I’ve been walking past Thorncroft Farm regularly since I arrive here, 18 months ago. First on my own to discover the area, then to convalesce and finally to walk the dog. There is nothing extraordinary about the scene but I’m always drawn to it. It reminds me of the large sky, blues and oranges of some of Pissarro’s works. (L’Avenue, Sydenham).
The tangle of farm buildings, line of lanky trees with mistletoe and mess of elderberry shrubs in front don’t invite time spent on a painting. But I did sketch the scene and to my surprise I liked the outcome. So, yesterday, I set about producing a more finished version.
As usual I’ve drawn inspiration from other artists such as Zbukvic, Tim Wilmot and Geoff Kersey. Wilmot especially paints scenes I would never think of undertaking and this is one reason I took on this subject. I’ve mentioned in recent posts I needed to work on tree lines, buildings and composition, so these are all part of my thinking in this piece.
Thorncroft Farm, Leatherhead
For me the building is a vast improvement to Bosham, the distant tree line more atmospheric and composition better balanced. The elderberry plants are a real tangle in the foreground but I’ve kept them in as they do identify the location and give perspective.
Following the lumpy picture of Bosham I wanted to see if I could produce lighter, more atmospheric paintings. My daughter and I walked the dog on a very cold, frosty but bright morning on Ranmore Common. The views over the Surrey Hills are stunning and one of my favorite places to draw inspiration from.
The first painting was a really simple subject. Distant hills, a line of trees and some foreground. I decided to add my daughter and Molly to create interest, a story line and scale.
Laura & Molly at Ranmore
This was an improvement on Bosham, but there were still elements I needed to test out and resolve. Such as distant trees and buildings. I moved on to another photo I took on the same walk. This photo ( the composition) was always going to be an odd one but I liked the distant line of trees and the solitary pine tree. The church spire, peeking out from the hillside and the house emerging from the mist were challenging to get right and could look very out of place if dealt unsympathetically. The painting was more about atmosphere and working on my technique.
St Barnabas, Ranmore
Following a wonderful demonstration by Chris Forsey (chrisforsey.com) a couple of weeks ago we were all challenged to paint our own ‘Foresy’ the following week. I really liked the way he used his varnish brushes and bought a 1″ and 2″ from Rosemary & Co, (www.rosemaryandco.com) – a fantastic source of high quality brushes.
Chris uses the 1 inch brush almost continually and I wanted to see if I could replicate some of the washes and marks he made. I especially wanted to try out trees in the distance and water.
I found a photo of Bosham as it provides a lovely variety of boat, buildings, water and trees. I sketched the scene and tried a couple of compositions, finishing with the image below. I started the actual painting during the club challenge and finished it at home.
I’m unhappy with the spire, trees and buildings. They are all too heavy handed. The boat, sky and water are okay but the composition is still not right. More reference work needed to understand how I can improve overall.