This picture is the result of doing some plein air painting at the wonderful Devil's Dyke in West Sussex last Wednesday with two other friends, Rich and Yvette. As you can imagine we had to work in between the showers but the dramatic lighting and cloud shapes got us all motivated to start painting and drawing although the combination of a developing bitterly cold wind and heavy sleety showers forced us in the end to give up for the day and in the case of Rich and I, we retired to the nearby pub for coffee and hot chocolate. In addition to the great lighting there was the added gift of the single ribbon-like field of rape in the perfect spot within the otherwise green landscape. I chose a moment when a patch of sunlight illuminated a small part of the yellow field as the cue for the painting to be set and proceeded with an acrylic painting which only serves now as a study for this larger more panoramic version in oil.
To emphasise the drama of the scene I have decided to paint it it in yet another orange/blue-green complementary axis as I want the final picture to be more than just a painted version of a photograph, I want it to look slightly more unreal and in slightly false colour. The first two days I have been pretty much using only a rag to apply the paint as I want the clouds and distant landscape to be soft and less defined. I will use brushes on the nearer fields and foreground so that the difference between the soft background and the more textural foreground will create a greater sense of distance.