Rearranging the Landscape

 

This week I made great steps towards completing a painting commissioned early this year: it was to be a retirement present and none of my existing pictures quite fitted the bill. So the intended recipient was given a free hand to come up with his own suggestions. Yep, already sounding challenging!

He did his homework thoroughly and enthusiastically, even down to producing a map showing where to leave the car to  walk to the chosen viewing spot. And as you walked along the (very muddy but picturesquely rutted) track, you got wonderful near, middle and far distant views.

But, just repeating that ‘as you walked along…’ , the elements the customer wanted could not all be observed when you actually stood still. As I wasn’t filming but painting it required some ingenuity to compose a satisfying picture with them all in: the track, the modern ¬†‘windmill’, Shapwick village, the woods and Glastonbury Tor.

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Back to a well-known problem: dealing with a view that is many times wider than it is high! There’s still a long way to go to the left before you see the windmill. And this isn’t even from the chosen viewpoint.

 

So these were the elements I dragged together and the general plan was approved:p1040393

I still took a lump out of the middle and reduced the size of the village. Finally:p1040625-cropped

And my (satisfied) customer said: The painting captures all the points we discussed and it takes the eye beautifully down the track to the middle and then the far distance. Job done.

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Distant hills

So here I am desperately trying to tie up a few loose ends. My last painting this year was one of the biggest I’ve done – using a full sheet of paper and with the framed picture in the region of three feet by two-foot six. Quite a challenge – no sitting down for this one!

Again, based on some sketches done out on the Somerset Levels. Again, a gorgeous Autumn day, with too perfect a sky to begin with: the photos I took at the end of the morning at last yielded the bit of cloud you need for movement and brightness.

At first I thought the view of Lollover Hill near Compton Dundon didn’t have enough in it to make a good picture. But I always make things too complicated and this time simplicity won out.

The gateway was a gift for a focus, and the hill shapes and colours, especially the contrast between the shadowed and sunlit areas, gave me what I wanted. A very satisfying commission!

So all I need to say is – Happy New year, all!DSCF4299  cropped and resized