Macdonald Farm half-sheetsPosted: May 31, 2017
I’ve been waiting for a good day to get out and paint some large size landscapes, and since the forecast was favourable this morning I drove out to McGill’s Macdonald Farm, car loaded with jugs of water, my French easel and some half sheets of watercolour paper. I managed to get two done in about four hours, and that felt pretty good.
The intention with these was to capture the feeling of the day — nothing too polished — more like really big, loose sketches on large paper. It was quite freeing to splash around on the paper. I didn’t even tape the sheets, just clipped them with bulldog clips at the corners and let them be. I wanted the paper to feel as free as I did, if that makes any sense.
The first painting was done at the end of a farm road where I paint often. I was really looking for a scene with some distance and depth, and these fields are more interesting in the spring before the corn comes up and there are still some unplanted areas. The sky was quite dramatic because of the unsettled weather that we’re having in Montreal this week. I tried to capture a bit of the turbulence in the clouds but wish I hadn’t gone back in with a second pass of wash on the sky. Skies in watercolour are always better when you can paint them all in one fresh wash.
I am happier with the way the sky came out on the second sheet I did. I didn’t make the same mistake of going back into the sky and this one retained its freshness. The cows were in the field so I added them in, although I’ve never painted cows before. The ones grazing move around more than I expected, and by the time I was ready to paint them they were all having a rest in the shade.
I haven’t painted on half sheets of watercolour in a long time. I find the format is often too wide for my compositions, but for open landscapes this size is ideal. Painted on Arches Cold Press 140 lb, 22″ x 15″.