Painting #27

Here is my Painting Number 27, freshly painted.

#27 Invented Landscape (Oil on Panel, 10 x 8 inches)

The under-painting was shown in my earlier post (Back in the Studio), but for those who like to make a comparison, here it is again below.

I like the colours and the composition but the rough gesso (I originally intended this panel for an abstract) is distracting and I think impacts negatively on the final image. I learned my lesson now. Apart from the rough gesso texture showing, I am quite pleased with the outcome, and the colour-texture of the marsh grasses in particular gives me joy and gratitude.


If you compare the colours in the two underpaintings for this painting and the previous one (Painting 26) you will see the effect on the two finished paintings. This was not at all planned. I normally use a mix of burnt umber and ultramarine for my underpaintings. However, in the case of Painting 26, the brush happened to have more blue on it and this affected the final painting and pushed it to a blue-green which – to me – conveys a different mood.

In this painting (#27) I had in mind a yellow evening sky, a more romantic effect – an idea which was borne out of the somewhat random warm colour in the underpainting.

I spent the day at work thinking about this landscape – all the way through a long meeting –  plotting and scheming. Not in any obsessive way, but rather like a touchstone, a light, little secret that I could touch to stay tuned to the mystery that lurks at the heart of creation, of which Radhakrishnan writes:

For every individual there comes a time sometime or other, for nature is not in a hurry, when everything he can do for himself fails, when he sinks into the gulf of utter blackness, an hour he would give all that he has for one gleam of light, for one sign of the Divine. When he is assailed by doubt, denial, hatred of life and black despair, he can escape from them only if God lays his hands on him…

The sense of insufficiency, of barrenness and dust, is due to the working of the Perfection, the mystery that lurks at the heart of creation. The invisible impulse to seek God produces the agony that inspires heroic idealism and human fulfilment. The image of God in us expresses itself in the infinite capacity for self-transcendence.

Foreword to the Bhagavadgita, translated with footnotes by S. Radhakrishnan



13 thoughts on “Painting #27

  1. There is indeed a marvelous mystery that lurks at the heart of creation. Thank you for sharing these thoughtful words, especially the reminder that “nature is not in a hurry”. I haven’t been able to decide between #26 and #27. I like them both. I think the blue in #26 gives it a slightly “softer” effect. In #27 I see suggestions of storms coming. It reminds me a bit of the strange cast the skies here sometimes take on when severe weather is approaching. To me, that gives #27 a slightly more mysterious mood about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your thoughtful comment. My wife commented that #27 is “too green” and – despite my undertaking to give up caring about opinions and paint for the sake of the experience – I always value her opinion and spent a night rolling round thinking green thoughts. Well as Cristina Rosetti said, the road goes up all the way! All we can do is keep on learning. I saw you posted something yesterday but have not had time to read it, will do so now. Thanks again!

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  2. I love both your paintings, #26 and #27. To me, #26 looks calmer, cooler, like a quiet evening, . #27 has a more mysterious vibe that I really like, a less “generic” mood if you will, something that makes you engage with the painting more and try to feel what the painter felt while painting it. I can see why you might think the gesso texture is distracting, but I find it also gives the painting some character. Overall, really wonderful works!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks for your kind words and encouragement. For the past few days I was looking at some of the paintings by romantic French painters like Theodore Rousseau with their clearly unrealistic but very dramatic and striking skies. I tried to do something a bit like that here. I am still unsure of whether it succeeded or not, but your comments really help to stay confident. Many thanks!

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      1. I think you’re doing great!! 🙂 If you like kind of unrealistic but dramatic skies, you may want to look up one of our contemporary artist, Stuart Davies’, work. I think you should be able to find his facebook page quite easily if you search for him there. Some of his skies may not be as subtle as what you may be going for, but he might still give you some inspiration!

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  3. A beautiful Tonalist quality to this painting. I love the soft, blurred edges of the water reflection. I still really like that yellow underpainting but the final result is wonderful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks Pat. Getting those edges of reflections in water right is quite hard! My wife said she actually liked the underpainting better, and I sense that some people who commented here and on other paintings think the same. So I am pondering this issue somewhat. It has to do with the art of “knowing when to stop”. But then also, the underpainting is shown very small, which is OK on a computer. But I think a very rough, monochrome image like that – if framed and hanging in a house – would quickly wear off on the viewer. Subtler nuances of colour and shading are also needed.
      Do you every have this feeling with your figure (or other) paintings that the underpainting was stronger?


      1. I definitely wouldn’t say I liked the underpainting better than the finished version! Just that it looked beautiful in its own right and I wish there was some way for both to exist:) It had its own energy, altho I’m sure in person it might feel quite different. Often wondered if I could let the underpainting stand as some have had a loose, fresh charm but I just use turps to start so the surface finish and thinness of the paint always pushed me on.

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