Project 38 – Country Farm House
I started with a basic outline drawing and made sure that the path was much wider in the foreground, getting narrower as it goes away. This is your recession.
The sky was next, a fairly simple one. I prewet the whole of the sky area using my 1 1/2 flat washbrush. Pop in a little bit of well-watered yellow ochre just at the bottom bit of the sky followed by ultramarine blue from the top, coming all the way down. Then I washed and squeezed out my brush and sucked out a few big clouds. Importantly let this dry totally before moving on to the next stage.
Now with my 3/4 in flat washbrush, and a mixture of ultramarine blue and alizarin, well watered, I filled in that distant hill. Then I washed and squeezed out the brush and sucked out touches of colour here and there to give a little bit of undulation. Again, let this dry before moving on to the old barn. I changed to my no 8 round brush for this and with a mix of burnt sienna and a tiny touch of raw umber, filled in the two bits of roof. Add a touch more raw umber to the same mix, and just drag down the supporting posts. Whilst these dried, I moved over to the trees and with the same brush, dabbed on a little yellow ochre, just stipple it on. And then with the same stippling, a mixture of Hookers Green and burnt sienna, and then finally ultramarine blue mainly where the bushes meet the shed and at the base of the brushes. Importantly, all these colours are going on whilst the first one is still wet so that all the colours merge together. Now back to the shed, and still with the no 8 round brush, fill in the bits inside the shed between the posts with black. But as we know we should never use manufactured black. The black was made with a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.
The next stage was to put the base washes onto the main building. And using just water and no 8 round brush, I prewet the whole building but not the roof yet. And don’t try and go around bits such as the beams, just drop on the colours. firstly Charles Evans sand, then a few tiny touches of yellow ochre here and there, just drop them on. Then a touch of raw umber, here and there. Let all these colours merge together and let this dry before using the same process on the roof. But this time the colours are firstly yellow ochre followed by raw umber then burnt sienna and finally a few touches of ultramarine blue. Use exactly the same process and let all colours merge together. Now go back to the shed and with the same brush with a mixture of burnt umber and raw sienna, just do a few broken squiggly lines on the roof of the shed to indicate a few old tiles.
Once all this lot was totally dried, still using my no 8 round brush and using a mixture of raw umber with burnt sienna in it, I painted the dark side of the chimneys then put a lot more water into the same mix for the light side of the chimneys. Make another dark mix and with this and the same brush I did a few broken wiggly lines within the now dried roof to indicate a bit of tiling. Likewise on the chimneys to give the impression of a bit of brickwork and to highlight the end of the dormer windows. Now I changed to my no 3 rigger brush and the mix is raw umber with ultramarine blue to darken it. And this was for all the timber frame you see on the building. Back to my no 8 round brush, and a mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna to make a very dark blue, paint in the windows which is simply a dab leaving white between each dab to give the impression of a window frame. Now I changed to 3/4 in flat washbrush and prewet the whole of the wall. Start off by filling it in with Charles Evans sand, then while all sopping wet drop in yellow ochre to left hand/light side and on the darker side, drop on raw umber, a few touches of burnt sienna and then some ultramarine blue. Let the colours merge but notice how I have left a little bit of white paper on the top of the wall to help bring it forward from the mail building.
Next is to give the impression of a bit of stone work within the wall. A very simple process using my no 8 round brush and various tones of raw umber mixed with ultramarine blue and then just burnt sienna with plenty of water. Let those bits dry before carrying on to the ivy. And for this I used my no 8 round brush and I split this brush and dipped it into yellow ochre and just stippled on with the split brush. Then I followed on with the same process but with a mixture of Hookers Green and burnt sienna and the same again with the black mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. All of this is a fairly dry brush stroke technique.
Next is to put the shadow on everything we have done so far. For this I used my no 8 round brush and a mixture of ultramarine blue, alizarin crimson and burnt sienna. You are looking for a kind of dark aubergine colour. And with the mix at its strongest, I started off inside of each window, within the window across the top and down the left hand side. Also underneath the overhangs of the roof. Notice that very important diagonal shadow going up the roof from the chimney. Also the dormer windows cast a shadow on to the roof. The ivy itself will cast a shadow on the wall, as the post will cast a shadow on the wall. Once finished with the strong mix, put a lot more water into it and dab on the glaze on the dark side of the roof. Make sure that this is weak enough to be see-through.
Next is to paint the trees behind the building and it’s the same process as I used for the other trees in the distance, using my no 8 round brush and firstly yellow ochre followed by Hookers Green and burnt sienna mixed and finally just ultramarine blue. Paint very carefully around the building and look how these trees make the building stand out.
The penultimate stage is just big washes. Using my ¾ in flat brush, with simple horizontal strokes I filled in the path using firstly Charles Evans sand followed by a couple of strokes of yellow ochre and the same with light red. Now let this dry before using the same brush to fill in the grasses. Firstly a few liberal daubs of yellow ochre then while still wet, the same of Hookers Green mixed with a lot of yellow ochre. Leave some of the previous yellow ochre showing through here and there then create a bit of shape in the main bulk with your brush strokes. Also as the grass meets the wall, I flicked the brush upwards so the grass is coming up the wall slightly. Then, finally, with a tiny corner of the brush pop a little bit of grass coming down the centre of the path.
Now for the final stage. Still with ¾ in flat brush, and the same shadow mix that we used on the building, I put a tiny touch of shadow from the shed in the background across to the right hand side. Then invent something out of shot such as a tree to cast a big daub of shadow across the front of the painting but have this broken and dappled and also have it follow the contours of the ground. And that’s it. Hope you enjoy doing this one. It’s quite a characterful old painting.