Sometimes it is a good idea to take a completely different approach to a painting. I normally start by painting the sky, background hills and trees and then painting the focal point, finishing with the foreground. There are practical reasons for this, as it is easy to smudge a focal point that you are pleased with when painting the area above it.
However, in the case of the painting illustrated here, a cottage in the Preseli hills, Pembrokshire, I began with the focal point, then painted the sky and trees ending with the foreground. The surface I am using is Fisher 400 art paper which has been tinted with a purple ink wash. This gave me a dark background and allowed me to leave some of the surface unpainted giving a unity to the work.
By adopting this order of working I found myself working in a much looser way, for example adding the light between the branches of the trees instead of the other way around, and painting the trees around the buildings rather than painting the building over the trees.
So experiment with your approach to a painting and see what happens.
I will be running a Pastel Workshop in the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough on 4th August, 2016. If you are interested in enrolling please contact Edwina Pearce on 01672 512071.at the White Horse Bookshop in Marlborough.
Learning how to create atmosphere and recession in a landscape painting is an essential skill for a landscape artist. Artists will have their own techniques to achieve this effect but in my new DVD Pastel Demonstration Lingcove Bridge, I explain my methods. I like to give a painting a sense of space and a strong feeling of atmosphere.
My favourite techniques for creating recession are through the use of colour, tone and detail. Cooler, paler colours in the distance: warmer, darker colours as you progress towards the foreground. Less detail in the background and more in the foreground, especially around the focal point. The relative sizes of objects in the landscape is also a consideration. Trees in the distance, even if they are larger than foreground trees, need to be depicted as smaller. As Father Ted says, “this cow is small but those are far away”
Atmosphere is something that becomes easier to understand if you sketch outdoors, in front of your subject. There is nothing like getting out in the countryside to give authenticity to your landscape paintings.
These are not new ideas, the old masters excelled at giving a sense of depth through these methods. You almost certainly have heard these tips before, but it can’t be said too often.
The new DVD is 1 hour 23 minutes long and is filmed in close detail so you can see every mark I make, with a running commentary about my thought process. There is an excerpt on You Tube
Cottage at Lynmouth, (Photo)
I know David has already blogged about this gorgeous old cottage in Lynmouth that we both sketched on our recent course for Alpha Painting Holidays but I cannot resist also featuring it in this, my first blog for some time. Circumstances have prevented me finding time to blog lately but it is time to rectify that.
Lynmouth (watercolour sketch)
Cottage at Lynmouth, Pastel by Jenny Keal
Those of you who know me are aware that old buildings in the landscape are my favourite subject and our recent trip to Exmoor gave me the perfect opportunity to seek out some of the best examples in the UK. This old cottage, perched high on the hill above Lynmouth harbour, seemed to almost grow out of the hillside giving it a timeless feeling.
The watercolour sketch I did included a number of the other cottages which descended the hill towards the harbour but for the final painting, which was done as a demonstration for the painting course, I decided to leave out the majority of the buildings and to focus on the one that interested me the most. The direction of the light in the photograph was confused by shadows cast by the trees so I decided to simplify things. The background and foreground were suggested with colour rather than detail.
I will be demonstrating a building in the landscape in pastel at the Sandpiper Studio on the Wirral on Friday 20th June, 2pm – 4.30pm, (scroll half way down the page for this event details) tickets are still available at £13 per head including refreshments from Julie McLean, booking details are here.
My entry for the Cox & Kings competition is finished.The final stage of any painting is a dangerous time. The temptation to put in every detail is great but it must be resisted. In the photograph which I posted on 28th October, (you can see this if you scroll back through my blog) there were a lot of trees and bushes so these have to be simplified. Also the hillsides were dotted with scrubby bushes but to include all of those would be spotty and distracting.
There was no obvious pathway leading the eye into the painting so I created one that led towards my focal point, the building. I had moved the building closer to the wadi so that it fell in a more pleasing location, directly below the main peak of the mountain and within the Golden Section. The strongest tonal contrast is on the building and I have added a figure, a Berber woman in bright clothing which I had found in my 1993 Morocco sketchbook.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this exercise and I want to thank Katie Parsons of Cox and Kings for inviting me to take part. It was the incentive I needed to get painting again after a long absence. I wish my fellow competitors good luck.
I have made further progress on my painting for the Cox & Kings Morocco competition: The middle distance in a landscape painting is often a tricky area to tackle. It’s important to keep in mind the relative size of features compared to the foreground such as trees and bushes; the colour temperature must be carefully controlled; and we must resist the temptation to render too much detail to features that are distant.
Stage 4 – middle distance
In the photograph there were very strong, sharply defined cloud shadows on the hills on the right and initially I painted these in as they were in the photograph but I quickly realised that they were drawing the eye too much and would compete with my focal point so I softened them considerably. The hills on the left were lighter in tone with less tonal contrast so there was no need to soften them too much.
The next stage will be the focal point, the building, and the foreground. See you in a few days.