Summer sun, hay meadows and poppies

Summer sun, hay meadows and poppies

Here in Devon the weather has been hot and sunny, much too hot and sunny some days , but today is lovely. It's around 21 degrees and there's a nice breeze. I have been trying to keep up my walking and enjoying the longer evenings , and seeing the changes around me every day .



The grass is looking very parched, and we could do with some rain. However I thought about , how lucky I am to live in the UK. We see so many changes in a year, the dramatic winter landscapes, the abundance of greens in the Spring, glorious summer days and lovely autumn colours. Things are forever changing and we have no time to get bored as the next flower, or berry will appear soon.

We walked through Mid Devon on Wednesday seeing lots of butterflies and wildflowers.

Noticing changes through woodland to poorer soils where the poppies grow

I thought it might be good to show you the stages of a summer landscape, painted recently , inspired by hay fields and poppies.

Firstly I painted the sky, All wet in wet with cerulean blue, touches of yellow ochre and some grey, made with cobalt blue and burnt umber.

Next I painted the fields and fore- ground all in yellow ochre, and popped in a distant horizon, hinting at further fields and hills with my grey/ blue mixture, cobalt blue and burnt umber.

When that's dry, and it doesn't take long in this weather, I added some trees and hedges. try to think of them as one shape. start with your lightest green or even a nice lemon yellow. then add a mid green and finally a darker green by adding indigo to maybe a sap green . I always add a tiny touch of red to my greens too to make them look more natural. 

Next you can simply add a greenish wash to a field so you differentiate between the far field and one nearer to us.

Next I worked on the hay bales, yellow ochre again, with a touch of burnt sienna and touches of burnt umber. The darker shadow is burnt umber and cobalt again, but with more pigment and less water. Add as many or as few as you like, but I think an odd number looks best. 

Now we are moving to the larger tree on the left. Paint it as you did the ones in the background. See it as a shape. Think where the light is hitting it, where the shadows are. Have a light tone, a mid tone and a dark tone. Be bold and random in your mark making.

Then move to the poppies and grass in front of the tree, try and paint them in one go, adding dots of red paint in amongst the grass. I also used a palette knife to scrape out some blades of grass

Now time to stand back, doing all that at one really taxes your brain. Step back a bit from your painting, give yourself a bit of distance and decide where it needs some more work. Where do you need some darks, some more grass, perhaps some more tones in the fields too.

Keep your painting sitting there over night and when you come back in the morning, you sort of see it with new eyes, try not to be too critical of yourself, watercolours are tricky, they take time to master

Now add a few bits and bobs, or don't, try not to try to alter too much or it could get muddy and you could spoil it.

 Then once you take off the tape and add it to the others, I think that's a day well spent.


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