It's always exciting starting a new painting, and this one's been a long time coming. I did the site visit and sketching work in early Autumn last year! Since then, I've been mainly doing commission work. This is traditionally the time of year that I get to work on new projects which will be new prints, and although I still have quite a commission load (which is great, and thank you so much to the many customers who have ordered commissions from us!) it's time to crack on!
I started this piece on stretched Hi White Saunders Waterford NOT paper as normal. It's a half-sheet size which translates into my popular landscape image size of about 54 x 35 cm. Here you see the first few hours of the effort: I've divided the sheet into 16 squares to allow me to transfer the final layout sketch across to the paper and I've laid out most of the painting's important lines in pencil. After that, I've wetted the paper in the sky areas and floated pigment into those areas. At this point, I needed to start the greens and, since there will be so many of them and I don't want spare pigment drying out overnight, I decided to stop for the day.
Here you can see the way that I work. The paper is stretched across an MDF board; so much cheaper than a commercial art board and lasts for years! I got the guy in the shop to cut a sheet into all the various sizes I want and so got about 7 different boards for about £15/$20. The board is propped at an angle with a strip of polystyrene coving left over from a DIY project. A single strip makes a great angle for painting and a double strip makes a great angle for drawing! This demonstrates my approach to commercial painting: the customer gets the finest products which will last, whilst I get away with the cheapest opportunities available! The pigments are mixed with water in sushi dishes, which make great palettes - note that the pigments are mainly single colours ready to mix together on the paper. I avoid mixing colours in palettes as much as possible as it can dull the colours and in the worst cases become mud!
As many people at art groups will be familiar with, I have two brushes on the go - the blue one is for mixing colours and tones in the palette; I've tried the red colour out on a spare piece of paper at the bottom of the photo. The sky has been completed with my old faithful 3/4" flat brush. I've had it, as far as I can tell, most of my life. Most of the paint's gone from the handle and I'll admit that all the hairs no longer point in the same direction - but I love it. It stops me being too precise in large wash areas and I use it for any large area that I can. As the painting goes on, I'll cover lots of large areas with big brushes and gradually get finer - until the finest and darkest touches will go on with a No 2 round. For now, the possibilities here are endless and I'm looking forward to getting on with it tomorrow!
A professional artist living and working in the beautiful north of Scotland. My work is realistic and quite traditional, though strongly interpretational in nature. My inspiration is the beauty of Nature, and the wonderful colours and moods she shows everywhere.