Here is my painting number 33:
The idea for this painting was basically a dappled sky such as that shown in my source photo (below). I am fairly happy with the painting – although I may still fiddle a bit with the road tomorrow – something in the perspective is a bit off. Some of the cloud edges also need some blending to take the edge of some edges.
On my iPad the photo appears too yellow, but on my computer the colour temperature seems about right.
Here is my underpainting – started early this morning, then I started the sky mid afternoon and was finished by early evening. This painting is bigger than anything I have painted before in this current run, and almost the biggest I have ever attempted in oil. Much learned from this experience.
I have often felt guilty if I made an oil painting look good mainly because of a sky effect – it is relatively easy to blend a good sky with oil paintings – watercolour requires a whole new level of skill by comparison. But in this painting, I had a mighty battle on hand to get the colour of the sky right, and to make the light behind the clouds come through with the right value and pattern without creating a spotty effect. I am not sure I succeeded, but there you have it.
In my thoughts as I painted this was the poem Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, which begins “Glory be to God for dappled things”. It is fitting that the poem’s second line mentions “For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow”, because as you can see the source photo actually shows Nguni cattle with their beautiful spotted skin under that dappled sky. Here is the poem:
Pied BeautyGlory be to God for dappled things –For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.All things counter, original, spare, strange;Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:Praise him.Gerard Manley Hopkins, from Poetry Foundation
Road’s EndThe roads have come to their end now,they don’t go any farther, they turn here,over on the earth there.You can’t go any farther if you don’t wantto go to the moon or the planets. Stop nowin time, and turn to a wasp’s nest or a cow’s track,a volcano opening or a clatter of stones in the woods-it’s all the same. Something else.They won’t go any farther as I’ve saidwithout changing, the engine to horseshoes,the gear shift to a fit branchwhich you hold loose in your hand– what the hell is this?Rolf Jacobsen