Just down the road from where I used to live near York is a wonderful little Yorkshire nature reserve called Moorlands. Initially part of the grounds of a large house it is a perfectly preserved and well maintained Edwardian garden. Its main attraction is the spectacular collection of rhododendrons and maple trees. It is criss-crossed with delightful little paths each containing spectacular views particularly in May/June when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. But I was just as interested in the tall sycamores that graced the entrance to the garden proper. We would just have a wander on many mornings on our way to work at Gallery 49 in Bridlington. You could easily get round it in twenty minutes or so and you were set up for the rest of the day. This was an autumn day and the view before me as we were leaving the garden was amazing. The sun was just beginning to melt away the mist and it was absolutely certain that a glorious autumn day would ensue. I am certain you will agree with me that this beautiful scene just had to be painted. The challenge then was how to do it justice. There are quite a few techniques involved. First of all I used masking fluid on the brightest fallen leaves shapes. Next I just ‘spattered’ some drops of masking fluid randomly so that whatever happened I would have some light in the painting. The background is classic ‘wet in wet’- just dropping yellows and blues onto very wet paper and letting them come together. There was a bit of white paper showing but I left that alone as it added to the light effect. Then I painted all the trees before starting on the carpet of fallen leaves. Remember I had already masked some leaf shapes so now I used the wet on wet technique on the ground but this time using reds, browns and yellows. When it was dry (and it must be completely dry!) I ‘masked’ in some more leaf shapes and repeated the wet in wet again, then more leaf shapes with masking fluid and a final wash. When you remove the masking fluid you will find all these different coloured fallen leaves to make up a very realistic looking autumn carpet. That just left the light rays. I use transparent paint so I knew I could wash out the rays but I would have to be very careful. The rays all had the same source - the sun – and some went behind trees and some went in front of other trees but it was worth the effort because I think it turned out OK. Whenever I look at this painting it brings back happy memories of a lovely walk on an autumn day.
24/12/2014 08:22:58 am
classic...thanks for sharing...I'm currently trying to get my art 1 (beginning high school) art class to go beyond their lolly pop trees and learn some basic watercolor techniques...they are a stubborn group...but this is wonderful...it inspires me to try harder to teach this wonderful medium...thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
26/12/2014 05:24:58 am
Hi William. Thanks for your comment. I am pleased you are teaching watercolour painting to your students. It is the most marvellous medium there is as you no doubt appreciate. There has certainly been a decline in watercolour painters here in the UK. In 2003, when I first started workshops and demonstrations with art groups I would think about 80% used watercolour. These days I would say it is 80% acrylic. Thankfully watercolour is alive, well and thriving in Asia and the Far East where they have some breathtaking exponents of this marvellous medium. Keep up the good work. Glenn
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Professional artist now semi retired and enjoying being eccentric!