Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Paintings Hatched from Drawings 2

Revisiting Chassignolles

In a previous post, I tried to give some examples of drawings becoming paintings, plus a photograph of the general site as it now is.

I included this photo (2013).

And the drawing I made at the place in 1995.

Today I had a look to see if I could find a snapshot of the painting I made from the drawing. I did find one, of very snapshot-ish quality, which I include below. 

I made the painting in 1996, a year after the drawing. It's 
30" x 40" (75x100cm).

The photo is quite blurry. Above the right-most edge of the barn on the right, you can just catch a glimpse of a moon. In the painting I expect it's a bit more evident.

Darkness at Noon

On a different subject, I received a message from a student today who has made some grisailles which turned out to be too dark. This is a common problem, not allowing for the darkening aspects of subsequent transparent layers. Often it comes from too much ultramarine in the mixture (with burnt umber), but more often from not treating the paint as if it were more like watercolor in the initial stages, keeping something in reserve for development as one goes along. There's no reason for the big bass drum to sound in the opening bars of your composition.

Here's an 8x10 (20x25cm) grisaille which I made one day in the studio, winter 2011. I'd been thinking about France, and I decided to make up a village scene that looked French. It was quite hurried, but it was just an exercise.

I include it here to show that a grisaille doesn't need to be dark and contrasty.


There are three weekend classes tentatively scheduled:

20-21 July
9-10 August
24-25 August

It's possible that everyone's too busy, and that the classes won't garner sufficient students. The July class needs a few more hearty souls. You can write to me (, or Sarajean Graham, The Keeper of the List (

I have no plans for classes after August. So, if you need to jump start your painting, you'll need to appear at one of the these three.



  1. I very much like that painting (love it!) - it being dusk gives it a lovely mood.
    Thank you for the tips and advice - I seem to have that problem too!

    1. Thanks, Jon. As you know, Gray said it best...

      The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
               The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
      The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
               And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

  2. Thanks again DOnald. Wonderful paintings! That pond in the moonlit scene: is it simply a compositional add-on? It certainly makes the scene work beautifully. I often fight with an uninteresting foreground that would benefit very much from the reflected sky given by that imaginary pond. Need to be braver!!

    1. Thanks, Bruce. When I went to find the site, two weeks ago, the small river (which is in the drawing and on the current map) was not evident. There is now a small copse, jammed up against a hill at the viewer's back, through which it may now flow. Perhaps what I saw in 1995 was a temporary inundation of the low-lying pasture.
      But, more to your question, I often will include water, or whatever else from my imagination, if it serves the composition or, more important, the intended mood of the painting.
      In this one, the flatness of the water adds additional support to the idea of the still evening.