Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Kicking off the new year

Happy new year to everyone! I got the ball rolling on my birthday (2nd Jan) with a little plein air study over at Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chilterns. It's a great spot and only about half and hour or so by car from where I live. It has one of the highest vantage points in the region with views stretching for miles on a clear day. Anyway, here's the finished study:


'Looking west from Ivinghoe Beacon', 10x12in oil

It was pretty grey and mild over the festive period so I was pleased to get some fresh winter sunshine on the day I headed out. It was VERY cold though and I had to defrost in the car afterwards, despite having several layers on including thermals! The wind was whipping up the path right in front of me and I had to brace the tripod mounted Open Box M between my knees for additional support:



The sun kept coming in and out but it didn't matter too much as I mapped out the lit areas at the start and pretty much stuck to them. I paid close attention to the tones, temperature contrasts and made a conscious effort to avoid the dreaded 'veil of drabness' that could so easily creep in with those muted winter colours. I chose to work on a 12x10 linen board which I don't use that often. You can see patches of unpainted canvas surface in certain places, particularly the grey gravel in the foreground track. I like the idea of varying the surface quality as it helps to create another level of visual interest and energy. I really enjoyed painting this one and am looking forward to a return visit :o)

8 comments:

  1. First, welcome back to posting, it has been a while. Your's and Valerie's are two of the blogs I really look forward to. I like the nice greens and other bright colors you got in this winter painting. You did a great job creating a winter landscape that isn't dreary or moody. How long have you been using this easel, I thought when I first started following your blog you used a french easel. I have got to get back to painting more. I've sculpted a lot, (in plein air at the zoo), but have let my painting slide a bit over the last month or so.
    Looking forward to your next post.
    Doug

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  2. I just love this one David, it fits my "tree with a view" favourite painting subjects. I'm impressed by the way you mastered the warms and cools, I think your colours and values are spot on. I like the way your board is showing through and it makes me want to use the same background colours now. Remember for a swap one day with this one!!!

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  3. Douglas, many thanks and I'm glad you like the colours :) I've been using the Open Box M since the Venice trip in December. I was lucky to find a second hand one for sale in the UK. It's a great bit of kit. I still use my other pochade boxes too and the French easel is dusted off when I need something sturdy and don't need to carry it too far! Plein air sculpting at the zoo sounds great fun....so long as you didn't venture into the lion enclosure :)

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  4. Hey Valerie, thanks :) I thought the subject might be up your street! Yes indeed, those temperature shifts were all important in this one....essentially warmth in the light and cooler darks. The advantage of those linen panels is you can use them as they come without a need to give them a tone. Most of my primed boards are toned with a sort of linen colour anyway. You'd think that linen panels would be pricey but they're actually about the same price as boards mounted with cotton canvas. I'd recommend you give them a try, for sure.

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  5. Happy New Year and Happy belated Birthday.

    Well, I don't think I'd find many suitable days for an open air session - the rain keeps pouring and it's more like spring or autumn than winter. I love your study, to my mind the colours are just perfect, it's just a shame that you had to worry about defrosting and hanging on to everything in the strong wind :)

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  6. Thanks Kristina(?). Actually, the cold meant I had to work quickly which probably helped keep things fresh. Just glad I packed a flask of coffee! I think we're in for a cold snap this weekend but alas, no snow on the cards :(

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  7. like your paining. if i am not wrong ,you are in love.

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  8. Thanks Anon...I suppose I am when it comes to plein air painting :)

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