22 Mar 2016

February Oak. Expecting rain.

From resource photos and sketches made during my walks through Sherwood Forest, I selected the ten oak trees needed for the rest of the planned series, which means I can draw out a basic composition on the boards at any time, engaging in the painting process as each month arrives. This will help me keep pace, but not pre-empt whatever the coming year may bring. Apart from Valentine’s Day, February seems something of a forgotten month. One expects the frosts and snows of winter will have passed, but not yet see the winds of March or the light showers and buds of April. Me and February have much in common: We’re both expecting rain.

In February the sun is still low, but the yellow hues it makes along the horizon are more “lemon” than cadmium. The high clouds vary from silver grey to slightly lilac. The low clouds which bring the rain are fast moving, and much darker, almost silhouettes. I’ve also been shooting some video of the 12 oaks selected for this project, with the intention of making short videos explaining my thoughts and processes.

"February Oak" (above). I chose this particular oak for February because of its character; its form distorted from straining to reach the sunlight between the surrounding birches. It’s quite a dark painting. I was even tempted use black, something I hardly ever do. It did prove a bit of a struggle, and it’s not quite the painting I envisaged, but it’s the painting which emerged from that struggle. I think I’m always a little disappointed when my landscape paintings don’t look like everybody else's in the arts and crafts gallery shops, but then again, if they did, I’d bin them.

Video documenting this painting in progress can be seen on THIS LINK.

Reading: McCartney, Fleetwood Mac, Dylan, Rolling Stones biogs for the years 1970/76.
Listening: Albums for the above.