Finding Inspiration During The Past Year
I thought I’d share with you some of the paintings I’ve been working on for my woodland series. I’ve always been drawn, excuse the pun, to trees but never more so than during the past year. I get such inspiration from my daily walks in the surrounding woods, watching the changes each season brings. Sunshine filtering through the summer canopy… shafts of sunlight… dappled shade… soft shadows… rustle of autumn leaves… listening to the breeze through the winter branches.
Making my own sketchbook!
If you have been following my recent blog series reviewing sketchbooks you’ll know I love keeping a sketchbook, however I am a bit fussy! Following my final sketchbook review I decided to have a go at making my own watercolour sketchbook using my favourite paper, Saunders Waterford high white with a cold pressed surface. It was actually surprisingly easy to make although some careful measuring was needed!
I first measured the watercolour paper and board covers to size and then marked evenly spaced spots along the centre fold of each watercolour sheet and also on one side of the two covers. I checked they all lined up when stacked together before carefully piercing each spot. After that it was just a case of sewing it together with waxed thread. I do like my sketchbooks to have an elastic band to hold them closed when not in use, so I attached one to my sketchbook by making a slit at the top and bottom of the back cover and threading the ends of an elastic band through. I hid the ends by lining the inside of the back cover with a sheet of thin paper.
Whilst it may not be perfect but I do like that I have made it myself!
Over the last year I’ve had time to explore and experiment with new ideas and I’m just loving painting in a much looser way. I get such a buzz when working on a painting. This series is based on my daily walks in the surrounding woodlands. I love taking time to stop and observe the different shapes and textures, seeing how the light dances amongst the trees creating soft shadows.
I can really see a difference in my paintings during the past year and having painted in a similar way for many years I must confess to finding it a little daunting sharing my recent work, so I hope you like them!
At the beginning of lockdown I decided to invest in a mount cutter and I’m so pleased I did. It means I am now able to make my own conservation grade mounts to fit each individual painting, again with some careful measuring!
So although I still have several paintings in my mind that I wish to paint for this series, including the previous autumn sketches in my sketchbook, I couldn’t resist seeing some of the completed ones mounted.
Chestnut Wood is one of my all time favourite paintings, I’m not sure I wish to part with it! I have painted it with a deckled edge so that when mounted a small area of unpainted watercolour paper can be seen between the image and the mount. I love the way the white spaces between the trees contrast with the darker marks. It’s on my preferred heavyweight watercolour paper, Saunders Waterford high white, 640gms.
Another of my Woodland Series is the triptych below, I wanted to capture the feeling of light against soft shadows without getting caught up in too much detail. It was inspired by a particular walk last summer in one of the woodlands close to my home.
Before I could add any paint I first needed to accurately mark out each rectangle to ensure the spaces between each section were all the same. I won’t tell you how long it took me to get it right!
As I mentioned I have a few more woodland paintings I’m excited about painting and then I’ll have the task of adding them all to my website.
As I read this post through I find it amusing that although my painting style has become looser I seem to be doing other things that require accurate measuring!
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