‘Heather and Red Deer on Exmoor’. This oil painting commission was very personal. To help someone to remember his Granny and family farm on Exmoor. Paul asked for there to be lots of heather, windswept trees and possibly a Red Deer stag. However, he didn’t want the stag to be too prominent in the painting.
First working drawing
I already had taken some photographs of Red Deer that I could use. So that left sketching up a view out across Exmoor. We discussed whether his family farm was on the coast, with views out to sea or inland. The farm had been inland and his memories were of fields and moorland.
So a working drawing was sketched up, putting in all of the elements. This was approved before starting the painting. I did say that all that scribble in the foreground of the drawing would be heather in the finished picture.
Putting into the drawing the Red Deer more clearly.
Final pencil drawing.
Transferring onto the Canvas
I transferred the drawing onto the canvas using a grid that I drew over the drawing and then the canvas. Drawing the same shapes in each square. If there was a more complicated area, such as the deer. I just halved the squares in that area. The canvas got a coat of gesso before starting. I then put down a ‘thin’ coat of oil paint over everything. Particularly a dark violet colour in the foreground where the heather was going. Then it was just a question of working my way down the painting, starting with the sky, and adding the detail. I hope that Paul can sit back, contemplate it and remember his Gran.
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