Willows, Quy Fen, Cambridge

Oil 7"x11"

I’ve been so busy the last few days I haven’t got out for my usual walk. Yesterday afternoon, though, it felt for the first time like Spring maybe, possibly, just-about-if-we-don’t-draw-attention-to-it, had sprung. The light breeze was actually warm – and that’s saying something in these flat fens.  It was clear and bright, and since we have not yet moved to British Summer Time, at 4pm in the afternoon, the shadows are long. And without leaves on the trees, this slanting light illuminates tree trunks in a way that is unique to this season. I love it – it is my favourite part of the year, but will only last two or three weeks.

Quy Fen is on our doorstep, but I have never explored it. At times when I look at the art blogs of the myriad artists who seem to live in Austin Texas, I am tempted to envy their dramatic scenery. But, hey, they haven’t got flat fens with willows, and amazing skies, and ditches and ponds with rushes . So I must be grateful, and get under the skin of what we have here.

I left my pochade box in the pickup while I walked, so when I got back to it I got straight to work on this subject using a photo on my mobile phone, and of course I was in the same light as the trees I was painting.

This is the photo on my phone I was working from. I blocked in the main composition concentrating on values and shape, only using Payne’s grey, Titanium White, Raw Sienna, Ultramarine and a little Cad Yellow medium. For medium I just used Liquin Light Gel from the bottle. Tomorrow I will post the finished sketch.


~ by noelgarner on March 17, 2010.

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