These mornings are deceptively cold. The warm sky colours of dawn has the landscape glowing. In the woods an icy blue mist sits on the pond.
This week instead of colours and the application of paint I will say a little about the planning and design in this painting. As usual this starts as a general plan which is constantly changing as the painting progresses. The under colours, opposite of the final colours, mark out the general shapes.
From the start the open gate was going to be the entrance into this scene. I was manipulating the sky shapes to subtly lead the eye into the opening. See how many lines of colour point the way through this open gate. Foreground plough ridges and pathway also lead the eye in. In the sky I was also trying to keep warm and cool colours playing against each other without a noticeable divide between them. Neutral grey was used to separate the warms and cools. In the early stages the opening and gate was marked with a heavy blob of paint to remind me where it would be. This is on the ‘one third in from the edge’ position, the recommended centre of interest in landscape painting, but I always try and disguise obvious construction elements. This I will do later.
Of course there is the danger of an unbalanced composition with all this activity on the right hand side. To balance the composition I used strong bright sky colour, just above the horizon, extending to the left. I introduced this colour very early in the painting and continued to add raw yellow and white to intensify the colour. The colour is blurred into the distance to give further ‘weight’ to the left.
Finally the trees were added like weights to balance the left and right hand sides. The tallest and heaviest tree is on the left of the two in the centre. Its a little inside the ‘one third’, from the left, as the other tree is a little inside the ‘one third’ from the right. So the ‘one third’ rule is applied to create a balance but using it twice makes it less obvious.
I have to be careful not to overwork. Sometimes ‘mistakes’ I was about to correct, but didn’t, seem not so noticeable after a few days. Other times ‘mistakes’ add interest. After moving around the scene adding or painting out details, I stop when the overall design and composition seems to be right.
There are 3 colours used (Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson, Prussian Blue) plus black and white. There is no medium used, only White Spirits. The size is 16.5″ x 12″. The painting time was about 2 hours, in a single ‘wet on wet’ session.
Here is the video of the process. To view in realtime change speed setting to .25. Quality can also be set up to 1080HD.