Sunday, 30 October 2016

Painting the Show

Sheep Judging at the Leicester County Show - 400x300cm Oil on board
This year saw the revival of the Leicester County Show, which was held at Airfield Farm just to the North of Market Harborough. Having spent my earlier years in farming, I really love looking round agricultural shows and this one was a cracker!

Original photo: things were moved around or left out
in the finished work in order to aid composition.
Here I've painted a scene based on the sheep judging from my own photo, though I've moved things around to get a better composition.

Working on 6mm MDF, unusually for me, I didn't lay down a base colour over the board - just went straight in with my pencil. After spending some time on the sketch, the result looked quite complicated so I used a loose mixture of phthalo green and yellow ochre to pick out the areas of grass, which immediately made more sense of the scene.

Here the thinned phthalo green glaze clarified the work

Working my way around the figures and sheep, the painting started to take shape, but was slow going as I want add enough detail to make it look convincing, but not too much to make it look like a photograph. Fascinating work though.

Painting straight lines has always been a challenge for me, especially when they need to be thin! For this reason, the lines for the railings looked a bit wobbly, but does it really matter?

After adding the sky and distant parts, I worked my way
the figures one by one.
Sooner or later I knew that I would have to get around to painting the grass proper, but the thing is that painting every blade was going to take forever, so I used dry brush, wet brush, multiple colours on one brush and scratching out with a palette knife to get some variety and texture in the base green, though I don't quite know if I succeeded or not on that one.

Overall, this work took around one month to complete working around two sessions a week, mostly at painting groups that I attend regularly - somewhat longer than is usually the case.

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