Whilst out exploring near where we live one March day, we found a lovely view of a lane with the trees in bud. There are many views like this one in Cornwall, and what made me want to paint this one was the promise of spring just ready to burst out. Also the I loved the composition of the lane curving through the painting, leading to who knows where, the rickety gate with glimpses of the rolling Cornish countryside beyond.
To start with I drew out the scene very accurately. I like to use photographs and any sketches I may have drawn as well as my memory when painting. I use a grid to help me scale up the drawing. It is so difficult to do this accurately by eye however experienced you are! In this case I just used 2 centre lines.
A detail of some of the intricate branches. You can see I've drawn the buds of the new leaves on the tips of the branches.
I started to lay down some colours at this stage. I worked on the sky first, then the hills in the background and then the path. It is important to work from the background forwards when painting in acrylics. I needed to work the sky first so that I could paint the branches of the trees over the top. It would have been a nightmare to paint it the other way around and paint the sky in between all those tiny branches!
As you can see, I was using thin layers of paint so that the background drawing could still be seen. I use Winsor and Newton Professional Acrylics which I prefer as they can be nice and translucent when thinned down and therefore lots of layers can be built up.
You can see here how I have built up the layers in the bush and the fields.
Next I started to work on the foreground on the left hand side. This needed to be quite a lot darker than the background to give the impression of being so much nearer. I also had to tackle all those intricate, little branches!
I started to build up the ivy on the tree trunks, again using lots of layering...
Although the foreground was dark, the foliage; ferns, lichen etc was still visible
Then I worked on the texture of the path. It was nice and gravelly which was rather satisfying to paint! I tried to put subtle shadows under the rocks to make them look 3 dimensional.
Then I started work on the right hand foreground, once again making sure that it was dark enough and building up the foliage layer by layer.
Finally I added the clumps of wild daffodils and the painting was done.
This is the professional photograph of it from which prints can be made...