Rain is Coming: oil 12×9″

“Rain Is Coming”: oils on board 12×9 inches

Just managed to get this one dry in time to be photographed and up online before I get into busier schedules; next post will be during the second week in July.

Opportunities to make paintings of skies are taken as often as I can. The more contrast, the better. It does of course mean having to include some land or seascape as support, but I prefer this balance. The downside is waiting for suitable skies to present themselves, so I have to be ready with a small camera plus drawing-pad. I no longer have the luxury of painting precisely when I wish, or setting up outdoors when conditions are at their best.

This scene is fairly close to home. On one particular stormy day I was actually free to get outside and get on with gathering material for future paintings; the rain ended the session within half an hour but it was enough. The painting is on gessoed mdf board; and was started with a tonal underpainting using acrylics (ultramarine plus burnt sienna plus white). The landscape is very simple, being a hilltop with a row of fir trees.

Once the acrylic was dry, I was able to set straight in to the darkest strip (the trees), followed by a warm blue sky colour, using oils. The field was in a fair degree of shade (sunlight blocked by approaching cloud) and its colour was kept muted, a juggling process with thalo blue, cadmium yellow light and cadmium red. The cloud banks were built up first with mixture of cad red plus ultramarine, adjusted with white, and other areas made with similar mixes and inclusion of cadmium orange in a few parts. The brightest lit parts placed in with white plus a hint of orange or pale ochre.

The original thalo blue sky was modified with some orange, leaving a smaller area as bright blue. Finally the trees were completed with thalo blue plus burnt sienna, creating spiky edges with the side of a small brush. A few dabs for yellow dandelions in the field, and I called a halt.

Cumulus clouds lend themselves well to oil painting; I collect drawings and photos of them when I can. There will be more to come. Clouds are my theme for June at the main website; that will be online till around the 29th or 30th.

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