Monday, 4 February 2008


It was lovely and sunny and bright on my birthday on Friday, so went for a stroll round the village with my camera, as I want to do some local scenes either watercolour or pen and wash for printing. Today I have tackled the first one. I've actually put the tree and snowdrops closer to the church building to make an interesting foreground to the painting.
I used my cheap watercolours - St Petersburg or as they are now known WHITE KNIGHTS. My Sennelier were packed in the car and I couldnt be bothered to go get them! The WKs are excellent value with a lovely range of pure colours, very creamy and long lasting. I used oxide of chrome and a touch of sap green and turquoise blue for the grass. Then added burnt sienna to the sap green for the tree's darks, after laying on the first wash of raw sienna. The only other colour I used was violet Rose to help with the shadows on the church and on the thatch roof after a raw sienena first wash. Unfortunately, it was so bright I could not see the detail at the top of the thatch, which is a shame as I understand each thatcher uses his own unique pattern. I'll have another look next time I stroll down the hill and maybe add the design if it is interesting.
I photographed as I went along as I thought you might find it interesting to see its progression. I would not normally put in that dark shadow at the beginning but it was going to make or break the composition and I needed to know if it worked. I feel it gives the viewer the lay of the land with a typical grave yards lumps and bumps!! as well as taking your eye around the painting. I never had to touch it again. Finally I added more small branches and twigs and made them a little stronger in places. Also lifted some of the colour on the church as it was too warm in tone. I think the final cooler tone gives the feel of a bright winter's day.
Oh yes the paper was an expensive block I treated myself to for my South Africa trip and still have some sheets left. Loved painting on its smooth surface . Its Saunders Waterford 16 x 12 inches 100% cotton 300 gsm HP.


Robert A Vollrath said...

This is your best post yet.
As an artist this is what I want to see and read in a post.

Genine said...

this is beautiful! I really like the way you illustrated light and shadow!! The tree is wonderful too.

I was admiring some of you other paintings this morning and didn't have time to comment. Glad I found your blog!!

JaKo said...

I like your way of laying colors . And I like use of Yarka / White Nights colors , especially for their softness (I think it have something with mixing pigments with real honey ), too.
I like your blog !

Anita Davies said...

Joannie of all your works I love your churches the most. I've been dying to see what you did from your stroll on Friday...Lovely work.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

I'm getting quite excited, as I only opened my blog on 14th January and already have had over 200 visitors and 12 different artists from around the world commenting on my work. Its great having this opportunity to get feedback as you never know which painting has worked.

Thanks for your comments today and Genine and JaKo nice to meet you - I have popped over and commented on your blogs.

I agree Robert that for an artist the interesting blogs are those that tell you how the work was achieved, so decided to go down this route. I must say I fell in love with this Sanders Waterford paper when I was away last year - the smoothness for represent-
ational work is wonderful.

caseytoussaint said...

This is lovely. You inspire me to try White Nights when I see what you can do with them. And congratulations on your new blog!

Robert A Vollrath said...

I'm glad you're going down the route of telling how you do your work.

I like that your blog has a white background and a uncluttered look.

I've started to post art again on my blog after I finally figured out how to use my new scanner. My new blog art is inspired by your stain glass paintings.

I look forward to all your future posts. Your blog is my favorite art

Anonymous said...

If you ever make a widget of your blog I would like to put it on my blog page.

Robert A Vollrath said...

That above comment is me. I'm not sure what I did wrong.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Thanks for popping in Casey - I looked at your webpage and love the freedom of your watercolours
Fancy achieving such wonderful work as a sketch. What must your studio pieces be like?
Robert - whats a WIDGET? and how do I make it?

Robert A Vollrath said...

Google Widgetbox and click on Make a Bliget when you get to Widgetbox.

Look on the right side of my blog and you'll see two Bligets.

Endangered Truth
So Opinionated

A Bliget is a Blog Widget.

Your visitor counter is a Widget.

I think your blog is perfect the way it is. You don't need any Widgets on your blog. I simply want to promote my favorite blogs from around the world.

"JeanneG" said...

I really like this church painting. In my town we don't have churches with cemetaries. Just mortuaries with a chapel inside and lots of grounds for the graves. No above-ground markers either. It's nice to see the ones like yours.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Thanks for popping in with comment Jean. I am currently working on a local church ruin in oils, but it has the grave yard still in use judging from the dates on the grave stones. Will probably post it as a work in progress as I have remembered to photo it as it developed.

Margaret Ann said...

Beautiful, Joan. I love the airiness and the sense of tradition this piece gives me. Cemeteries here in Arizona are ofter stark,harsh,and raw-with little or no natural foliage to soften their purpose.

Your painting is lovely and the thoughts it evokes gives one comfort. Great job!