Saturday, 3 May 2014

into the woods

A recent reorganisation of my studio unearthed two blank canvases purchased last Autumn when I was planning to try out some acrylics on a larger scale than the mini designs I created at last year's Open Studios. So I laid them out on my bench, retrieved the acrylic brush starter set I'd bought at the same time, and printed out some reference photos, which I also uploaded to my digital photo frame:

two blank canvases, new brushes, reference photos
© Teresa Newham
Despite the damp and drizzle on Easter Sunday afternoon, we'd dragged the family out on a walk as far as the little wood and discovered to our joy that it was full of bluebells - blooming earlier than we might have expected, they spread as far as the eye could see.  I had my mobile phone with me and took a few snaps; they don't do justice to the scene because it was breathtakingly indescribable:

real English bluebells . . . .
© Teresa Newham
My cousin thought it might be a piece of ancient woodland; there was what looked like a ditch running round the edge of it, and what might have been the entrance to a badger sett.  When we first came across this wood a few months ago, I'd had a feeling it was special - perhaps I'd picked up on the age of it!  One of the trees had what looked remarkably like a face on the trunk:

. . . . as far as the eye could see!
© Teresa Newham
Although the day had been dull I wanted the paintings to convey my vivid first impressions of the bluebells, so I covered the canvases with an orange wash mixed from Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Red.  I was using what colours I had to hand:  the rest of the palette was Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Green and Titanium White.

initial wash
© Teresa Newham

The next step was to block out some general areas of colour - I didn't necessarily intend to stick to them, but  had to start somewhere!  I haven't painted like this since I dabbled in oils as a child (a very long time ago), so I was feeling my way rather:

blocking out some colours
© Teresa Newham
I put in some trees at the back of the wood, added some blue for the bluebells, and then some more trees, using the same flat brush which had laid down the washes.  My instinct was to keep everything loose, to give a general impression of the scene.

background trees
© Teresa Newham
Once I added the large trees to the foreground, the paintings came together.  I didn't intend them to be a set - they don't match up exactly - but laid side by side they do give a sense of depth to the woodland, which reminds me how I felt when I was there.

the two painting side by side
© Teresa Newham

 Not bad for a first try of acrylics at this size, so now I have to decide whether to exhibit them or not, and if so, where!  If I do show them, there's also the question of how: although I painted the edges, these are not chunky canvases, and would probably look better with some kind of frame.

into the woods I
acrylic on canvas
© Teresa Newham 
The acrylics were a lot of fun to do - I loved the texture I was able to build into the paintings, and working in this medium reminded me how much I enjoyed using oils when I was young.  Although I prefer watercolour for certain subjects, I hope to do more on canvas from time to time!

into the woods II
acrylic on canvas
© Teresa Newham 



4 comments:

  1. I think these look stunning and, as you say, give a real feel of the depth of the wood - a real sea of bluebells and a riot of colour. A brilliant first attempt!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! I'd better do some more then xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely! I found Acrylic takes some getting used to after watercolour. All that paint, LOL. How about bringing one to the craft event on Saturday? It could go on a table easel : -)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I think they'll need a frame before I exhibit them anywhere . . . !

      Delete