Well, this was a fun and interesting piece to paint! I took the photo
during a trip to Yorkshire a couple of years back - as we were driving
past a little farm half-hidden by trees, I noticed a chicken crossing
the bridge over the river. It struck me as a great image, and I promised
myself I'd try to paint it one day. But it scared me for a long time
because it's quite a complex composition, and I wasn't sure how to
handle the building in the background. All those windows! Scary... Then I
had a brainwave.
I said in a previous painting I'd found a new trick for windows; here
it is in action! I've found it's easier to paint the window-area with a
dark colour, and then scrape out the lighter lines with a colour
shaper. It took a few tries to get right, as I learned to handle the new
tools, but I had a lot of fun with them! They were also useful for
adding texture to the brick walls, and the highlights on the chicken.
Will I ever get tired of painting these skies? I think not! In this
one, I particularly tried to focus on the shadows - both those on the
undersides of the clouds, and the shadows the clouds cast on the
landscape below them.
So, this unquestionably turned out a bit cheesy, which isn't really
my thing. I prefer landscapes that you can project your own mood onto.
But I guess flipping through all those old photos made me a little
nostalgic! I questioned myself the whole way through about whether to
paint out or leave the figure. I left it, deciding I was happy with how
it was painted. Even without it, the painting has a similar mood - that
'memory of a happy summer holiday' feeling. I think the colour palette
is what does it! I might try another version sometime that's a bit more
I'm happy with this painting - but I definitely surprised myself with
how it turned out, because as I say, it's not the kind of image I'd
usually seek to create. Still, I hope it strikes a chord with people!
While flipping through old family photos, I came across a fantastic
one of light hitting the waves as the sun set. I've always wanted to try
capturing that 'sparkle' of light on water, and this was the perfect
opportunity. I upped the contrast slightly from the original photo, to
create a more dramatic and atmospheric composition, and enhanced the
purple, which I hoped would complement the golden sunlight.
The wave in the foreground was probably the hardest part, getting all
those little strokes to pull together convincingly. But I'm really
happy with the result, and I hope you enjoy it too!
As the weather gets warmer, I always feel more like painting
seascapes. However, living in a landlocked county, there's no
conveniently-close beach for plein air work. So I dig in my archive of
photos for ones I haven't used yet...
This was painted from a photo I took quite a few years ago during a
family holiday to Cornwall. I really like how the seaweed on the beach
Another I forgot to upload; this is painted from a photo I took at
Whitechapel Market on an unusually hot April day. The market was
bustling, full of colourful stalls; most seemed to be selling fruit and
veg, or scarves. I've said before I love painting markets, and this was
no exception. I was happy to catch this pair mid-transaction, a bit of
human interaction makes for an interesting challenge. Though I must have
re-painted that white shirt a dozen times!
It was a very challenging scene to paint generally, because of the sheer amount of stuff that's
everywhere; stacks of boxes, the striped canopy folding and catching
the light, the hanging blue bags... And the fact you can see through the
back of the stall to the other side of the street! I hope I managed to
create a cohesive painting out of it all.