Monday, 18 June 2012

Cold Crags

Cold Crags, 40cm x 30cm
While waiting for gesso to dry on what was intended to be the next painting in my Accidental Tourist series, I decided to do a quick small study of something I might not otherwise have chosen. This is what I enjoy about taking up a theme, a collection of related paintings become like a music album where every track contributes to the overall feel with some lesser known pieces acting as support to the better known songs. The reference for this image was just one of hundreds in my bank and there is nothing at all special about it - I took many more spectacular shots on that day but the large dark mass of cliff side warmed by the waning sun caught my eye. I liked the way the dark mass continues in the gorse hedge as it trickles its way diagonally across the canvas towards us. So this painting became less about depicting a landscape and more about the esoteric arrangement of shapes. For such a simple thing there are some quite complex relationships going on. At a base level each quarter of the canvas yields and intriguing detail in its own right. Alternatively, the horizon splits the painting into two equally intriguing segments. Or you might notice the arrangement of flowing curves pretty much converging at a point where the path disappears round a corner. Here you can just see a couple of tiny figures who, together with Anna provide a reference for the scale of the landscape. You may also notice Anna is placed on the line which splits the canvas into thirds while her long shadow supports the hedge diagonal and reveals where the light is coming from as well as the time of day. The distant clouds also counter these diagonals providing symmetrical shapes either side of the horizon. I could go on!

3 figures on path provide scale
Again I used Atelier Interactives, this
time employing a quick and direct dry brush technique. I laid down a Burnt Sienna wash before using a palette of Titanium White, Toning Grey, Prussian Blue, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Orange and Permanent Alizarine. I like this sketch and it demonstrates to me the value of not discarding imperfect reference photos. :)
Click on images to zoom.