Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Oil Painting, Fields of Rape and Wheat, Dereham

Painting from the allotment yesterday, I was admiring the golden fields in the background and decided that I would use them as my subject for today.  I really like fields and sky as subject matter as I have adored such typical Norfolk views for as long as I can remember - as a youngster our house backed on to a farm and I spent many long happy days playing in the fields.  

I spent a couple of hours painting this but I feel it could have been painted much quicker.  It's too neat and overworked for my liking and looks almost identical to the last field painting I did ('Barley Field, Dereham').  Again with this painting I've placed the horizon too high, I think less foreground and more sky would better describe the landscape.  I really struggled painting the clouds and the line of the horizon as it went into the corner of the field.  

Fields of Rape and Wheat, Dereham, oil on canvas 10 x 12"

Monday, 14 July 2014

Oil Painting, Dumpfield Allotments 7 & 8

Today I wanted to have a go at painting the length of an allotment, rather than a feature.  I spent about three and a half hours painting this, which is still too long; I really want to complete paintings within a couple of hours maximum.  I'm finding it hard to keep my time down when the view is so busy so I'll have to work on simplifying.  My canvas had been painted with a wash of yellow ochre before use and I'm unhappy with how this shows along the horizon.  I think I would prefer this painting if more of this colour was visible throughout the painting.

Dumpfield Allotments 7 & 8, oil on canvas board 10 x 12"

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Oil Painting, The Retreat

I was given permission to paint on my neighbour's plot at Dumpfield Allotment Dereham.  He said I could sit on these chairs but I chose to paint them.  This spot is about half way down the plot and at the end there are views overlooking fields, trees and the quiet railway on which steam trains run.  I spent six hours painting this - I'm supposed to be speeding up not slowing down!  

The Retreat, oil on canvas board 10 x 12"

Friday, 4 July 2014

Oil Painting, The Old Signal Box

I'd heard much about this shed on Dumpfield allotments, Dereham, so yesterday I went in search of it.  It's a lovely shed alright!  I was however disappointed with it's surroundings, it looked plonked down in an empty space.  I was told the area in front of the shed is used only as a general parking area so I set up there.  Whilst painting it I was told by many a passer by that it's an old signal box from Dereham railway, it's about sixty years old and it used to have a wood-burning stove inside.  Judging by the growth around the door, I'd say it's been unused for some time.  I ran out of time yesterday and although I wasn't enjoying painting this subject nor the outcome, I felt compelled to return today.

The plot holder turned up today, thankfully he didn't mind me being there.  He seemed keen to get on with gardening and left me to it.  I dislike the composition - I would have preferred to gain more distance from the shed to include more surroundings and place it better.  This was impossible as it would have meant setting up on someone else's plot or the road.  I also dislike the attention to detail which seemed unavoidable with the shed being so prominent.  It all  looks wrong to me, particularly the front of the shed which is where I spent most of my time; my favourite part is the path to the right of the shed where I spent little time.  I get so frustrated making work that I dislike but I must remind myself that each piece is a learning curve.  I must also remember to hang my drinks bottle from my easel from now on - I'd left it on the grass today and when it fell over the ants got to it!

The Old Signal Box, Oil on Canvas Board 10x12"

Oil Painting, Dereham Sunset

Last night, for the first time, I attempted to paint a sunset.  I walked for about two miles in search of  a long distance view but as time was ticking on I had to settle with this one - I really needn't have walked to far, and only managed to get home just before dark!  I really enjoyed painting this but made the mistake of constantly changing the sky as it changed.  I changed the shapes of the clouds and the colour hitting them.  When I started, this colour was a light, bright yellow, which changed to orange and then pink.  In future I think it best if I wait for a formation of clouds I feel are aesthetically appealing then block them in.  I'll leave them alone and finally put in the colour when I'm happy with it.  I've just bought 'Painting Light in Oils' by Peter Wileman, which I'm really looking forward to reading and am sure will help.  

Dereham Sunset, oil on canvas board 10x12"

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Oil Painting, Poppies and Wild Carrot

I returned to yesterdays spot as I wanted to try a different painting approach.  Yesterday I began by laying down thin washes, then built the painting up finishing with the poppies.  Today I started with the poppies, then painted around them.  I tried making my own medium by mixing Artisan Thinners and Artisan Fast Drying Medium.  It was okay for painting impasto as I did today, but I think I'd have to add a lot more thinners if I wanted to paint a large area in a thin wash, as it was too sticky to glide across the surface of the canvas.  I'm not fond of the fast drying medium - it's so sticky and glossy; I'll have to try something else soon.  For now it's all I have so I may as well keep experimenting with it.  I wanted to try using big brushes only in order to avoid too much detail, and managed to paint this using one brush only - Artisan round no.16. I think a different background colour, possibly a darker green or brown would have worked better than the pale umber.  From now on I'm going to experiment by preparing my canvas boards with different colours including green, yellow, brown and purple.  

It was such a lovely experience painting at the allotments today, I felt much more welcomed, as familiar faces waved and Robin (who I mentioned yesterday) gave me a leaflet inviting me to join the Dereham and District Allotment and Gardeners Society.  He informed me that they'll be having a show in August and I may be able to sell paintings there.  I now have details of their blog, so perhaps I should introduce myself! A pheasant which has nested in the plot I've been painting, roamed around me the whole time, coming within a foot's distance - I think she was hoping for food as I was told that someone had visited her with corn this morning.

Poppies and Wild Carrot, Oil on Canvas Board 10x12"