Weathered Elm

'Weather Elm'. Oil on gessoed card, 8" x 6"

‘Weather Elm’. Oil on gessoed card, 8″ x 6″

The old weathered Elm that is the subject of this painting, stands in the middle of a picturesque meadow where we walk the dogs most days. It is a monumental structure that goes more silvery with each passing year, and I’m sure that it has been struck by lightening on more than one occasion.

The day previous to my painting this scene, the evening sun glowed a warm orange and cast dreamy long shadows across the freshly mown grass, which lay in rows ready to be bailed for hay. I returned the next evening (yesterday), to try and capture something of what I felt in the moment.

The light was a little flatter on my return, and the shadows less defined. Occasional golden beams pushed through, and fleetingly lit up the bleached bark of the tree. I chased this effect a little and rushed to capture the ochre glow that bounced from it. Sophie sat close by to me throughout my painting, peacefully looking out over the meadow, gently protective of me as the occasional walker passed by.

When I got home, I couldn’t be bothered to clean up properly, so I wrapped up my brushes and put them in the freezer to stop them from drying out overnight. I hadn’t tried this before, but it worked. I remembered them this afternoon, and they duly cleaned up perfectly well. It’s something I will remember for future evening painting, as it’s a chore that sits in the back of my mind as the day wears on, and collapsing on the sofa seems further and further away.

This evening it rained, and when we walked the dogs through the meadow, the still green grass had been collected and bailed. I’m glad I didn’t procrastinate on the scene. I would have missed it.