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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Visiting Northern England Series: Final Painting #1

After completing 21 small studies of my "Visiting Northern England" Series, I am ready to move on and begin painting the larger versions of my favorites. Choosing this first one was simply on impulse; when I painted it as an 8x10" I could hardly wait to see it big. I chose a 24x30" canvas which feels like a good size.
Since I have already figured out the composition, colors of paint and how I want to approach this piece, I decided to paint wet-on-wet, completing one section at a time, starting with the ewe's face.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Painting Chickens

There was one more subject that I was inspired to paint while in North Yorkshire. Chickens.

The White Hen
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
Lovely chickens, in all shapes and colors were roaming freely at times and adding more charm to my stay in the beautiful countryside of Northern England.

Resting Red Hen
8x10", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
I have always liked chickens, freshly laid eggs and roosters crowing in the morning to wake me up -  so this was a perfect situation for me.

White Rooster
8x10", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson

I used my palette knife and applied the paint in nice thick strokes. This rooster's tail, in particular, was fun to play with. With the knife I softened the edges of his feathers by dragging out the paint into the the background.

There will be more chickens to come!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Village Scape #3

The first time I saw Pateley Bridge I gasped in delight. It didn't seem real. Nestled along the River Nidd, this charming village caught my attention. Everywhere I looked there was something interesting to see and explore.

The colorful shops were so inviting; tea rooms, butchers, the bakery, a drug store, clothing stores, restaurants, pubs, art galleries, I loved it all.

Each one served a purpose and had its own personality.

On this snowy, February afternoon I was happy to walk to the village and pick up a few things at the little market/deli called Elliot's. It was cold and snowing a light, wet snow. I tucked my camera inside of my coat to keep it dry but it rarely stayed there. Taking off my right glove to manage my camera resulted in icy cold fingers but I didn't care. Everywhere I looked I felt compelled to take a photo and  imagined the day I would paint this.

Pateley Bridge, High Street
14x11", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
The wet street acted as a mirror, reflecting the colorful storefronts. Painting this scene brings back the memories so clearly. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Village/City Scape #2

Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself, "What is it about this scene that intrigues me? Why do I want to paint it?" If I am not strongly inspired to paint something, my enthusiasm will usually wane and then it is hard to keep going.  I have always been attracted to flower shops so that was a big part of it. I love all the color. Plus, this florist shop was established in 1903, so the building is old and full of character.
If you look at the lines of this composition, they are fairly simple; getting an accurate perspective was my first challenge

The repetition of the three awnings and windows is nice and once I painted the awnings blue they became more interesting. Along with a paint brush I began applying paint with a palette knife so that I had lots of paint to play with. The white lettering of the signs seemed necessary but I tried to downplay them a bit.

Once I added the interior colors in the windows I knew instantly that all those shapes and swirls of color were what attracted me to this project.  This little 10x8" canvas seemed very big to me now. There was so much detail to paint!

Wards the Florist
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
This attractive florist shop, Wards the Florist, is in York, a beautiful, ancient city full of history and well known for the York Minster, an amazing, large cathedral that is worth visiting.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Village Scape #1

First, it was the sheep of North Yorkshire that inspired me. Then, the incredibly interesting landscapes - so different from what I am used to here in Colorado. And now there are the villages; interesting, historical and picturesque. Each one I visited had its own personality and charm.

For my first "village scape" I chose this adorable tea room in Skipton that had some of my favorite things: my favorite color, red, in the chairs, the name, The Three Sheep Tea Rooms,  which reminds me of the sheep that grace the countryside and then of course they served English teas which I enjoy.

I used an oil paint, called Torrit Grey made by Gamblin, to paint in the initial shapes. (I also used it mixed with white for the background wall.)
The chairs were my first challenge - each facing a different direction.
After mixing my paints I blocked in all the general colors before I started in with the details. I worked from top to bottom.

The Three Sheep Tea Rooms
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
I absolutely love the detail in this painting: tea cups and saucers hanging in the window, the red and white pattern on the chairs, the upstairs window with customers inside, even the crack in the sidewalk was a pleasure to paint. My challenge was to keep myself from getting too tight and caught up with all of it. To remain loose, I applied more paint and then got out my palette knife to soften edges, push around the paint where it looked too stiff and just enjoy the textures I could create with it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Landscape Painting #6

This study depicts a portion of Nidderdale looking out from an upstairs bedroom window. The sky was overcast and the air was cold. It felt good to be inside.

I first painted this on a 8 3/4 x 5 3/4 inch panel that slips into the frame of my small box easel. The easel is such a convenient size (9 1/4 x 7 1/4"), I was able to set it on a window sill. I worked in acrylic for this initial study. My main concern was capturing the colors accurately.

Back here in my studio I used my little color study for reference and then also used a reference photo taken from that same window to repaint this scene on a 10 x 8" canvas. The colors that I applied on the small panel were so much more vivid that the colors in my reference photo; a good reminder of how much nicer (and more accurate) it is to paint from life.

One of my favorite parts of this late winter scene of the dale is the color of the grove of trees which contrast so well with the rich green of the hills.

The Farm In The Dale
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
I really had fun with my palette knife on this final layer. I switched off between the palette knife and paint brush to apply thick paint and soften the edges.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Landscape Painting #5

It was early morning. Everyone else in the house was still asleep.

I could hear a rooster crow; the sun was about to rise.

Grabbing my camera I headed to the empty bedroom that overlooks this scene behind the house. I opened the window and began taking shots of the beautiful Nidderdale morning unfolding before me.

Nidderdale Sunrise
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
As the sunlight touched the trees and buildings everything turned golden.

Painting this little study was a fun change for me. I worked quickly challenging myself to spend only the amount of time necessary to tell the story. When working from a photograph, I must remind myself to paint the colors the way I remember them, not necessarily the exact colors that are in the photograph. Once again I used a #4 filbert brush to block in the shapes of colors and then a #2 filbert to work in the details.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Visiting Northern England: Landscape Painting #4

The forty-five minute hike up to Guise Cliff from Glasshouses is well worth the effort. It is a beautiful rocky ledge of cliffs that overlooks one of the North Yorkshire dales.

 From this viewpoint one can see the villages, Glasshouses as well as Pateley Bridge.

My inspiration for this painting was the incredible contrast between the rocks and grasses in the foreground and the softness of the valley and adjacent hills.

After blocking in the main shapes and colors in the foreground, I decided to paint this portion from start to finish before moving on to the rest of the painting. The palette of foreground colors were in such contrast to the values of the background colors - so it was easier for me to concentrate on those first. Northern England is colorful even in winter; rich reds, rusts and golds were enhanced by the deep green grass and light patches of snow.
At this point I felt like I was laying down the colors of a beautiful patchwork quilt.
Guise Cliff
10x8", Oil on canvas
Rita Salazar Dickerson
It was mid afternoon. As I looked out below I could see several farms with sheep and cows in their pastures bordered by rustic stone fences. If you look further up the valley you can see the body of water called Gouthwaite Reservoir where flocks of birds gather.