Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Studio work in progress

Oil study of boat sheds at Brancaster Staithe

Remember this? I painted this small oil study during my first visit to Brancaster Staithe in October 2013, but that was just the beginning. I was so overwhelmed by the light on the scene that 'excited' doesn't even come close. It was a 'red sails' experience, or love at first sight you could say. As a matter of fact I was working on a gouache painting about fifty yards away which I had to abandon completely and get to work with my oils as quickly as I could.

There is a great immediacy and strength to this small study but I remember that time was short (pub calling no doubt) and I went away feeling I had more to offer the subject.

I've actually been working on a larger studio version on and off for the last couple of months. Why does it take me so long in the studio when I complete a work outdoors in a couple of hours? Good question. In the studio you have the luxury of thinking time, and also you and the painting can take much needed breaks from each other.

So here's how I started - 

I wanted to include more of the foreground grasses in this version, as I felt that compositionally the boat sat a little too low on the original. I also wanted a little more breathing space to the right of the shed, near the big tree. I used raw umber to block in all the dark areas, and rubbed in with a rag to pick out the top rim of the boat and the lighter values of the roof and shed doors.

I started to make the shapes more specific and explored the range of tonal values with the addition of burnt sienna and ultramarine.

By this time I had got some greens down, applied a warm orange to the whole of the sky area and picked out some of the highlights with white and naples yellow. I don't think I knew at this stage how far I still had to go - I might have given up if I did!


Thank you for your words!

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