Sometimes you have to jump out of your comfort zone and try something new. I've been waiting for a time in my life when I felt ready to tackle landscape painting and as I'm not getting any younger, last week I jumped in. I chose a nearby scene, just five minutes away. I was always taught never to paint from photographs, but at this time of year I stand a pretty good chance of being flattened by a tractor if I set up my easel anywhere. I am convinced that if the great Turner were alive today, he too would be utilising a camera.
After a few scribbles, I did a quick pre-painting pastel sketch. which in the end I liked a lot better than the almost finished painting.
I had new oils and brushes, bought last year, which I had been saving for the right moment.
And a small square canvas which was scarily blank.
I loved painting the sky, and very much enjoyed using oils again. However, the experience wasn't exactly what I expected; to my surprise, despite having a deep love of our British landscape and having taking hundreds of perfectly nice photos of it, I could not find my 'voice'. In the end, I painted a rather dauby, humdrum view which said nothing of what I felt and I know that the barn and trees are particularity poor.
I anguished about it for some time. I posted it to my Instagram account and people were very kind and gentle. But I still hated it; I'm not afraid to admit when I've done disappointing work. I could go on and try again - maybe with a larger canvas, as this one is so small. (Which maybe why I got too fiddly with the barn). But I think what's missing is my imagination. I've been painting 'out of my head' for so many years, that normality is a little...well, dull.
So I've picked myself up and started something new. It does include some landscape work, and again, I am enjoying painting the sky, but this is my inner vision. Hopefully I'll have something more promising to show you soon!