Painting #33

Here is my painting number 33:

#33, May 2016 (45 x 25.5 cm)

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.

Source Photo with frame PhotoShopped onto it

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 Beauty
Glory 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
All day today as the rain fell on my studio roof I was aware of the earth, the green and damp blanket of the New Zealand countryside all around me. At times I looked outside and reflected on how many things had to happen as it happened – from the time of the big bang right to this moment – to provide me with an opportunity to create away in my solitude. So much to be thankful for – this earth.
I understand the urge to go to Mars – like one TED presenter said: “it is in our DNA to explore”. But I guess our species comes in a dappled tapestry of inner worlds, and I feel I belong on this earth, where at present I have a unique, short span to explore inward – where another infinity lies.
Besides, perhaps we will only find more of the same – the same wars, the same politics, the same lack of purpose and meaning. If we cannot come to rest in contentment in the world we have been given, the roads have come to their end already…
Road’s End
The 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 want
to go to the moon or the planets. Stop now
in 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 said
without changing, the engine to horseshoes,
the gear shift to a fit branch
   which you hold loose in your hand
– what the hell is this?
Rolf Jacobsen
 Many thanks to all who have encouraged me with follows, likes and comment. I hope you are truly happy and content.

12 thoughts on “Painting #33

  1. I’ve been painting a lot of skies lately with watercolor, but I haven’t achieved anything as impressive as this. I think you’ve done an excellent job of capturing the light and creating a sense of depth in the painting. I’m not one to think much of exploring other worlds. I have so much yet to learn about this one, and today I will be giving thanks for all the dappled things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Many thanks for your compliment, I have to say that sky did not come easily to me, and I learned a lot from the experience. Unfortunately it seems I have to repeat some mistakes several times in a row before I get it!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there is Alarizon Crimson in there, if you would call that pink. If you mix it with Conalt Blue you get nice sky colors. Normally I use just a pinch of Alarizon, but in this painting I had to pile it on to get the right warmth in the mid sky. Thanks for visiting!


    1. Many thanks Aletha. Yes, This required close observation of the photo, and I had to remove some holes in the clouds even thought they were there in the photo, because it created a somewhat spotty effect.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I look up at the sky and I see a dome and wonder if it is even possible to break through it…and if we did would we be in the home of God? And if it is…we can’t go there if we are alive. I wonder if the stars and “planets” are all under the dome closer to us than we think. At times I wonder if we live in what would be akin to a snow globe. I’ve never thought about going to Mars. Makes no sense to me.

    Nice painting. Get to work on that sky and road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks DawnMarie! Yes, it is amazing to think of that vast mysterious space just seperated from us by a thin veil of atmosphere.
      I was going to work more on this canvas but felt I had learned enough from it so tonight I recycled it for another lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

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