Cabbages & Crab Apple


Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary, Saturday, 6th October, 2007

cabbages and apple

IT’S GOOD TO have a change of pictures. I’m trying out these three 8 inch square (20 x 20 cm) canvases on the wall in the lounge where, for the last ten years, we’ve had four acrylics of jars, jugs and vases of flowers.

As I’ve explained before, I’ve painted the edges of the canvases so that I don’t have to make the choice of a frame for each of them – I feel a frame is always a comment on the picture and I want these to be objects in their own right, not windows onto a scene. If I did go for a frame, I think I'd prefer a small, rectangular sectioned moulding in natural wood colour, just a slip of timber along the edges, not projecting above the surface of the picture more than quarter of an inch. I'm probably thinking of the edging of our raised vegetable beds.

I think the three work well together and I'd love to try 6 together . . . or 9! I'd like to paint a few more.

I spent another hour on the centre canvas of crab apples on Friday. Luckily there had been hardly any changes since I last sat by the tree on Monday. Rather than concentrate on the apples in isolation, I tried to relate them to the colour and tone of the background of leaves, twigs and hedge. The branch, in the midday sunlight seemed a dislocated subject and I struggled with it. I felt on firmer ground when I picked up on the red cabbage that I’d made a brief start with on Monday afternoon. Once I’d blocked in each of the leaves, I was able to add the detail of veins.

I was intending to continue adding detail until I’d brought it to the same level of finish as the green cabbage on the left but I think it works well as it is with some areas less defined.