Working Backwards: progress of a painting

End of the Day Trees, sketch
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The painting ‘End of the Day Trees’ in the New English exhibition at the Mall Galleries until June 26th came into being from initial sketches made earlier this year in Suffolk.

As is my usual practice, oil and charcoal sketches were made on location.

End of the Day Trees, sketch 2
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End of the Day Trees, sketch 3
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End of the Day Trees, sketch 4
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End of the Day Trees, sketch 5
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Back in the studio

These direct responses were brought back to the studio in Whitstable to consider what, if anything, might be pulled together to make a studio work that might correspond to my feeling for this location.

Studies were made from the sketches, trialling what might or might not be a compelling composition.

End of the Day Trees, sketch 6
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Starting the painting

End of the Day Trees, sketch 7
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Work began on the painting with lean under painting establishing composition and colour. Fatter more impasto paint layers were built up over a couple of months.

End of the Day Trees, sketch 8
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End of the Day Trees, sketch 9
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End of the Day Trees, sketch 10
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11-suffolk-sheep-30-x-40-cm
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At one point I introduced sheep, but after a week or so changed my mind and painted them out.

End of the Day Trees
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The foreground was re-worked and simplified, and final warmer glazes built up to unify the painting and convey the light I was after.

I am, I suppose a hybrid painter: the plein air alla prima works are generally only the beginning of a painting: very necessary but not the end of the story. What interests me equally if not more is the different picture that can be told from using all the elements gathered outside to combine and correspond to a landscape of my own choosing and direction.

This and other works are on show at the Mall Galleries, London SW1 from 16th June – 26th June 2016.

See this painting in the New English Exhibition here

See all works by Sarah Spencer in this exhibition here