Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Close to Home

After suffering the poor light and howling gale on Sunday, I arose this morning to look out of the window and see the sun. With nothing else to do today I decided that painting was the thing to do. The problem of today became apparent when I opened the door. Light there might be but the wind was even stronger than on Sunday.

The thought struck me that I had heard someone say that seeking subjects was not necessary and that painting whatever was in front of you could produce pleasant surprises. It just so happened that the front of our house provided some shelter from the wind and the light was producing shadows, so I set up just outside my front door and got down to it.

As reported last time I was making my first plein air expedition so I am still trying to get into shape. It's amazing how a bit of light makes you feel and today's effort was a positive step in the direction of making a decent plein air piece. Not there yet but heading in the right direction.   

Set Up - photograph

Hunter Terrace - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

Sunday, 14 April 2013

First Plein Air of the Year

The weather in this part of the world has been so bad for so long that heading out to paint plein air has not held its usual attraction. Today I met a couple of painter friends and headed out to a local landmark, Penshaw Monument. For those of you with a little knowledge of North East folk lore, it is the place that the Lambton Worm wrapped its tail around, immortalised in the eponymous song. 

Speaking of the weather, the day was grey with flat light and a howling gale to cope with so the initial outing wasn't the comfortable day it might have been. Enough of the excuses, it was fun to be out again and though the result is disappointing I'm looking forward to the next day out.

Penshaw Monument - Oil on canvas board 12" x 10"

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Lindisfarne - March Challenge

This month it was my turn to present a picture as the basis for the monthly project I share with Peter Ward, (watercolourfanatic.blogspot.com).

I chose the picture below because it presents a number of problems for the painter. First of all the light conditions are flat and the value range quite compressed other than for the featureless sky. So the first choice was whether to stick with the picture as presented or attempt to inject some life by trying to fabricate a feeling of a stronger light source. This is what I chose to do and then discovered the difficulties of doing so when having to ask what the light would do to the scene in each of the passages.  I ended up introducing more glazes than I would have liked to deal with the problem. I'll leave you to decide how successful I've been.

Composition then became an issue and I decided to use the portrait format to emphasise the height of the castle and get rid of much of the extraneous furniture.  

Lindisfarne Castle - source photograph


Lindisfarne Castle - Watercolour on rough paper 16" x 12"