Stour­bridge UK,

International Artist - - Art Challenge -


The Sil­ver Birch Chapel – A Homage to Michelan­gelo’s “Cre­ation of Adam”,

My In­spi­ra­tion

Be­ing out­side in na­ture is a huge source of in­spi­ra­tion, and if you are pa­tient and look with the right kind of eyes, there is so much to see. I do a lot of “en plein aire” paint­ing, but paint­ing this per­spec­tive is not easy to do. Look­ing up into the tree canopy has be­come a favourite view­point of mine, and pho­tog­ra­phy seems the best way to cap­ture the scene while avoid­ing neck strain. Af­ter tak­ing many pho­tos through­out the day it was this par­tic­u­lar scene that caught my eye. The com­po­si­tion was in­stantly recog­nis­able to me as be­ing sim­i­lar to Michelan­gelo’s Cre­ation of Adam, and I liked the cathedral ef­fect with the light burst­ing through the top lay­ers of leaves il­lu­mi­nat­ing the canopy.

My De­sign Strat­egy

My main ob­jec­tive was to cre­ate a feel­ing of depth and va­ri­ety in the leaf canopy. When paint­ing the leaves, I try to be as free as pos­si­ble, find­ing dif­fer­ent ways of ap­ply­ing the paint to pro­vide me with a va­ri­ety of shapes and marks. This can in­clude dif­fer­ent ways of hold­ing the brush, us­ing pal­ette knives or us­ing fin­gers and card­board to ap­ply the paint. The sil­ver birch trunks would help to bring a dy­namic com­po­si­tion, and the branches and twigs painted in a way that would lead the eye around the canopy. In­cor­po­rat­ing el­e­ments of Michelan­gelo’s Cre­ation of Adam was key to the whole con­cept of this piece, and care was re­quired to achieve this bal­ance ef­fec­tively.

My Work­ing Process

Af­ter lay­ing down a sunny sky I be­gin to paint in the brightly lit leaves high up in the canopy, start­ing with the yel­lows and pale greens. This process re­peats as I work my way down from the canopy, paint­ing suc­ces­sive lay­ers of leaves grad­u­ally grow­ing in size as I reach the fore­ground. The trunks and branches of the birch trees are then es­tab­lished and ar­eas of sky painted back in to bring bal­ance amongst the leaves. Rays of sun­light burst­ing through the canopy fin­ish the scene and help tie to­gether the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments in the paint­ing. Tak­ing time out to put the brushes down and en­joy the paint­ing, as well as view­ing it crit­i­cally, is an es­sen­tial part of my process.

Con­tact De­tails

Email: art­bydj@hot­ Web­site:­

oil, 70 x 100 cm (28 x 39")

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