painting process in a few days. See you then.


14 thoughts on “The Possibilities of May – Oil Painting

  1. Wow, lot of insects (photo)!

    You’re painting is terrific! It has worked out so well. I like it all and especially the soft blue misty background and the reflections. Oh, and I do like the repeating verticals also (we get screens of trees like that in certain locations (near water!) down here in Australia.

    Well done! Am envious of your skills 🙂

  2. I like the video time lapse also, but I liked reading your inspiration for this painting.
    The way you created depth in the trees might work well with the insect swarm, and create a foreground of a few insects to give context to the swarm behind, even if it was a cloud of dots. But how would you make a swarm of insects appealing? Maybe a fly-fishing setting with a similar hand tied insect on the line?

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