Empty Frame

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.

Stanage Edge Acrylic

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.


36 thoughts on “Empty Frame

  1. Beautiful stuff, Rebecca! I love those rocks and how they guide you across. The mist is perfect too – such atmosphere and depth it creates, it really does make those distant hills seem a long way off! Wonderful painting.

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      • It does me; every time I paint anything with acrylic I keep wanting to get a watercolor effect. I’m amazed at your versatility with mediums. I can’t imagine painting realistically with acrylics at all. You’ve taken to them really well!

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      • Thank you – I find that the acrylics are much easier to control than watercolour, although they lack some of the spontenaiety and luminosity. The challenge for me is avoiding getting bogged down in the detail, so I use a broad, flat brush to stop nitpicking. I can’t deny that also it’s refreshing to have the opportunity to fix things which didn’t go so well on the first try… loving your abstract experiments, by the way. 😉

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  2. What a wonderful and successful challenge. Your painting is beautiful Rebecca and worthy of the frame! Like many of the comments, I’d love to walk right into your scene, so lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cathe, thank you for your kind words; Derbyshire is a beautiful place, even if the weather can be a bit unpredictable (hey, this is England, after all!). 🙂


  3. Hi Rebecca, This is a beautiful painting. My eye bounces over the rocks, grass and flowers to the mountains in the distance. Lucky the person who will stay in your guest room under that lovely landscape.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow Rebecca I love this painting! Especially the textures you created with each brushstroke and the gorgeous colours you used for the distant hills. It’s amazing you were able to convey so much liveliness from a photograph. At first glance I thought this was a plein air painting because i feels like I’m there 🙂 Wonderful work as always.

    Liked by 1 person

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