Tag Archives: oil paintings

Repetition and variation, without hesitation

hill paintings, part of a series in oil on canvas, fixed to a board

board with hill paintings and Winifred Nicholson print

This week I seem to have settled into a theme, almost an obsession, producing variations on the view through my window. It’s partly a practical decision, as strong winds have made going outside quite tricky, and it’s also because the light has been so different each day that the view has changed drastically, with the hillside effectively becoming another place every time. The lone tree fascinates me as it seems to have its own moods and it also seems to conduct the scene around it, focusing the energies of the landscape as everything – sky, earth, foliage and bracken – swirls around.

I’ve been inspired by a Winifred Nicholson print of a tree in Lugano, Italy. I had pinned the print to my wall when – strange co-incidence – a cycle race I was following online (the Giro d’Italia) passed through the same town, enabling me to see pictures of the glorious lakeside scenery. I had hoped to head out and paint some of the trees round here in full bloom but the high winds have prevented it so far. The blossoms are still clinging to their branches so there might still be time to capture something of them.

This painting was done in a hurry (as usual the light was changing rapidly) and I put it aside afterwards thinking it had failed but on reflection there is something lively and full of feeling in there that I like.

through the window hill view in oils, pink evening light

sketch in oils on canvas of through the window view, 9×12 inches, one of a series

This picture was perhaps the most successful in a way in that I think the composition works and the tones are working better than they usually do (I tend to lose my way as the light disappears typically as soon as I begin to work). Also, the tree seems to be charged with energy and everything is becoming nicely abstract.

9x12 oil on canvas painting of the hill lit dramatically one evening

oil on canvas painting of the hill with a dramatic feel, as it looked through the window one evening with racing clouds and stark lighting

I’m less happy with this painting than the previous one but I liked the violets, blues and pinks that shaded the hill and was pleased they’d made it into the picture.

purple evening hues hill painting, oil on canvas, 9x12

hill painting, oil on canvas, 9×12, one of a series, as seen through the window in purple evening light

Noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger

Autumn, with darker evenings and cold winds, has led to a week of still life painting with apples and jugs taking on starring roles. It has been interesting seeing the paintings develop, each in their different way.

This one turned into an appreciation of the yellowness of fruit.

still life oil painting of yellow fruit

the yellowness of fruit, oil on canvas, 6″x8″

This one, on the other hand, turned into a competition between the subtle colours of autumn apples and the dark glossiness of my red enamel coffee pot. Probably should have knocked it back a bit.

still life oil on canvas painting, apples and jug

apples versus jug, oil on canvas, 6″x8″

Two coffee makers in coversation – the old enamel faithful and the newer steel, eccentric yet efficient little pot. The red pot is best at making Turkish coffee, boiled up inside it and drunk from a tiny cup with lots of sugar. The steel pot is perfect for making enough strong coffee to make two morning cups full, diluted with hot water and mellowed with a splash of milk.

oil still life on canvas, coffee pots

coffee pots conversing, oil on canvas, 6″x8″

In the meantime the large painting was ‘maturing’ on the wall and every time I looked at it – in spite of trying not to – the foreground was leaping out at me and looking not quite right. So, in the end, I gave in and sneaked it down to make the alterations that it seemed to want.

work in progress, large oil on canvas, Crosdale evening

Crosdale evening, work in progress, stage 2, oil on canvas, 23.4″ x 33.1″

Now, it just needs a couple of the highlights putting back in and it will be done, or will it … ?