We need a new picture for the large frame in our guest room – the print is looking very tired, but the frame is a good one and well worth keeping. I’ve been keeping my eye out casually for another print, but haven’t seen anything I like which would fit. It made sense to try to paint something myself, but it’s taken me quite a while to knuckle down. This is because I had some specific colour parameters (I want it not to clash with the duvet cover – duck-egg blue with hints of fuschia. Oh yes.) Plus, I was just plain afraid of doing something large.
But, finally, I decided on a picture. We have a photo we took on a lovely long walk on Stanage Edge in Derbyshire. It was a misty day, but the heather was in bloom which I thought might be sympathetic to the colours I needed. So I grabbed myself by the scruff of the neck, cut a piece of hardboard 24 x 17 inches and got on with the job of painting.
First I sketched out the landscape using a chinagraph on the board. Then, using a half-inch flat brush, I painted from the distance to close-up, so began with the sky, working forwards through the hills to the stones on the cliff edge. The sward and heather were last to go in. This order made sense for me, but I suppose other people might attack this differently.
My acrylics contain Phthalo blue and Cerulean, and I’m finally starting to know which one to use to get the blue or green I need, which feels like a step forward. That said, the receding hills were tricky as it was hard to judge whether they were too dark without the foreground being in for comparison. I’m still not sure. The rocks were also problematic, giving them believable contours wasn’t as easy one might think.
You know what? I enjoyed making this picture. It wasn’t easy, but I quite like the brooding aspect it has – that at least is true to Derbyshire! My favourite part is the light in the sky just above the furthest hills. Anyway, if I do decide to frame and hang this pic, it should do a good job of counteracting the rather twee duvet cover.