‘A Passing Storm’, The view from The Pepperpot on The Isle of Wight, by Julia Tanner
“A PASSING STORM” by Julia Tanner
This painting was inspired by the view from “The Pepperpot” on St Catherines Down on The Isle of Wight, looking over to the west of The Island, affectionately known as ‘The Back of The Wight’. We have been lucky enough to have taken many walks in this area and very often stood looking out to sea watching storms over The English Channel. They often pass The Island by, but on the odd occasion when we have been drenched the sun quickly comes out again – hence the title.
If you wish to walk up to The Pepperpot yourself and see the magnificent views, there is a free car park just up the hill from Blackgang Chine, on the road towards Niton. To find The Pepperpot you simply cross the road and climb the steps, then follow the well trodden path uphill. It’s quite steep and sometimes you have to navigate the cows but well worth the effort. From The Pepperpot you can carry on along the top of St Catherines Down to The Hoy Monument. In the summer there is often an ice cream van in the car park for a well earned treat after your walk!
I produced this painting using professional quality acrylic paints on a large stretched canvas. My main colour palette was Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Lemon Yellow and Yellow Ochre with the odd touch of Mars Black and Quinacridone Magenta.
STEP BY STEP
I don’t usually do any pre-drawing on a canvas, I just go straight in with paint. This is because I spend a lot of time pre-planning, visualising the completed painting in my head and working through images that I’ve recorded before I start. The most I might do is perhaps masking tape to give me a straight horizon if required. I always start with the sky and then work down the painting. I keep the colours paler to emphasise the distance and stronger in the foreground. For ‘A Passing Storm’ I wanted the sky to be very dramatic. I was painting on a large canvas from a high viewpoint on The Island so wanted to capture that feeling of space and distance.
I don’t move on to painting the land until I am happy with the sky as I find it easier to get the colour strength correct that way. For the land I firstly concentrated on placing all the details in the right place – hedges, field shapes, buildings etc. using colours that I could build up later. It’s really important to me to get this right, we often meet people at shows who live in the landscape that I’ve painted and I want to make sure that I’ve put their house in the right place!
BUILDING UP THE DETAIL
Then it was a question of using smaller and smaller brushes as I added more detail to the painting. When I was happy with the position of everything I started building up the colours, finishing by adding areas of light and shade. I lastly added sunlight onto the fields to balance the tones in the sky.
The last stage of a painting is the foreground flowers. I love to extend these upwards and partly cover some of the distant landscape, this gives the impression that the viewer is in the picture themselves and helps to unify the whole piece. Some of my flowers are created by ‘flicking’ the paint, I mask out the areas where I do not want it to land as it does have a habit of going everywhere! Once I think a painting is finished we will always hang it up in our house for a while and ‘live with it’ ourselves. That way I can tell whether I need to adjust anything before offering it for sale.
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