Autumn Oak, Holt Farm
Throughout September I did 4 sessions with the Oak on the lawn. Waiting for the afternoon light and for it to slowly turn golden. This is the view from the opposite side of the oak to the Path to the Oak watercolour. I am sitting on the terrace next to the swimming pool to get a bit of height but you can only see the top of the lakeside poplars and not the lake itself.
From that spot on the terrace, turn to your left and you see this view of the Bronze garden. The water in the pool is tinted so makes for good reflections. Although I knew I wanted to paint the oak from here, I was waiting for autumn colour to arrive, so I did this painting first (in August).
Beyond the Birch grove, Holt FArm
Finding a quiet spot is not easy, particularly when the view you want is right on a narrow path in the birch grove. A glimpse of the cherry turning red between the white trunks of the paper-bark silver birches. There was only one spot where the path was just about wide enough for people to pass me. In order to get the light on either side of the tree trunks I used masking fluid to retain the white colour of the paper in this watercolour. Naturally peeling bark is a desired visual feature of these trees. The majority of visitors are garden lovers but all three times I painted in that area I was surprised to hear the sound of ripping. Somehow 3 mothers with toddlers had got the idea it was OK to strip the bark from the trees. (Yes I did say not to)
On some visits when rain was threatened I couldn't do oil painting so would do watercolours of the vegetable garden from under the cafe roof and enjoy a tea or coffee at the same time (did I mention cream teas?)
Should have left well enough alone
I started a very small 5x7" oil sketch of the autumn cherry tree in front of the silver birch grove in the hour or so left before garden closing time at Holt farm. I didn't feel it was finished so next visit I set up my paints again and took this snap before I started.
I spent about 5 more hours on it.
By the end I had a more detailed finished painting.
But when I compared it to this earlier snap I could see I prefered the first version. I had lost the freshness of handling and colour by over working the image.
It can be hard to know when you are finished. I need to think carefully about starting anew rather than keeping going.
trying to paint on top of a cliff in november