I think this is possibly one of my favourite pieces from the trip to Sennen. The reason being that it seems to get to the ‘essence’ of the subject with minimal fuss. I feel as though I really connected with moment and the painting (for me anyway) encapsulates the experience of being there. Much of the foreground sand is actually the colour of the ground I painted on and I like the slightly unfinished effect. I’m hoping to do a larger version of this in the studio with the explicit intention of trying to retain that fleeting effect and not labouring the surface. It will be interesting to see how it pans out as it will no doubt develop a life/presence of it’s own. The marks will be different and appropriate to the revised scale. I painted this one alongside Tim King in the afternoon sun and enjoyed every minute of it!
‘High sun at Sennen’, 13x10in, oil on board
I also did three acrylics on location where I felt the subject lent itself to a change of medium. There’s something about the area around Pendeen and similiar cliffscapes that make me inclined to favour using acrylics on occasions. I find I can build up the rocks and sea with thin glazes worked over with more opaque marks. This seems to give the darker, shadowy areas a bit more life and energy. Up on the cliffs I like to use acrylics on primed mount card attached to an MDF board. I sit on a camping stool and have the board on the grasss in front of me, propped at a slight angle to avoid glare etc. I use Winsor and Newton slow drying gel which is essential in the absence of a ‘stay wet’ palette which I’m not a fan of. I also add Winsor and Newton flow improver to the water I use to thin the paint for ‘glazing’. This ensures the richness of the thinned colour is retained and doesn’t go slightly chalky (as I find happens with just plain water).
‘Morning sun, Botallack’, 12x16in, acrylic on card
‘The Enys from Pendeen cliff ‘, 16x20in, acrylic on card
‘Looking down at The Enys’, 14x18in, acrylic on card
When using the acrylics I tend to work slightlly larger and more vigorously. I still have the same sort of timeframe, around 1.5 hours, before the light has changed too much. As they’re bigger, I try to get the essentials down as much as I can but it meant they needed a bit of tidying up and resolving back in the studio afterwards. I didn’t want to fiddle too much though as unlike oils, once a mark is down it dries quickly and the underliying location work would be lost. With this in mind, the paintings are resolved to the extent where the gaps are filled in and any oversights corrected as opposed to taking the work in another direction. I’ll save that sort of thing for any new versions I might to do from a location piece.
Finally, a couple of small studies done on the more overcast days when I thought it might be worth using some of the colours offered by the wild flowers
‘Wild flowers, Cot Valley’ – 6x8in, oil on board
‘Tree, gorse, bluebells and sea’ – 10x8in, oil on board