Devon Lanes....

Devon Lanes....

I live in rural mid Devon , I know a lot of you will already know that as I talk about it a lot. It informs my work and inspires my painting. As a painter inspired by the world around me I do have a bit of a 'thing' about Devon lanes. This is just outside my cottage.

We have had all sorts of weather over the past few months, cold dry , then very , very wet and now glorious sunshine. It seems to have made everything erupt in a riot of greens.



I can barely take my eyes of the hedgerows and my mind is a mass of ideas of subjects I want to paint, not a bad position for an artist to be in.

I snap away with my phone on my daily walk and muse over my next piece, and believe me they don't all ever make it to the paper, and if they do they don't always turn out how I imagined .


But today as I walked up the lane I my mind was drawn to the Devon landscape, I haven't painted a lane for some time but once the thought was in my head that was all I wanted to do today .I remembered driving from my home to Tiverton a couple of years ago and spotting this view at Cadbury as I drove past, I parked my car and took some photos....

I settled down and drew a quick sketch, I also flicked on some masking fluid to represent the light through the trees, and some cow parsley on the verge.

Firstly I painted sunny warm Spring sky

Then I concentrate on the background, the distant hills and fields. I don't want to paint every tree and bush just give an impression of them

Now I can move to the high hedges and vegetation, the tree tops and all the different greens and yellows. I want to give the illusion of clumps of grass and lots of lush greenery. Greens can be tricky, I tend to mix my own and add a touch of red to knock them back a bit. As usually happens when I photograph my work I get lost in my work and forget to photograph the stages. But I like to work wet in wet and add darks and lights as I go. I splatter clean water in and splatter paint to. I want texture, randomness without being too contrived.

As you can see at this point it looks flat , it needs more, the shadow needs to  go in it almost drips across the road like treacle. I use cadmium red and cobalt blue to create the shadow colour and boldly (in one go) paint it in across the road. Then lots more mark making . I need something in the bottom left corner too to balance up the picture. I am continually making decisions as I paint. If something looks good even if not intentional I leave it ,I stand back a lot and try to see what I need to do....then let the piece dry and finally remove the masking fluid

Once you add the shadows it seems to 'pop' , I love where I live and I know that is a real bonus. Have a ogo, or be inspired by your surroundings...good luck x


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I love this painting. I’ve been looking for a painting of the Devon lanes I love so much for our little cottage.

Alison Kaye

Thank you again, Rachel, for sharing your wisdom and experience.
Now that Spring has exploded I take hundreds of fotos – THE chance NOW to ban my favorite color digitally (this unique May green) and by doing so to create my future memories of May and June.
I have so many ideas now of what to paint I would have to grow 200 years old to paint them all. But I’m quite happy with the few I have the chance to paint, and happy even if the pictures don’t turn out the way I wanted them to be; it’s always a kind of surprise. And all the unpainted pictures remain in my mind… sleeping.


Wonderful read, very inspiring I definately want to have a go it’s always the shadows that I struggle with I try and paint them too literally I think.
Less is more.
I take loads of photos wherever I am or go and my mind is always in overdrive of what to paint next. As I’m just a dabbler and really love it, I don’t mind if I don’t paint what I photograph but I know once I’ve made my mind up I’m equipt 😊
Thank you for sharing always helpful tips

Diane Hayward

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