Fens nature reserve is fairly close to where I live, in the Midlands. There are several man made pools over there, which were dug out to keep the Stourbridge canal full in the days of canal transport.

The pools are now home to ducks, swans, coots, moorhens and an abundance of wildlife. Beyond the pools lies my favourite field. The field runs down the reserve from what appears to be the highest point. In early summer the field is white with Oxeye daisies, a sign that summer is here. In late summer, the tall grass that has taken over from the daisies, becomes dry and silvery in the sunlight, then in the evening as the sun begins to set, the whole field glows like gold. I have tried to capture this in a painting using acrylic. I wanted to recreate the feelings as I gazed over the field on a summer evening.

The colours I used for the field were:Acrylic painting of a summer evening at Fens Nature Reserve

Cadmium yellow
Raw sienna
Burnt sienna
Cadmium orange
Yellow ochre
Burnt umber
Naples yellow
White

Most of these were Abstract innovated acrylics by Sennelier. They come in handy pouches, which enables you to get every last bit of paint out. It’s lovely paint. The only problem I’ve found is that the neck at the top of the pouch, which houses the cap, is quite long, so the paint seems to get very thick there making it hard to squeeze out. I suppose for someone using the paint more frequently, this would not be a problem.

For the painting process i used a palette knife to create the effects of grass, dragging the paint downwards with the knife in a horizontal position. Because the paint is thick, it makes it possible to push the knife up and down in a cutting action before it dries to create the appearance and texture of the blades of grass.

Prior to this painting I produced a very simple pencil sketch. This led to a more detailed sketch using oil pastels. The beauty of using these, is that they can be scratched into to reveal the texture of the grass. This image, showing the Fens field in oil pastels, has been taken from my sketchbook.

Oil pastel sketch of the field at Fens Nature Reserve

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Recreating my favourite field with acrylic paint

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