Saturday, March 27, 2010


Here finally is the completed painting. After finishing the chains, I mostly worked on the background adding in wood grain and the rough saw cut marks to the boards. A few selective washes went on here and there along with nail heads at the bottom of the boards. I darkened the chain's shadow then added a few slightly cooler washes to the main post and support. These were then finished with more wood grain and saw marks. Some time was spent carefully detailing the right side of the post where it had received some damage and I finished off with a few smaller details mostly around the chains. Since this photo has been taken, I've darkened the lighter chains slightly with washes of Burnt Sienna along with the hook at the top. I may do a little more to it but for now, I'm happy with how it has turned out especially after struggling with the work as I did. The finished painting is subtly changed from the study, the proportions are slightly different and I kept the background slightly warmer in tone than the post. Conversely the shadows of the background are cooler while those at the top of the post and the hook are slightly warmer. I like the way the smaller hooks hang against the dark at the bottom echoing the hook at the top. These smaller features were carefully worked out in advance along with the rest of the composition and the results are quite pleasing to me. 'Chains' is 22" X 15".

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


As mentioned , the painting was coming along fine until I seemed to hit a roadblock. The main problem was that I simply didn't know what part of the painting to work on next. Usually I finish most of the washes before getting to the details but that approach just wasn't working here. I did darken the lower section and add another lighter wash over the shadowed areas but then I was at a loss as to what next to do. Dispirited I fiddled with it here and there and before I knew it, a week had gone by! Not that I was working on the painting all that time, but the work seemed not much further along than the last time I blogged about it. About the only thing I could think of doing in the meantime was to start work on the chains themselves. That was hard work! There were so many links, shadows and textures to work on - all of which had to make sense. Slowly I figured out what went where and as I did my mood started to change. Finally I could begin to see the way through and was ready to finish this one off. I reckoned the final washes and smaller details would come a lot easier now that I was over the hump.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Earlier I mentioned some of the problems that I was having with the painting as I went along but after cooling down the background washes with some Windsor Blue, I felt a little happier and was ready to get to some of the more definitive washes. These would indicate the more abstract areas of the painting - mainly the strong shadow patterns that were cast against the background and the upper section of the post. The hanging hook was also partly in shadow too and all this was done with more Sepia slightly warmed with Burnt Umber. I started work on the hook itself being careful not to get too dark as I wanted this part of the painting to really show bright reflected light even though the surface patina of the metal was rather rough and slightly rusted. So far it was coming along mostly as I expected - little did I know how much trouble would come next!

Friday, March 19, 2010


The darker wash of Burnt Umber and Sepia went onto the bottom first. I did this as a way of indicating my darkest darks first so as to better be able to judge other relevant tones against this. I'll still go darker in this area but was happy with the tone to start with. I had to carefully paint around the lower hooks and portions of chains as I didn't want to use any masking fluid. The background boards had a few washes of Burnt Umber applied and came out surprisingly reddish - more like Burnt Sienna than Umber! I checked the tube and yes- it did read Burnt Umber. I suspect like some of the other colors in the Windsor and Newton range, these have been modified slightly. This 'new' color was definitely not the same as the tube I had just finished. Somewhat frustrating when you are used to a certain color being what it is then someone goes and changes it. Still I'll simply lay some weak washes of blue over this which should bring it back to what I wanted in the first place. I lightly indicated the greyish tones on the main post and set it aside to dry.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Here is the start of the new painting. I took some time at the site to carefully draw the chains and the shadows just as I saw them making a few mental notes as I went along. The background boards I didn't worry so much about as the shape of the paper was going to dictate how I drew them. At this point I was going to refer less to what I saw at the scene and more to what I wanted for the painting. I moved the upper hook a little further to the left away from the main post as I felt it was a little too close in the study (another great reason for doing smaller studies before working on larger paintings). After deciding where the lower edge of the boards in the background were to be, they were drawn in and I carefully placed the line of shadows above trying to get the balance right. In the studio, I stretched the paper then washed over a thin layer of Raw Sienna and let it dry overnight. Next getting serious - laying in the first of the background washes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This small study was done in my sketchbook in response to an image I saw at the farm that I mentioned a little while ago on my blog. In most of my paintings, I don't set things up preferring to paint things mostly as I see them. It is often harder this way but actually makes me look a little harder at what is around me trying to see interesting patterns and shapes etc. Such was the case here with these old chains draped over a fork of one of the main posts supporting the larger shed. Of course it was the sunlight that brought the scene to life along with the shadow lines against the inner wall behind the post. A strange hook hung from the rafters and this was the only thing that I moved slightly for a better composition. I enjoyed the slightly abstract feel to the scene and was the underlying impetus for the work. Next, on to the full-size painting and I have photographed this one in stages to show how I went about creating the finished painting. They will be posted next.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I visited Maine a few years ago and it is about time I went again. The landscape there absolutely thrilled me and I did quite a few paintings while I was there and also later after returning to my studio. I feel though that I didn't really see enough of the place to fully understand it so hopefully the return trip will be for a longer period. Weather was changeable (typical I'm told) which was just what I wanted so as to experience many different moods of the place. Misty Cove above is a typical morning when the fog is just starting to clear. I intended to have the sky a little more greyer but I warmed it up a bit with the band of yellow seen just above the horizon. This gave the sky a little more life than what I wanted as I had intended to add a Bald Eagle in the sky (one of only 3 raptors seen on the trip). Doing so though I felt would distract from the overall feel of the work so I'll use that idea for my next misty Maine painting. The foreground took longer than expected what with all the seaweed, rocks and pebbles on the beach. Still, it was very enjoyable painting experience and brought back many fond memories. Thanks to Pam for help with this one. Misty Cove is an oil, 9"X12".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


After living with Barn Window for some time, I decided that perhaps it needed just a little more work. When I started work on the studies for this painting last year, it was around 11:00am and the diffuse light coming through the dusty window panes initally attracted me to the scene. Although it was sunny outside, a slight overhang on the exterior of the barn wall shaded the window from direct sun (except early in the morning). The overhang could be just seen along the top but was somewhat indistinct due to the years of dust built up on the window. I had intended to include this into my painting from the start but then later thought that the painting looked fine as it was. Well as you can see, I did add the overhang using just a little pigment and kept things soft as I remember it being. I do think it adds a little more dimension to the work and now I'm finally finished with it (I hope). The image here has been intentionally lightened a bit as Blogspot always seems to darken the images somewhat when I upload them so I hope now it is a little closer to the original.