Dorset, UK, Forest Glow, oil, 80 x 122 cm (31 x 48")
Third Prize is a one-page editorial feature in American Art Collector magazine
Depicted in this painting is a stream that flows through the famous “New Forest” in Hampshire, southern England. It is only a short drive from where I live. I have painted this scene often at various times of day and in different seasons. The colours can change greatly depending on where the sun is. The water is very shallow here, so the “riverbed” shines through, especially when the sun is high in the sky.
My Design Strategy
My strategy was to zoom in on the main subject, namely the reflections. To the left and right of this scene are mainly views looking out over adjacent fields, so obviously these were of no interest to me. It is the reflections that bring this painting alive and give it a semiabstract feel. The horizon is set very high, which gives precedence to the water, which was my main inspiration.
My Working Process
My process was to make initial sketches on the spot, together with reference photos. With this information I start and finish the painting in the studio. This is my method of working be it a scene like this, or a view of Venice or Istanbul, or wherever. Having covered the “glaringly white” canvas with a neutral colour, I then draw with the brush. I block in the main areas, noting light and shade. This is a monochrome underpainting using burnt umber. For more pronounced areas of light, I just wipe off colour with a turpentine soaked rag. From here I build up colour with a large brush and palette knife. This keeps it loose, and the palette knife adds texture if and when needed. Lastly, with the brush, I flick a few highlights over certain areas to make it sparkle. A method also used by John Constable.
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