I’ve been desperate to share photos of this recent commission with you. ‘Allotment Sunset’ has been a looming presence in the studio space for the past month or so, a physical construction challenge as well as an artistic compositional one. As the required size was too big for the regular frame kits (I’d normally construct something from the Gerstaecker range; very handy if you want to build a custom stretcher quickly) I built the frame from scratch here in the studio. Stretching the linen canvas then filled most of the floorspace… as I find it easiest to lay everything flat and pull it taught by hand.
The subject was an open landscape to the North of Basingstoke, with big skies that happened to catch particularly good sunsets over the tree line. There was a patchwork of allotments spread around the site, and it was Tim’s allotment that I went to visit to gather references (mostly photographs). I created the above composition to fill the requested 200 x 100 cm size, sketching in the different levels of raised beds that had been built into the slight slope of the garden. There were lovely dark wood obelisks too and a potting shed, although the beans and sweet peas hadn’t started growing properly on my visit. But Tim was great at sharing further photos as the garden changed, and we used a little artistic licence to make everything work from one viewpoint.
We agreed on the central focus of the garden gate, wildflowers in the foreground and rising murder of crows across the horizon. Plenty for me to get stuck into! It was a challenge of course, filling that much white space… but I trusted to the process that has served me so well over the years, using my acrylics to lay large areas of colour and returning to finer details using my line work. My most expressive pieces seem to evolve when I don’t have architecture to box everything in and divide up the canvas. Despite the strong garden structures, I think that’s the case again here.
I tried to get some time lapse footage of the scene as it came together, but it’s not quite as clear as I’d like it. Again, the size made it hard to stand back from and capture. There were also sections that had to be layered and adjusted… which is not always the case with my work. Still, the video is below if you’re curious! It also wasn’t possible to get the painting up on the studio wall for a photo. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some more pictures once it’s safely installed in it’s new home.
Overall I’m really pleased with how ‘Allotment Sunset’ turned out. It’s a big painterly piece and I enjoyed the opportunity to lose myself in it. Huge thank you to Tim for commissioning this and setting me such a challenge! If you’re interested in a painting like this commission drop me a line; or have a little browse at my private commission guide. You can find more #commission examples here on the blog and watch more of my time-lapse and travel videos over on my Youtube channel.