Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blackford Hill Cumulus/Grass Study

oil on card 28x21cm

Another quickie, done in parallel with the first, again from a photo I took a few years ago. I had gone up Blackford Hill to do watercolour sketches of the big Cumulonimbuses that were sailing by that afternoon. I was in the lee of the hill, but suddenly got hailed on from behind. I turned round, and there was this shining billowing thing looming up on me. I took a quick photo, gathered my kit and legged it.

This small painting is a very near transcription of the photo image, mainly looking at, and trying to describe, the soft luminosity of the cloud. Used Flake White in soft, mobile, walnut oil – I think done in three layers – and this time I’m happy with the surface.

The grass was unexpectedly interesting to do. It’s only about three or four feet away from the eye, and while I didn’t want to make it a token blur, I didn’t want to describe every blade either. I ended up scoring the wet paint (very thinned out walnut oil, laid on a wipe of walnut oil) with a curled-up bit of stiff paper, which gave quite an effective grassy texture - especially in that tricky turf/sky silhouette area. Very likely to use this technique again, I think it would have been quite useful on most recent work.

It’s felt very refreshing to cut loose on these small ‘throwaway’ pieces, and it’s good to return to the Bigger Pieces with more energy. 

Mind you, I have prepared a whole new batch of primed card…

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