Sometimes you need to return to the source…i have lived in Norway, France and now Sweden, but my roots are in Denmark. The former royal hunting grounds north of Copenhagen ignited my passion for nature at a very early age. The rolling hills, grass plains with deer, and the ancient oak trees soon became the subject for some of my first sketches and paintings. More than five decades later, this basic passion still drives my art, mostly painting landscapes and wildlife. And from time to time I return to this wonderful area with my sketchbook and camera, and immediately feel at home, safe, content and inspired. This is where it all began.
My Design Strategy
I wanted to convey the feeling of sharing the quiet safety of the shade under this giant oak with a resting fallow deer, and the explosion of late summer sunlight surrounding the tree. Using several plein air sketches and my own reference photos, I composed the scene in a final study sketch, carefully placing the fallen branches, spots of sunlight, shadows, grass tufts and fallen branches to frame the huge trunk, connect tree and deer, and provide paths for the eye. A highly lit background scene was designed to provide maximum contrast to the tree. Often seen resting under the trees, the fallow buck was included to illustrate the scale of the centuries old oak.
My Working Process
The stretched linen canvas received a light nickel titanium yellow wash all over, followed by a bluish-grey sky wash. When dry, I built up the landscape beginning at the background, increasing contrast and detail level toward the front. A series of light yellow glazes over the background trees created hazy depth. The trunk and branches were painted in various earth tones, blues and pinks, adding bark details before scumbling in Van Dyck brown to round and shape the forms. The foliage and grass were painted with the same range of colors, beginning with the warm lights and ending with the cool darks. Finally the foreground straws were carefully placed to break up the shadows.
Email: email@example.com Website: www.troelskirk.com
Skåne, Sweden, Oak and Fallow Deer, acrylic, 100 x 150 cm (39 x 59")