Assignment 4

The brief:

Review all your landscape paintings and preparatory sketches and assess which have been the most engaging exercises. Which landscapes have the most appeal for you?

Consider why certain paintings are more successful than others and which approaches and styles have worked best for you.

Think about how you can consolidate your experiments by working on a large landscape painting (around 90 cm x 60 cm or larger) using a location and viewpoint of your choice.

You could work on this landscape outdoors in situ and complete it indoors or build a painting from previous studies using supplementary reference material such as sketches, colour notes and photographs.

Make a detailed assessment of your finished painting in your learning log. Consider what elements had a special appeal to you in your chosen landscape subject. Have you found techniques that suited your subject matter and ideas?

Review your experiences and make careful notes of future plans. Consider the influence of landscape painters that you admire and explain how their work may have influenced your own.

The review:

Of the nine exercises in this assignment, the landscapes that have engaged me most and appeal to me more than others are:

Exercise 1 “View from a window or doorway”

I think that my sketches for this exercise showed a varied use of subject and water soluble oil pastels as a sketching medium: from a west coast late evening view; a city building scape; studio doorway view; to two northern coastal views.

I chose to paint one of the coastal views as a test of my use of perspective, colour and brush:

Part 4 - exercise 1 'view from a window' - finished painting, oil on canvas board (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 1 ‘view from a window’ – finished painting, oil on canvas board (click image to enlarge)

Another of my sketches for this exercises was used in my painting for Exercise 2 “Hard & soft landscape”, but I think I kind of overdid the detail in this one:

Part 4 -exercise 2 - 'Keiss Castle' - a hard landscape, finished study (click on image to enlarge)

Part 4 -exercise 2 – ‘Keiss Castle’ – a hard landscape, finished study (click on image to enlarge)

Exercise 4 “Aerial perspective”

The original sketch for this landscape and the final painting just seemed to flow naturally for me – a bit freer with both the sketching and the painting using soft oil pastels:

Part 4 - exercise 4 "Aerial perspective" - finished study (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 4 “Aerial perspective” – finished study (click image to enlarge)

I love the ‘red gate’ and the passing place poles on this single track road – and, oh yes the sky – I just didn’t really do the reality of it all justice, but I tried.

Exercise 6 “Painting a landscape outside”

I really enjoyed my experience painting outside underneath the Kessok bridge in Inverness and although the final study is a bit tight and ‘engineered’ it still works for me as a good representation of the scene and the feelings/emotions of the day:

Part 4 - exercise 6 "Painting a landscape outside" - finished study "Kessok bridge and ICT" (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 6 “Painting a landscape outside” – finished study “Kessok bridge and ICT” (click image to enlarge)

Exercises 7 & 8 were to me quite similar technical and tight paintings – lots of lines and too much detail, and although I think they were executed reasonably, I am finding that it is not really my preferred style of painting.

Exercise 9 “Working from a photograph”

In this exercise, I moved on from washes to more distinct brush work, using more paint and I think it shows a freer application that is appropriate to the composition:

Part 4 - exercise 9 "Working from a photograph" - finished study (click image to enlarge)

Part 4 – exercise 9 “Working from a photograph” – finished study (click image to enlarge)

Influences:

From my research during Part 4 I have discovered many examples of painter’s work that I admire for their technical skills, use of colour and inventiveness, but mainly I am drawn to those painters and their works that demonstrate a freer, dynamic and expressive mark making on the canvas that describes the natural world in all its beauty and excitement. For this reason I would say that my main influences this far are painters of landscape such as: Constable (liveliness); Turner (brush work); Van Gogh (exuberance); Burra (abstractness); Hawkins and Howard (place, visual energy and luminosity); Jackson (vibrancy); Hockney (simplification); Thomson (bold mark making); Benson & Eardley (looseness); Nash (symbolic synthesis); Nolde (expressive/atmospheric); Moreau (fantastical).

What to make of all this – only time will tell!

The process:

For this assignment I chose to walk through the Glenurquhart Forest across from our home in Balnain to see what sort of landscape compositions I might come across. I cam across a group of Highland cattle at feed in the woods and was able to remain a bit away from them on the path and make three sketches:

Assignment 4 - sketch 1 (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – sketch 1 (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 - sketch 2 (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – sketch 2 (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 - sketch 3 (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – sketch 3 (click image to enlarge)

I was particularly taken by the young calf who seemed fascinated by my quiet presence on the path and mum (presumably) remained content to munch away at the feeder trough for quite some time. I decided to make this the subject for this assignment and took a quick reference photo to record colours, values and tones for later use back in the studio:

Assignment 4 - Highland cattle rule of thirds reference photo (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – Highland cattle rule of thirds reference photo (click image to enlarge)

Back home I marked up an 82 x 61cm canvas board with a rule of thirds matrix as a guide and pencil sketched in the main elements of the composition:

Assignment 4 - marked up study for painting (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – marked up study for painting (click image to enlarge)

Making a start on the painting I again used acrylics to roughly lay down some ground colours:

Assignment 4 - first rough paint with brushes (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – first rough paint with brushes (click image to enlarge)

The finished study:

I found that working with a larger canvas really helped me loosen up with my application of colour and mark making.

Radical departure away from brush work, I painted the final painting using size 5 and 1 palette knifes and went through quite a few tubes of paint – but I really enjoyed myself!

Assignment 4 - second lay-down of paint with palette knife (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – second lay-down of paint with palette knife (click image to enlarge)

Palette used was:

Warm
Cadmium Red
Cadmium Orange
Venice Yellow
Yellow Ochre
Raw Sienna
Burnt Umber
Cadmium Green

Cool
Cerulean Blue
Phtalo Green
Payne’s Grey

Iridescent Green Blue and Titanium White.

Highland cattle at feed, Balnain Wood, Glenurquhart (Acrylics on canvas board)

Assignment 4 - finished study "Highland cattle at feed" (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 – finished study “Highland cattle at feed” (click image to enlarge)

Assignment 4 ← click the link to download a .pdf version of this page

Stuart Brownlee – 512319

3rd September, 2014