Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Hambledon Hill

Over the last couple of weeks, as spring (hopefully) merges into summer, I've continued painting views of Hambledon Hill, a amazing Iron-age hill fort in north Dorset.

Hambledon is something of an enigma. It was constructed on a large hill, on a massive scale. It is also however quite elusive. From whichever direction you approach there are never any distant and complete panoramas - mostly glimpses through trees and gaps in the landscape.

It is not until you are at the foot of the hill itself that you begin to encompass its impressive scale.

The hill also shifts in tone and colour moment by moment, as clouds pass across the sun and shadows move - shortening or lengthening. These changes can be dramatic and inspiring, but present a real challenge to paint.

In preparing to paint the hill I have to first choose my spot, and then make decisions about whether to represent the hill's light/warm state, or dark/brooding alter-ego.

The weather has also been quite variable. The photograph in the middle above shows a painting that I completed almost entirely in pouring rain. I think the painting has captured the luminosity of the landscape and foliage as I look towards the hill through a veil of rain.

More pictures, availability and pricing, are on my website.


Tony Perrotta said...

Hi Harriet, I see that your ltest work at Hambledon was done on paper. Do you paint on paper often? I have tried gessoed watercolor paper myself,seems an Ok surface. What kind of paper are you using? Beautiful work as always.

Regards Tony

Harriet Barber said...

Hi Tony,
Lovely to hear from you
I like working on paper because of its smooth surface ; Its good for moving the paint around and wiping it back. Its ideal for fast painting and I am less precious about my work when its on paper, and ironically this can end up with a more successful painting for it. It offers a change from the textured grip you get from canvas.
As always I treat the paper with rabbit skin glue, followed by lead primer which is the same as how I prepare my canvases.
I paint on cartridge paper or mount card as that is what I have to hand. I was told once that "Its not what you paint on but how you prepare the ground that counts"
Watercolour paper is a good idea. I'll try sizing & priming that next time.
Best wishes,

Tony Perrotta said...

Hi Harriet, Love your last few posts. You never cease to amaze me.
On the paper, the watercolor paper has some tooth so its good that way, but with acrylic gesso I used it dries dull and flat, very very absorbant, too much so. I have tried oil primer and that is very slippery, cant seem to find a happy medium. I like paper for small studies, just tape it on a borad and good to go.