Monday, 21 May 2012

Mor Bheinn from Culcrieff

Mor Bheinn from Culcrieff
A couple of posts back I featured a sketch of the view from our little self catering cottage in Crieff showing the peaks over Loch Earn. This is a close up of those peaks with Mor Bheinn (big hill) in the centre and Ben Vorlich's white peak to the right. I was very taken by the haze which clearly separated background and foreground. I also liked the dusting of snow on Mor Bheinn, how it is in shadow while Ben Vorlich catches the sun and also how the scale of the trees conspire to make those hills look even more formidable.
This painting is experimental on two counts. Although it is painted with Sennelier oil pastels which are classed as drawing tools, I took advantage of their very soft buttery nature by treating the pastel sticks as tubes of paint, adding colours to a glass mixing palette (i.e. drawing splodges of colour onto the palette) and mixing them together with a palette knife. The final mix was also applied to the canvas with aforementioned palette knife. I really like the effect and although I will never give up paint, this does actually have an advantage over oils and acrylics in that the mix on your palette will never dry and you will almost be able to use 100% of the colour on your palette because the knife scrapes up every last bit off the glass, even when there are mere smearings left.

Rule of Thirds
Had I followed the standard rules of composition, the line of foreground trees would be sat higher up so they occupied the bottom third of the canvas; the so called 'rule of thirds.' You may disagree, but I think placing them so low further accentuates the height of the hills as it looks like they're being forced off the page by the humongous beast mountain! Okay maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but it does illustrate my approach to many personal pieces; I like to play about and see what can be learned. Anything worth keeping then gets fed into the commercial skill set. Finally, because the painting has some impasto strokes I took the photo with the main light source coming from the left. This matches the painting's light source and creates shadow from the impasto, giving the impression of more fine texture detail. Click on images to zoom.