In planning a painting the most important step is getting the idea. Sometimes on my travels I will write a few notes about my impressions as well as taking photographs of places and things which take my interest. (See impressions from Connemara)
The first thing to do is prepare the paper by stretching it on a drawing board
Even before I start the drawing for a picture it is important to plan from which side I want the light to come in this case it will be from left to right. Stage one in any painting is the drawing, I use a 2b pencil to lightly do the sketch. I work out at this stage what the major point of interest is going to be (in this case it will be the house and the bend in the road) everything else is of secondary importance.
Once I have the drawing finished I start with the sky. In the case of this painting I first mixed some cobalt blue and in another mixing tray some lemon yellow.
I then wet the area of the sky with clean water and very quickly washed in some lemon yellow into the bottom of the sky, while the paper was still wet I started at the top right and brought in the cobalt blue, leaving some areas of white paper showing where the clouds would appear. As I worked my way down the sky more water was added to the cobalt to lighten it, and it was blended into the lemon yellow.
The mountains were started at this point using a mixture of yellow ochre with a little bit of burnt sienna and while still wet some shadows were added with cobalt blue and alizarin crimson. Where the fields start below the mountain a lemon yellow was used with a touch of veridian green just to take the brightness from the yellow.
Art masking fluid was used at this stage to mask out the trunk of the distant tree as well as the branches of the foreground bushes and chimney. This allowed me to strengthen the field colour at the bottom of the mountain without losing the white of the paper. As soon as the paint was dry the art masking fluid was removed.
The stone walls were started next, I used the same colour as I used in the mountain, yellow ochre & burnt sienna, but this time the colour was stronger (Less water was used in the mix).
Some stones were blocked in along the grass verge. The verge itself was washed in with some cadmium yellow pale and cobalt blue.
Once again art masking fluid was used to mask out the trunk of the tree, the branches of the foreground bushes, chimney and gatepost. I then painted the bushes and trees that are behind the house.
The lighter green in these trees which is cadmium yellow and cobalt blue was put on first, and while still wet raw umber was bled into the colour in the closer bush. The tree and bush opposite the house were painted next using the same basic colours only in a stronger mix.
When everything had dried I mixed a darker green with ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow and alizarin crimson to add the shadows to the bushes and trees. I made the main tree opposite the house a darker and warmer colour than the surrounding foliage so that it would balance the house.
The roof was done next with burnt sienna with a touch of red and yellow ochre. The art masking fluid was removed again at this point.
This shows a detail of the bend in the road. You can see the trunk and the branches now that the art masking fluid has been removed. Later on these will be painted in but at this stage I prefer to leave some of the white paper showing.
In stage 4 the main foreground bush has been painted in by once again using art masking fluid to mask out where the branches will be then painting the whole bush with cadmium yellow deep mixed with a little viridian green, and to warm the colour, some burnt sienna.
The dark parts under the leaves were next I used burnt umber with ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson to make a really dark green.
Then once again the art masking fluid was removed and the branches were painted in using a wash of yellow ochre and burnt sienna.
The bushes that grow in front of the house were completed using the same basic colour as the ones in the background only the edges are crisper.
I once again wet the sky with clean water and I used a 2 inch wide brush to wash in some more blue starting at the top right hand corner, this time ultramarine blue was used. I needed to darken the sky because I wanted to cast strong shadows in the foreground.
The hedges in the background were next using a mixture of lemon yellow, cobalt blue and cobalt violet.
The road was washed in using raw sienna mixed with burnt sienna. The wash was weakened as it came towards the foreground. I darkened the stone walls and added more detail, In the foreground portion of the wall each stone was painted individually but in the background I just gave an overall impression. After the stones I painted in between with a darker colour.
Last of all came the shadows, I always think that shadows hold the whole painting together, ultramarine blue mixed with cobalt violet was used.