Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Landscape Painting: Suffolk

Back in February this year I took a trip to Suffolk to visit family. I was brought up in Suffolk so it’s a landscape I’m very familiar with. During my visit I spent some time walking in the countryside taking photographs to use as future reference and inspiration for painting. I decided I’d better use some of this material before winter comes around again! So in the last few days I’ve been working on a new painting inspired by the winter scenery in Suffolk.

I’ve chosen a square format again for this landscape painting and as usual I’m using acrylics on canvas. As you can see from the pictures above I don’t do much preparation. I’ve never really been one for making lots of sketches and plans – I tend to visualize a scene in my head and then go straight to canvas. All I did for this painting was make a very simple sketch in a small notebook to outline the basic composition. This I referred to while I was working to remind me of the plan in my head.

For the colour scheme I chose a limited palette. I’ve also written down which tubes I’ve used to keep a record for future reference. This winter palette is a mix of smoky blue/greys for the distant trees and the road in the foreground, with a very pale washed-out sky. I’ve also chosen a deep purple/brown to imitate the colours found in neatly cropped hedgerows – a feature so typical of modern Suffolk farmland. In contrast I’ve used a vivid, luminous green to highlight the field. I’m hoping this suggests the early growth of a crop and how electric the colour can seem in the midst of winter. A tiny part of me feels I’ve exaggerated this colour just a smidge – but I quite like that!

Anyway, here’s a photo of the finished painting. My experience of looking at it reminds me instantly of the fields and farmland ‘back home’ – this particular field is just 200 yards from my old house! So I’m pleased with the result. The canvas is quite small so I’m thinking I might continue this theme based on Suffolk landscapes on a larger scale: to give myself more room to express those huge open spaces.


  1. ooo nice close up of the paint. In suffolk are you near the Fens? I used to live near the Fens and the flat expanses out there are just incredible, I used to love going to the Cambridgshire OPen Studios and going out to artists that lived on the edge of the fenland and seeing that vastness in their work, all the amazing colours too. you dont just need large scale, but sweeping!

  2. Thanks Abigail! Used to live right in the middle of East Anglia - which is pretty flat - but yes, have driven through Fens many times and thought, wow, this really is flat!! It's like being out at sea - I always loved it, but I know some people get freaked by all that space! I love big skies...