Picking up from where I left off

I said in First the feast then the famine that it wouldn’t be the last you saw of this view – but I didn’t expect to be showing it to you again quite so soon! Just as a refresher, below are my previous versions of this view – the top two done on location, the lower two done back at home:

Whilst each of them had their own individual aspects of merit, I was frustrated that I’d not been able to achieve a rendition of this view that I was happy with. So with little more than perseverance in my sails – I set off on yet another attempt.

At the forefront of my mind was to keep the colours clean, to try to introduce a greater sense of depth and distance to the image, and to try to give the castle the appropriate level of focus; not too much, not too little. The castle is an important element but it’s not the main focal point. The star of the show should be the river and the reed banks that lead into the image. I was also keen to capture more successfully the tops of the reed beds in the left hand foreground.

The distant hills now seem a little more distant, and the furthermost trees now look further away than those in the middle distance and in the foreground – so there’s a much greater use of tone and variance in colour that contributes to the overall sense of depth. The reeds and their reflections also feel believable and, finally, the castle sits better within the landscape. I managed to resist the temptation to go back in a fiddle with with this once I’d mapped out the initial indication of the structure.

Bend in the River Arun
This is painted on a half imperial sheet of Bockingford Extra Rough – so I had plenty of space to apply the paint liberally and energetically! I’m also still enjoying using the enamaled Holbein 1000 palette as opposed to my plastic cloverleaf paintbox. Even if it is purely psychological, my colour mixes are definitely purer than I’d previously been achieving.

I feel quite satisfied with this painting. I know it’s nothing earth shattering but I think it all hangs together sufficiently well for me to draw a line under this subject (is that a collective sigh of relief I hear!?)

I should perhaps forewarn everyone that a friend has already been touch to say that this view is an old haunt of theirs – ie The Black Rabbit pub, and that they’d be keen to pay it a visit for old time’s sake. They’d also like to paint there when they’re next visiting in the autumn – so this view may yet make another, albeit autumnal appearance. In the meantime, I look forward to something completely different.


Thoughts on Picking up from where I left off

7 thoughts on “Picking up from where I left off”

  1. Nicely done, so much to appreciate in your painting, I really like how you handled the reflection of the reeds (especially the top edge) and the entire reed section is wonderful…..a great lead-in to the castle. It does pay to return to a subject to paint over and over.

    1. Thanks so much Margaret – I must confess that I felt a bit like a dog with a nine with this one – I just couldn’t leave it alone until I’d done something that I was more pleased with. Looking forward to moving on to something else now!

    1. Thanks so much for this – much appreciated. Will be glad to move on to something else now that I can put this one behind me (for a while at least!)

  2. Persistence certainly paid off! Kudos for your returning to this piece until you achieved satisfaction. I find, strangely, that my second and third attempts are most often worse than the first. This is inexplicable to me, but I love watching the progression of your paintings to this final, outstanding version. Congratulations!

    1. Thanks Frank – all much appreciated. Like you, I often find that persistence is no guarantee of a successful outcome. I usually have to fight my second and third attempts becoming overworked and losing any spontaneity and energy of the original. Of course it would be nice to imagine the day when one attempt is all it takes! Thanks for taking the time to comment Frank – much appreciated.

I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about this

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