Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Spring Morning in Capay Valley -- Oil on Linen

A Spring Morning in Capay Valley  12" x 36" oil on linen

In a previous post, I talked about painting a study of this beautiful scene in Capay Valley, not too far from Sacramento.  My plan was to paint a diptych for the final version.  During the study, I felt as though the left hand side of the painting needed more interest - particularly in a diptych - and so I painted in a wooden entry gate.  It did add interest and I liked the result.

However, I recently decided to do a single elongated canvas for no particular reason other than I had the stretcher bars handy and I liked the scene.  I continued with the plan of adding a gate at the left side during the start of the painting, but as I progressed I felt less and less strongly about the need to do so, particularly given that I was back to a single canvas.  In the end, I laid in the grove of trees at the left with a palette knife and then pushed the paint around with a stiff bristle brush trying to get a lot of texture.  I also added shadows to the left to add "weight" and balance and also to move the eye to the lighter areas of the painting.  I think it works OK.  The texture definitely adds interest and the painting seems balanced to me.  When I do the diptych version, I'll reconsider the gate.

This is oil on oil primed classen's linen.  It's the first time I've used this particular brand.  It isn't hard to see why it is so popular.  The texture is just right and the paint stays on the surface of the oil priming beautifully.  Eventually I will have to re-stretch this painting.  I did not have a center brace for the stretcher bars and the inexpensive brand I used has no provision for one.  As a result, the stretching process bowed the stretcher bars along the 36" width. I'll order some good quality bars with a center brace and redo it when the paint drys, which is going to be a little while!

My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art


  1. Your earlier discussion about this scene and it's possibilities was interesting.
    I like the unity and the way you have worked this canvas, especially the shadows in the left foreground

  2. Hi Neil, I have definitely spent more time planning this painting than is typical for me. It's a good habit to cultivate, however. In this painting I used Kathleen Dumphy's palette, which is four colors plus a gray and a white. I believe that has a lot to do with the 'unity' in the painting. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. I enjoyed looking through your paintings and reading the background you provide. Good work!

  4. Thank you Sage for stopping by and spending a little while. And the best part about your visit is that I now know about your blog! (And wow, I didn't think ANYONE knew about "Lonely are the Brave". I once stumped Mick Martin and won a free copy of his movie guide book with that one!)