Mid Winter Sky. 5x10 ? oil on linen panel. 2016
This is one of those little sketches that I have sitting around the studio (actually, I have a pile of them) that I occasionally pull out and use as a reference. It's not a painting that I think I will ever sell: not only is it kind of abstract, it's also an odd size.
A little study like this turns out to be incredibly useful when I get up to my elbows in paint on larger paintings. Having something like this at hand can help me quickly find solutions to similar painting problems.
When I created it I was trying out a technique of painting wet-on-wet into semi transparent layers. You can see that in the tree line. The idea was to add atmospheric effects and brings a bit of mystery to the painting. Before this point I always created this type of effect by scumbling over the top of dry, transparent darks.
The other interesting thing is the patch of light in the sky which was rendered with a single stroke of the painting knife. I've found that this is a very effective way to communicate drama in the sky. It creates just enough of a visual jolt. Trying to get the same effect by careful brushing-on of the paint rarely seems to work for me; it's very easy to overdo.