Fresh Off My Easel: A New Sheep Painting Called “Heather Weather”

Looking at this painting and my recent W.I. Committee sheep painting, it would seem that my palette has undergone a shift into lilacs and purples, with warm undertones of magenta and orange. (Well, at least as far as my sheep paintings are concerned; I’ve also been painting sunflowers in strong yellows and black.)

Sheep Painting: "Heather Weather" by Marion Boddy-Evans
“Heather Weather”. 100x100cm

This detail is from the bottom right-hand corner.




Step-by-Step Photos: “The W.I. Committee” Sheep Painting in Progress

The starting point of a painting and the end point can sometimes be a fair distance apart. It’s most often because a painting takes a turn I decide to follow to see where it leads, knowing I can always go back to my original idea another time. So the painting that became “The W.I.* Committee” started with bright oranges/yellows and a row of sheep and ended with gentle purples and three sheep. These four photos show the progress:

Progress of The W.I. Committee Sheep Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans

* W.I. = Women’s Institute) and, yes, I do know in Scotland it’s the S.W.I.

I started with orange and yellows as the blocking in colours, the eliminate-the-white-of-the-canvas and establish-the-composition colours plus some phthalo turquoise, white and magenta. The orange of the sky encouraged to run by spraying it. It’s all a bit “pass-my-sunglasses” intense at the moment but it’s destined to be mostly hidden by subsequent layers.

Work in Progress of The W.I. Committee Sheep Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans
The end of the first round.
Dripping paint mixing detail
Use gravity and let the colours run and mix together. The hard part is not fiddling with it, and giving it sufficient time to dry.
Dripping paint mixing by Marion Boddy-Evans
Look closely and you can see some pencil lines of my minimal composition drawing.

Enter more phthalo turquoise. One of my current favourite colours, it’s a strong dark when used thickly, a sea blue-green when thin. In this round I was using it to establish darks in the foreground, and this is when the row of sheep got reduced to three. Why? I don’t know, it just felt right.

Work in Progress of The W.I. Committee Sheep Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans
The end of the second round.

I started getting entranced by the beautiful mixes of magenta with turquoise, white, orange and yellow, finding myself pulled towards lighter tones for once. Why? I could invent some philosophical statement about? the purples on the hills behind my studio at the moment and the low clouds of a mostly overcast day, but truly it’s simply? because at that moment I was enjoying those colours.

In this third photo the tones are still quite dark overall, but you can see where I’ve started adding light tones. This was a turning point in the direction the painting headed, and I knew it was destined to be more gentle than my other recent paintings, and not dominated by blue or green. And, subsequently, many of the comments I’ve had about it have started with “those are unusual colours for you”.

Work in Progress -- The W.I. Committee Sheep Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans
I love this stage, for me there’s a sense of Full Moon light about it, somehow, and I want to explore this more on another day as the final colours for a painting.

I left it overnight to dry thoroughly, then worked further ending up here (I realise that’s not much of a description of what I did; compare the two photos, they tell the story):

The W.I. Committee Sheep Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans
The finished painting. 100x100cm. “The W.I. Committee”. Sold.

Detail from The W.I. Committee Sheep Painting by Marion Boddy-Evans

Colours Used:
Cadmium orange
Cadmium yellow
Phthalo turquoise
Titanium white
Perylene Green/Atrament Black (same pigment, different brand names)

New Sheep Painting: Picnic at Talisker Bay

If I were to use art jargon, I’d says something like “this painting is informed by my repeated location work based around Talisker Bay“. What I’d mean was “this painting was created in my studio, based on the sketching I’ve done at Talisker Bay and all the sitting staring at the waves”. Given that we’ve had sunny weather all week, for once it can’t be said that I’ve “added sunshine” to the painting.

“Picnic at Talisker Bay”. 100x100cm.

I now need to do the essential but boring “admin” bits to this painting — the edges, the varnishing, the really good photograph (not just a snap on my phone) and the wire to hang it. But it’s sunny again, so maybe not today.

Two New (Big) Sheep Paintings

The last coat of varnish is drying on the second of two big sheep paintings — each 100x100cm — that I finished in October.?One is reserved (someone who asked for first option on my next sheep paintings, and now I’m arranging for her to see it in ‘real life’ not just a photo) and one that will probably be heading south with me next week when I set off to the Christmas fairs at York (Living North Christmas Fair at York Racecourse) and Glasgow (Country Living Christmas Fair at SECC).

Beside the Sea (Sheep Painting)
Beside the Sea
In my studio
A Stroll on the Beach (Sheep Painting)
A Stroll on the Beach
In my studio. Reserved.

New Sheep Painting: Watching Waves

I’ll be taking my latest big (100x100cm) sheep painting will be in Skyeworks Gallery today. It’s called “Watching Waves”, something I can contentedly do for hours.

Sheep Painting Watching Waves

As he is so fond of doing, studio cat Ghost helped me take a photo of the painting. (If you’re wondering where we were and the bits of grass in the photo: the painting’s resting in the doorway of my studio, Ghost is on the step, and I’m outside.) Ghost Cat and Sheep Painting Watching Waves

New Sheep Painting: “Coral Beach Picnic”

I’ve been wondering whether the time this sheep painting sat unfinished between Easter and now counts as part of the answer the question “How long did it take to paint?”. (This is something that gets asked fairly often, and because the answer is convoluted I tend to treat it more as a way into a conversation rather than directly answer it. Sometimes I reply with “how long is a piece of string”.)

I’d started this the same time as three sheep paintings others of the same size (“Summertime”, “After You”, and “Tea for Two”) which went to Skyeworks for Easter (photos here) but didn’t finish it in time and it sat in my studio neglected. In part it was because I’d made a good start and so I knew the next round with it would have the “don’t mess it up now” stress, which can be inhibiting. Having sold four large sheep paintings (two a few weeks ago, one last Friday and one on Saturday), I had tremendous incentive to finish it, which I now have. It still needs to dry for 24 hours, then varnishing, then it’ll be ready to be sent out into the big wide world.

Sheep Painting Coral Beach Picnic by Marion Boddy-Evans
100x100cm. “Coral Beach Picnic” Acrylic on canvas.

Here’s a close-up of one of the sheep, to give a sense of the layers and colours.
Detail from Sheep Painting: Coral Beach Picnic painting

Close-up of the sea and the texture paste “sand”.
Detail from Sheep Painting: Coral Beach Picnic painting

Detail from Sheep Painting: Coral Beach Picnic painting

What Happened in the Studio on Sunday

So when I did eventually head into my studio on Sunday after a relaxing start to the day, to face the little magenta canvas that awaited, this sequence of photos shows what happened to it.

A reminder this was the starting point:
Blank Magenta Canvas on My Easel

First, some background colours. Teal for the sky, simply because that was the nearest tube of blue. It makes interesting greens with cadmium yellow.
Step 2 Small Sheep Painting Sunshine

Then some more background colours and in the sky and on the sheep. Appears the weather in this painting is sunny showers.
Step 3 Small Sheep Painting Sunshine

Repeat, with pause to let layers dry a little.
Step 4 Small Sheep Painting Sunshine

Add a final layer of white to the sheep, and decide if it’s ready to join the flock. I think so, though might still add a little more black to the face.
Small Sheep Painting Sunshine

On My Easel on a Sunday Morning

This is what will be facing me when I head into my studio later, after a leisurely Sunday morning start: a small canvas with texture paste mixed with magenta, that will become a member of my flock of sheep paintings. Don’t know what the background will be yet, whether it’ll have a single-colour background or “weather”; it’s something I’ll decide when I get painting. In the one from earlier this week (photo at the bottom) the weather was sun-showers (read: wet but bright). Ideally I leave my studio at the end of a session with something ready for ‘next time’ as it makes it harder to procrastinate; not that it always works, of course.

Blank Magenta Canvas on My Easel

Small Sheep Painting Raining by Marion Boddy-Evans

Four (Big) Sheep Paintings for Easter

Four of my new (big) sheep paintings will be on display by Easter (next weekend). One will be at Inchmore Gallery near Inverness (along with Wodeland) and three at Skyeworks Gallery in Portree (along with Listening to Twigs Fall and Cross Currents). I have a hard time picking a favourite amongst these, and the choice of what went to Inchmore was made on size (it’s a slightly smaller canvas). Do post a comment and let me know which is your favourite, and why.

Sheep Painting: Summertime by Marion Boddy-Evans
At Skyeworks Gallery.
Sheep Painting: After You by Marion Boddy-Evans
After You.
At Skyeworks Gallery.
Sheep Painting: Tea for Two by Marion Boddy-Evans
SOLD. Tea for Two. 100x100cm.
Sheep Painting: Seaside Holiday by Marion Boddy-Evans
Seaside Holiday.
At Inchmore Gallery.