"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting there is half the Fun.

"Sunlight in the Valley"
By James Swanson/ Travelers Geoff and Vivien
18"x 24" Oil on Panel

Watch the Journey of this painting.

Lights, Camera, and Action - One of my favorite movies when I was growing up was " How Green was My Valley".

Seen it? Well it was about a wonderful family of coal miners in Wales, England and there struggles to survive and stay together. It stared Maureen O'Hara, Walter Pidgeon, and a young Roddy McDowell. It had some beautiful scenery in it and I always wanted to see that area because of that film. It's a great movie, and you should take a look when you get a chance.

Travelers Geoff and Vivien's Tent
that they stay in on their walks.

Well, our next set of Travelers Geoff and Vivien have helped me see Wales, from a whole different point of view than the movie did. They are what you call Hillwalkers. Hillwalking is sort of like hiking, but instead of following a path in the woods you follow one on top of hills and small mountains.

Foel-goch (01 Nov 2006__12:59:43)
All the photos are from Geoff and Vivien's
little 4-day walk, all rights reserved.

Travelers Geoff and Vivien have a wonderful web site v-g Backpacking in Britain where all their walks and trails can be seen. It's a very informative backpacking site with all the bells and whistles a walking traveler might need. They are also very good at photography and take great photos of where they have been.

Glyder Fawr summit area (02 Nov 2006__10:50:41)

Traveler Geoff and Vivien's Story: The photo was taken on the morning of the first day, at the top of the first very steep ascent of the walk, near the summit of Carnedd y Filiast on the western side of the valley. We pitched our tent for the night at Bwlch y Cywion.

This is the photo that they let me work from.

This is a fine spot for a pitch, a superb location with the cone of Y Garn directly ahead and the rocky buttresses of Tryfan above the waters of Llyn Ogwen. The feeling is just one of being independent and self-sufficient in one of the finest landscapes in Wales, with splendid views to enhance the spirit leave the baggage of modern life behind.

Early sunlight on Tryfan & Glyder Fach (02 Nov 2006__07:47:13)

Also the realization that such beautiful wilderness is very limited in this country and that we are fortunate to enjoy it while we are healthy and (reasonably!) fit.

The Painting Traveler Geoff and Vivien's "Sunlight in the Valley"- I came up with a new little topic for the painting series with this painting-places from books and movies that travelers have been. If you have been to a location like that let me know.

The Painting Sketch- a couple of things made me want to paint this photo. First, I loved the lighting. What a sight to wake up too. The green valley was in a perfect place for a good design. Second, was the great depth that I could feel and see in it.

This is the sketch of the painting on an 18"x 24" prepared wood panel.
This is a good size painting because I like this photo so much and wanted to do it justice.

The Palette for this painting, a lot of greens, browns and purples-put into puddles of color for easy and clean use.

I'm starting with my darkest dark to set up this painting. No other color in this painting will be as dark as these.

Next I moved on to the block-in of the mountain and mountains behind the mountains.

Artist Tip: Painting depth in a painting. A Painting friend of mine told me about a book " Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting" by John F. Carlson. In this book Mr. Carlson discusses the principal of air, and how to paint it. It's a pretty simple concept really- the closer something is to you, the less air there will be between you and the thing. And things farther away from you will have more air. Air doesn't have much of a color up close, but the farther things are away from you the more characteristics of the sky are taken on. Each level of depth adds more air to its self or more sky- kind of like curtains of layered air. The sky usually is bluish, so the farther things recede in space the bluer and lighter they will become. That's how I'm working in this painting with the mountains.

The skies turn to be blocked-in. Right now everything is getting a little muted. The thing with prepared panels is that they soak up the oil in the paint, and then the paint seems to dull down a bit. But all the color will all come back at the end when the finishing coats of Liquin or varnish are applied.

I'm reworking the sky and far back mountains so they blend together a touch more. I'm holding off on the valley knowing it's going to bring this creation to life when it's painted in.

End of Day 1 - I had to get this painting totally blocked in before I was done for the day. I've been waiting to put in the green valley until I made a few adjustments in the mountains. These photos of the painting are taken with the painting on the easel and don't do the painting or color justice. It's much more vibrant.

Day 2- Day 1 was a good start, but there are a few things these fresh eyes see that will need to be changed. I didn't like where the green valley was hitting the mountain. It seemed to create a line going across he painting. Some of the mountain colors are off a long with the sky and clouds.

A lot of clean up and color adjustments have been done, but still needs some more pop in areas.

Here I'm working on the foreground, trying to build more contrast there to bring it forward in the painting more, but at the same time not to let it take over the painting.

Finished painting- it's done pretty much, maybe a couple of adjustments later, but this is it. The colors in this piece are a lot richer than in these photos.

Details from the PaintingDone and Framed
"Sunlight in the Valley"
By James Swanson/ Travelers Geoff and Vivien
18"x 24" Oil on Panel

What a nice start to my first trip to the U.K. Geoff and Vivien have been most kind with the use of their pictures. So I would like to thank them here for all the bother I caused them. And to Geoff, who has been having a little foot problems I hope the injuries are behind you, and get back up on those mountains. And if anybody has a place they've been that falls into this topic of movies and book places- I'll except songs too- let me know here or at TheArtistAndTheTraveler.org

I'm going to be hitting the road here now and meet up with the next Traveler, until we meet again, Cheerio old chap.

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