Tuesday, 21 April 2015

St. Mary's and Beverley Minster from the Westwood. ( A3 Prints available. )

30 x 24 en plein air, oil on canvas.

Well I do like this view, especially at the moment with spring weather forcing the trees to come into leaf, whilst some remain dormant. The new greens are vivid in the sunshine and together with beech hedging, conifer trees, blossom trees and evergreen shrubs the colours are rather wonderful. House colours vary adding to the interest. This painting is a large,
30 x 24 inch canvas which can be tricky to paint as the wind can easily catch it, as well as the simple act of carrying it on the easel. It has taken three trips to the site to get this far with the painting giving me the problem of deciding whether to continue and probably overwork it or to leave it as it is. I will cogitate a little. 
The first visit was to simply get the outline done and to add the sky. Getting both the two churches on as well as some foreground interest. The second visit ( Monday 20th April ) saw me add some underpainting blocks of colour, getting the values down. On this visit I noticed some movement to my right, in the distance appeared the first of the summer cattle, three young black and white cows running together and generally being frisky. Today, 21st I am adding more depth and detail. As we walked to the site we saw rather plump sheep had been put out. Then we noticed some lambs. Someone passed and we talked about the likelihood of more lambs appearing soon. This was fortuitous as I could quickly add some to the painting. During all the time painting the scene we talked to a lot of people. All thoughtfully walking their dogs over the Westwood and onto the racecourse.
As I have mentioned in a previous post I would like to return to this spot and paint it again when the buttercups come out, especially towards York Road where a solid golden carpet appears for a short time.
Prints available here scroll down to number 14.
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  1. That is a large size for plein air so well done. If it was my painting I would remove the white object on the far left and break-up that white fence, but very much up to you.
    I particularly like your woodland paintings.

    1. Hi there, and yes I see what you mean, however the large white area on the left is quite important, local people will know it as the start of the Flat race part of the racecourse.I know it must look wrong but it is better in than out I think. The railings also were important to include as I needed them to add and break up the green foreground, also, I guess gives a little context to the large white area. Thanks for the woodland paintings comment as well, and happy painting to you.

  2. What an ambitious painting for a plein air! Kudos to you, John, for your tenacity (and talent). It's absolutely stunning. I also think, as another commentator did, that the white object stands out a bit too much, but - if it's important, then perhaps just a slight wash to tone it down a bit would solve that issue. I do think your eye goes right over to the left when viewing the painting with it so bright, which I'm sure is not your intent.

  3. Hi Susan, thanks for the comment. It made me go and have another look at the painting. The posted copy looks a little lighter actually, the picture seems to have more contrast on the actual painting. This makes to make the white boards look less intrusive. So I guess, not the best reproduction. It does look odd though, even at the site. It marks the start of the "straight" and we have all got used to it. Several local people came over and said how much they liked it, especially the sky. No one mentioned the white area, I suppose familiarity makes us all a little blind.Great to hear from you, best wishes.


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