It’s that time of year. With all my pet portraits completed and delivered, it’s a case of ‘winding down’ the pace and getting a little more control over my evenings and weekends. My conservatory art studio is ‘very lucky’ in that it had a clean! The caps replaced back onto their rightful tubes and the unwashed brushes salvaged or disposed off. My last 3 months of reference material filed away and of course, the roundup of receipts for the tax man. But with a passion for painting, the ideas don’t stop. I now have ‘me’ time, so, with a couple of blank primed canvases still left on the shelf, it’s time to paint…. something different?
But what? I put a call out on my facebook page for ideas. Yes, I got a few, so when a suggestion came in, ‘a campervan’, well that got me scanning through my files of the campsites I’d recently visited over the past 4 years of caravaning. I’m sure I’m not the only one, who shortly after setting up their rig (and after a cuppa tea and a biscuit) likes to walk around their plot and look for that first holiday snap or selfie with their pride and joy for the week.
So here’s my very first set-up with a brand spanker from Preston Caravans and Motorhomes. Nestled within an attractive pine plantation, Carsington Water Club Site in Ashbourne is beautifully landscaped, with pitches in open clearings separated by trees. I had took a number of photographs of the site ( yes.. including the obligatory toilet block photo), but there was one in particular that would suit the canvas and frame I currently had available.
The painting itself had a number of new challenges. Firstly, I had invested in another roll of canvas (which I buy in bulk) This is artist cotton canvas, but with a much finer wove. It is a lighter oz, so this enables neater and less bulky folds in the corners. Secondly, my colour palette too would be challenging. As a rule, I don’t like to use greens for most of my paintings. Most dogs I paint are within the tertiary spectrum so exploring the ‘green’ spectrum felt very new and fresh to me. Thirdly, (the biggest challenge) was the leaves and shrub technique.
The initial ‘sepia’ stage wasn’t a problem. I always start from viewing a black and white image and plotting the painting on the canvas. Once dry, I work on the soft background tree colours. Obviously, like many landscapes, the colours weaken and become faint and as your eye draws closer to the horizon, with the foreground colours being much stronger. After experimenting, I found a large filbert acrylic brush worked well in giving a slight curve on application. I simply dabbed the brush on the canvas mimicking the leaves and the direction in which they lay. A few strokes indicating various branches.
Finally, the painting is done! I’m quite happy with the result and all that it needs now is 2 layers of gloss varnish. I hope it’s final destination will be at the Cafe within Preston Caravan and Motorhomes, where I hope it will give plenty of joy to those visiting their showroom (and maybe a commission or too?)