I have actually been doing a bit of painting in recent weeks. I just haven’t been doing any blogging.
This will fix that, at least for a while.
On a wonderfully hot day a few weeks ago, I jumped in the car and drove around aimlessly for a few hours. I headed down roads I’ve never been down before; out near Tambellup in the southern wheatbelt.
I ended up at the northern border of the Stirling Range National Park. It’s amazing how often I end up at the Stirlings despite having no plan to go there.
It was getting late when I saw this whitegum growing just inside a farm fenceline. There was room to park the car and to safely set up and paint. So here it is…
And here’s the location shot. As you can probably tell, I finished just before sunset.
I’d like to do a bigger studio painting from this sketch – and I’ll have to decide then whether to still include the roll of rusty fencing wire. My gut feeling is it attracts too much attention to itself and I’d be better off with a few sheep instead.
Yesterday, I met up with the Albany Plein Air Group and found a new place to paint – at the old Albany Railway Station. I’ve wanted to paint here for a long time but on the one or two occasions when I’ve checked it out, there’s been no subject matter that interested me. But yesterday there was a freight train parked in the perfect position and in good morning light so I set up the easel and got to work.
I began by snapping a few photos, because there was some cloud around and it was likely to get worse before it got better, so I wanted a little “insurance”. Then I did a quick pencil sketch to get the main shapes and tones in my head.
After a quick chat with an inquisitive engineer who told me the train would be staying put for a couple of hours, I set to work on my painting.
Less than five minutes in, another train arrived at the freight yard – and stopped. And this was my view for the next half hour…
There was no moving to a better position to regain my view as these trains are well over 500m long and I couldn’t see either end from where I stood. (Looking at it now, I could probably have done a new painting of this scene!)
So I continued painting using my sketch, the small image on my camera’s LCD screen and my memory. And things progressed surprisingly well.
Eventually the train moved on and I could see again. Things had changed a little – and the clouds were being…clouds, but I had enough information to get the job done just before my subject train moved.
For my first-ever train painting, I’m pretty happy with it. I hope to do more if I can get the timing right and find decent places to stand.