Monday, October 22, 2012

Sometimes you have to go for it

Working from a photograph on a chilly day I tackled a shaded hillside in northern Victoria, Australia. Mostly I was trying to catch the shade under the trees, the atmospherics of the distant hills, and to give some sense of the steep perspective as the hill falls away at the viewers feet.

At this stage, I was fairly happy but I knew that I needed to make a few adjustments. The next hill over was too brown and warm for the rest of the painting (especially in this photo). I didn't feel the shadows under the trees were strong enough. And I knew that I had chickened-out instead of including the scattered flock of sheep in the reference photograph.

So after strengthening the shadows I did a bit of research looking at how other painters have tried to show distant sheep with just a few strokes, then held my breath and went for it.

I'm still not thrilled with the brown hill... but the sheep seem to "work". They're small.... but they're sheep! 

This is 9" x 12" on Arches 140 lb cold press, entirely painted with an Isabey 2/0 Squirrel Quill Mop brush, except for the sheep which needed something smaller and stiff. A teeny bit of gouche for the sheep whites. This second photograph is more true to the actual color.

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