Friday, 21 May 2010

Birch Trees on the Downs

I painted this little landscape sketch a couple of weeks ago. It’s only small: just 5 inches by 5 inches on a deep-edge canvas. I’ve done a couple of these very small canvases recently (see here) and I’ve really enjoyed making them. I suppose I’ve enjoyed it because I haven’t had to worry about filling up the canvas – which sometimes feels like a large white and empty desert! Instead I can focus on a simple idea using a very simple colour scheme without fussing too much over the ‘finish’. They take just an hour or so to paint from beginning to end, and I think they work nicely because of this ‘no frills’ feel they seem to have.

This particular one is based on a quick line sketch I made about ten years ago while out walking on the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon. The sketch is also very simple – just three birch trees against a rolling slope on the downs. At the time it was autumn so the tree trunks were a lovely pure white and the leaves were bright yellow/orange against a rainy, grassy green. I’ve been meaning to do something with this sketch for a while, and finally a week or so ago I made this colour ‘doodle’.

The paints I used were very sparse: Hooker’s Green, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Umber, Titanium White and just a tiny blob of Leaf Green to add a touch of zing to the grass. I quite like the result; which is sort of chunky and loose somehow. I may come back to it and do a more ‘finished’ piece someday – or I may not! In the meantime this little canvas is hanging up in my studio and feels nice and cool and soothing; especially now my studio is getting so hot in the sun!