Monday, 20 June 2011

Final few from Cornwall

I think this is possibly one of my favourite pieces from the trip to Sennen. The reason being that it seems to get to the 'essence' of the subject with minimal fuss. I feel as though I really connected with moment and the painting (for me anyway) encapsulates the experience of being there. Much of the foreground sand is actually the colour of the ground I painted on and I like the slightly unfinished effect. I'm hoping to do a larger version of this in the studio with the explicit intention of trying to retain that fleeting effect and not labouring the surface. It will be interesting to see how it pans out as it will no doubt develop a life/presence of it's own. The marks will be different and appropriate to the revised scale. I painted this one alongside Tim King in the afternoon sun and enjoyed every minute of it!

 'High sun at Sennen', 13x10in, oil on board

I also did three acrylics on location where I felt the subject lent itself to a change of medium. There's something about the area around Pendeen and similiar cliffscapes that make me inclined to favour using acrylics on occasions. I find I can build up the rocks and sea with thin glazes worked over with more opaque marks. This seems to give the darker, shadowy areas a bit more life and energy. Up on the cliffs I like to use acrylics on primed mount card attached to an MDF board. I sit on a camping stool and have the board on the grasss in front of me, propped at a slight angle to avoid glare etc. I use Winsor and Newton slow drying gel which is essential in the absence of a 'stay wet' palette which I'm not a fan of. I also add Winsor and Newton flow improver to the water I use to thin the paint for 'glazing'. This ensures the richness of the thinned colour is retained and doesn't go slightly chalky (as I find happens with just plain water). 

'Morning sun, Botallack', 12x16in, acrylic on card

'The Enys from Pendeen cliff ', 16x20in, acrylic on card

 'Looking down at The Enys', 14x18in, acrylic on card

When using the acrylics I tend to work slightlly larger and more vigorously. I still have the same sort of timeframe, around 1.5 hours, before the light has changed too much. As they're bigger, I try to get the essentials down as much as I can but it meant they needed a bit of tidying up and resolving back in the studio afterwards. I didn't want to fiddle too much though as unlike oils, once a mark is down it dries quickly and the underliying location work would be lost. With this in mind, the paintings are resolved to the extent where the gaps are filled in and any oversights corrected as opposed to taking the work in another direction. I'll save that sort of thing for any new versions I might to do from a location piece.

Finally, a couple of small studies done on the more overcast days when I thought it might be worth using some of the colours offered by the wild flowers

'Wild flowers, Cot Valley' - 6x8in, oil on board

'Tree, gorse, bluebells and sea' - 10x8in, oil on board




16 comments:

  1. WOW!!! These are so cool! I love those beach, cliff and coastal scenes-your colour mixing is wickid!! Keep it up mate! I'm loving these!

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  2. Thanks Adebanji. The colours in the water down there are absolutely incredible! You have to see it to believe it. I would've been lost without my tube of viridian....but saying that...I was surprised how much purple there was...and then there's blues reflecting on the surface from the sky...it's mad!

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  3. Nice work, David. I especially like the silvery light at Sennen.

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  4. fabulous :>)

    and I agree about the essentialness of viridian - and pthalo green too.

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  5. Great stuff David. Pendeen is definitely a cracking spot with its beautiful warm colours in the stone and vibrant turquoise in the water. Lovely high sun at sennen too, good luck for the scaling up - remember Ken Howard's advice about using big brushes!

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  6. Loved the Pendeen acrylics - very different marks from your oils and you caught the weather on that day beautifully. Also that bent tree - a real gem from a great find.

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  7. I had not realised quite how wonderful those acrylics were - I just remember you working away feverishly in your gorse-and-grass armchair on very big supports. Very different brush marks and scumble effects from the oils but you captured the scene perfectly. Hurrah for you finding that tree and the bluebells - great subject and very successful result.

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  8. Thanks Tim! I enjoyed working on the acrylics and those views from Pendeen can't fail to inspire. I like to loosen up a bit more with the acrylics and enjoy working with that blend of scumbles and glazes. You did some great work up there...I can still see you now with your camouflage gear and bright red cap....a mere dot on the cliff face!

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  9. I really love the way you capture water. It's very exciting and dramatic.

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  10. Thanks Shelley :) Water has to be one of my favourite subjects to paint, for sure. Amazing light and colours, especially in Cornwall with the sparkling turquoise sea!

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  11. Great paintings capturing really tricky subject matter,David! I love them! I always have that tube of phthalo Green handy for our Devon ocean waters, it's so useful!
    Have you painted out here on the North Devon coast? we have a group of outdoor painters called" The Devon 11".
    I look forward to seeing more of your work!
    Have a great day!

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  12. Thanks Steve! You're lucky having the North Devon Coast nearby. It's an area I've not painted but would like to have a go sometime. I would imagine there are more cliffs than beaches? Tricky subject matter indeed but as you probably know it's really rewarding. Do you have a website for the Devon 11? A few of us have recently got together to form a plein air 'brotherhood' (http://pleinairbrotherhood.co.uk/). Painting in a group is a great experience!

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  13. Thank you ,David! We are lucky to have such stunning scenery close to hand. I have just joined the newsletter for your Plein Air Brotherhood, your website looks really good! I look forward to receiving updates.

    You can see more of " The Devon 11 " at http://thedevon11.blogspot.com/
    or at http://www.stevepp.co.uk/.
    How about weget both groups to hook up for a paint out sometime in the future, that would be fun, wouldn't it?

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  14. Some lovely work here David - what productive time there. (I must get a tube of veridian to see how it works, I don't use any greens at the moment).

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  15. Lord Have Mercy, you're killing me!
    Fantastic compositions and color harmony extraordinaire!

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  16. Thanks Mary....you're too kind :o) Glad you like them. Some are going on show with the 'Plein air Brotherhood' next week in Harpenden (A&K Wilson Gallery, nr London).

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