The Norfolk Paintings 2
The ebauche technique has, I think, changed my painting my painting style for the better. I did have plans for the glazing technique but as a method it is very tedious and long winded but I did not have a plan for direct painting. I just used to press on and on until I achieved a passable result and I was so consumed by the constant decision making that I did not have time to consider the important stuff like brush marks and pattern and colour and perhaps more importantly I was so busy attempting to maintain control of the paint and the overall painting that the end result often lost any fluidity.
There are several big decisions to be made
1 Do you need an imprimatura and if so what colour?
2 What colour should the ebauche be?
3 How tight or loose is the end result going to be?
I decided on a split imprimatura with the top half yellow to contrast with the sky and the bottom half red to contrast with the greens of the landscape. Constable used to prepare his boards in this manner before going into the fields to sketch. A minor decision was to put the horizon on the lower of the two golden section lines as I felt that the sky was the most important part of the finished work.
Figure 1 Imprimatura
I decided on a reddish brown ebauche again as a contrast to the greens in the landscape.
Figure 2 Ebauche
I then painted in the sky.
Figure 3 Sky complete
I then completed the painting.
Figure 4. Burnham mill sunset, oil on 60 x 50 cm board.
Figure 5 Tonal check
The finished painting has a wide range of tones and also a wide range of textures, in places the imprimatura and the ebauche show through in contrast to the thick impasto of the foreground road. If I had the painting to do over again I would bring the foreground field in with the ebauche, only because I now realise it would have been easier to judge the colour of the green.