I’ve managed to grab a small handful of outdoor sessions recently and tried to take advantage of the decent light/sunshine we’ve had over the last couple of weekends. It certainly makes all the difference when the sun comes out at this time of year, especially in rural landscapes. Most of the leaves have dropped now and the landscape has veered into winter mode.

I enjoyed this one on Saturday, painted at about 11am for a couple of hours on the edge of Ravenstone, a nice Northamptonshire village with sandstone cottages that glow when lit by the low winter sun. I was conscious of the dangers of the ‘chocolate box’ cottage scene and the raking shadows provided enough abstract interest to make it worth a shot. I really wanted to nail the warmth of the light contrasted against the cool shadows and had to focus hard to manage the tones. The gable end of the house was fully lit by the sun buy when you compare the tone with the window sills it’s lower in tone than you’d perhaps expect. The central telegraph pole was darker at the top and the one on the right was lighter, offering a bit of counterchange. Nice little puzzles to solve as you go along. I liked the dark punch of the shadow side of the roof and a post van drove up and parked on the drive at one point so I grabbed it as a nice little shot of colour.

‘Late morning winter light, Ravenstone’ – 12×16 in – oil on board
(click image to enlarge)
Another one from Northamptonshire, this time the village of Everdon. I had less time with this one as it was about 1:30pm and the light was shifing much faster than I imagined. Within minutes of starting the shadows started to creep up the front of ‘The Plough’. Again, I wanted to try and capture the sense of light and the colours contrasting against the shadows. The building really was quite a strong orange/yellow. Interesting how the wall on the right, although in shadow, had a fair bit of warmth coming through and I was conscious of not ending up with a muddy mush by mixing the warm/cool transitions too much.
‘The Plough, afternoon light (Everdon)’ – 9x10in – oil on board