Sunday, October 14, 2012

Out in the Field

A Pair of Beeches and a Sweet Chestnut

Yesterday found the Friday plein air class back at Oak Hill. We started out at 38 degrees, and managed to just get to 50 degrees by the time we stopped. This might not have been so daunting but we had a persistent breeze into the bargain.

Nonetheless, we're all hearty souls, and we painted on!

Here's a photo of the demonstration I did en grisaille (I guess it should be en brunaille, really), finally painting these two massive beech trees that I've known for some years. 

Somehow they've thrived, while being only a few feet from each other. They seem rather like an old couple, making allowances for each other.

Oil, canvas tinted with Old Holland transparent red oxide, 24"x18"

Oil, on a canvas tinted with Old Holland transparent red oxide.

During the Scottish workshop, I painted the tree below en plein air It's a 400-year old+ sweet chestnut, one of three remaining from an allee planted by the Augustinian canons, some fifty-odd years before the birth of Rembrandt.
Oil on linen mounted to panel, 18" x 15"

It's quite sketchy, but it brings me back immediately to the sense of ye wildwoode that these trees conjured up.  A bigger contrast to the peaceful majesty of the beech trees would be hard to imagine.

Behind are hazels, which grow from a base called a 'stool'. The canons would harvest them for poles, tool handles, etc., growing them as a crop. Soon new shoots would grow up from the stools, and in a few years there would more poles to harvest.

Paint well!

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