Sunday, 15 January 2012

Blakemere Moss

Blakemere Moss
Watercolour on Paper
24cm x 34cm (9.5" x 13.5")

Blakemere Moss is in Delamere Forrest near Chester. This is a view on a sunny but cold spring morning.

The Moss was originally wetland. It was drained in the 19th century, planted with trees and subsequently re-flooded in the late 1990s (see Wikipedia - Delamere Forest). It is an attractive area and a bit otherworldly because there are trees and the remains of trees emerging from the lake.

This picture is my second painting based on the design ideas from a John Lovett workshop. (see Studio Workshop). My objective for this picture was to create depth by using soft edges in the background and hard edges in the foreground. I stuck to my resolution to use thumbnail sketches to explore the subject and compose the picture.

Blakemere Moss - Thumbnail Sketches

My first decision was whether to use a landscape or a portrait format. I then experimented with the position of the horizon, the size of the far bank, the position and angle of the floating logs and the height and spacing of the foreground trees.

I’ve never got on with thumbnails in the past, but now I find them useful and enjoy drawing them. This is a beneficial side effect of the Daily Composition exercise from the Natural Way to Draw (see Daily Composition). I used to be too tentative with thumbnails, but now I dash them off quickly – 203 scribbly daily compositions have made all the difference.

As well as helping with the composition, the thumbnails serve as a rehearsal for the real drawing. By the time I start the painting I have already drawn the main elements half a dozen times, which makes starting the drawing less daunting.

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