Oughaval Wood, just outside Stradbally, Co. Laois, is full of curiosities like the remains of estate walls and there is also a Mass Rock nestling in a wooded dell deep in the woods. Its also a great place for Bluebells. I was there a few weeks ago when these beautiful wild flowers were only beginning to emerge. By now, after this warm dry spell, the woods will be carpeted in Ultramarine blue. I can’t wait to go back for a long walk.
I was interested in having a strong foreground feature to emphasise the distance and the inviting light. The flowers and ferns were just right for this little job. But in keeping with the style of the rest of the painting I could not paint these features as a botanical artist would do, that is with precise details with every leaf and petal rendered accurately. I painted an impression of this clump of foliage with blobs and splashes of colour (click on photo above to see what I mean). In a way its more difficult to do than a precise drawing. I place the shadows as large areas of thin colour and begin to add the highlights, a stroke at a time with my eyes half closed, until a recognisable image begins to emerge. Its very fast to do compared to the tedious task of accurate drawing and I think for some unknown reason looks more real, to me at least.
There are only 4 colours used in the painting, with no medium, only White Spirits. The colours are: Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine. With black and white also of course. I like the greens produced by Cadmium and Ultramarine. The ‘red’ in this blue makes a very natural green. The pure blue and white mix of the flowers are also more connected with the greens because the same blue is used throughout the entire painting.
I will have the video of the painting process in a few days, see you then.