|The painting on the easel a few minutes before I left|
I am happy to tell you we still have snow and I'm finding time to get out amongst it and paint as often as I can. I've had eight painting trips in the last eight days so I have a few things to show you when I get around to taking photos of them! Everything else in my house and work is going a bit to pot but I just want to get as much out of it as I can while it's here :-)
This is today's! I had an unscheduled trip to Sleaford and not a lot of time to spare before an appointment (an hour and a half in all) so of course I headed to the allotments. What a heavenly scene! When I arrived, the sun was bright in the sky casting cool crisp shadows around. I didn't know where to look at first but then this scene really grabbed me. I loved the contrast between the sunlit snow on the shed roofs and the dark of the buildings behind. My secondary motivation was the cool blue shadows on the snow cast by the fence and sheds in contrast with the large clean bright area of snow.
I couldn't wait to get started and knew I would have to be quick, and I would have to be bold...
No time for drawing with the brush, I started straight away to mass in the dark shapes of the sheds.
The sun was in my eyes when I was taking these photos and I wasn't sure if they would work or not but luckily they did!
The darks of the red brick terraced houses were the next to go in. I didn't have time to be careful about chimney pots or anything, just blocked it all in with a big brush, trying to leave shapes for windows.
The next most important thing about my subject was the shadows on the snow so I started to block those in quickly, and the snow on the roofs behind. I knew I would have to get this snow dark enough or the whole idea would fall flat. This painting is all about the contrast.
Although it looks here as though my board was white to start with, it was actually undercoated with a light-mid warm grey.
I do confess though, at this stage I did panic a little - was that snow too blue? too dark? Were the houses too red? (Was it all a bit ghastly?!)
I knew all would be revealed as I continued to cover areas of the board with colour, and consoled myself that I could mute all these colours down later if need be.
Time to bring some more definition into the dark areas. I don't know what those black shapes are hidden in the snow but I thought they looked great with their snow blankets.
By now the sun had gone behind thick cloud. Good job I had all those shadows in place.
The joy I felt at this stage! I started to apply the brightest snow and it was as if somebody had switched on a light! It was then that I knew all those dark tones had paid off, this was exactly the effect I was after.
I didn't use pure white, but enhanced it with a little lemon yellow for brightness, particularly on the surfaces nearer the sun. Much of the white in the foreground had a touch of magenta added.
I only spent an hour and a half here including setting up and packing away. I'm pleased that I managed to say what I wanted to say about my subject today. All this snow is getting me so excited!