Two ‘jam-jar’ paintings – and calendars

By Sally Pudney on 16th October 2020

Last time I went to the field I brought back rosehips and oak twigs, which now feature in two tiny paintings – just 30cm square.

Essex Field: September Rosehips

Essex Field: September Acorns

They are both in Wilkin & Sons Ltd of Tiptree jam-jars. The rosehips in Little Scarlet, which seemed appropriate, and the acorns in an Orange & Tangerine marmalade jar!

This morning I went over to my printers, Point Graphics Ltd in Maldon to collect my newly printed calendars for 2021. It is called East Anglian Coast and Countryside. It features paintings from two of my painting series from last year, On the Edge: The North Sea, and Summer . . . 

I am delighted with how they have turned out. As always, the colour reproduction is spot on! They will be going in my website shop in the next day or two priced £18.00 which includes free postage and packing to any UK address.

In my Studio: I will be making my October farm visit when the weather brightens up and starting my Essex Field: October painting. In the meantime I am starting an Autumn . . . mini series of small paintings. I think they will be Autumn in the Woods, Autumn in the Field, Autumn in the Orchard and Autumn on the Allotments – but this could change! This is the Autumn equivalent of the Summer . . .  series I did last year, and will also be made into a pack of greetings cards when I have finished all four paintings.

Covid news – bad news – You may have heard that Essex has just been moved to Tier 2 of the Covid restrictions starting from midnight tonight. There is not a tremendous number of cases here at present, but apparently there is concern that the number of cases is rising very rapidly. The main impact of this is that one is not permitted to meet with anyone from another household indoors. This means, of course, that unless the county reverts to Tier 1 very swiftly, which does not seem likely, I will be unable to hold my November Open Studio event, as that involves people coming into my house. I shall organise another online week, as I did in the summer – not the same but the best I can do at present. I really miss not being able to talk to all you lovely visitors, and tell you the stories behind my work.

We must just hope for better times next year. Stay safe and well! 🙂


Essex Field: September in stages

By Sally Pudney on 23rd September 2020

While I was painting my September picture of the field I took some photos of various stages as it developed. I haven’t done this for ages, but I thought it might be of interest to see how the painting builds up!

I started with a board 45cm square, primed with three coats of Daler Rowney Acrylic Gesso Primer. When this was dry the first thing I did was draw a few key elements on – the horizon, the position of the big tree – with a hard 5H pencil. A softer pencil will smudge off into the paint.

The first paint to be applied is always the sky. A mix of Cerulean Blue Chromium and Cobalt Blue with Titanium White – I use Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic, and Golden Acrylic. Much of the sky will be covered by leaves, but tiny bits will show through and it is important that they are all an appropriate colour for their position and that they don’t look as though they’ve been added later!

Next I painted in the distant hedge between Martins field and How Hill, and the woods in the far distance. This was varied mixtures of Payne’s Grey, Permanent Sap Green, Jackson’s Primrose Yellow and Titanium White. I also added some background colour for the field – Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna with lots of Titanium White – and the grassy field margin – Permanent Sap Green and Jackson’s Primrose Yellow. At this stage I also adjusted the shape of the tree trunk and the position of the foreground post.

Next came some background colour for the tree trunk – a mix of Burnt Sienna and Indanthrene Blue. I wanted to make it too dark at this stage so that I could add lighted coloured layers over the top and scratch through, to get the effect of the deeply fissured bark. I also put some background colour on the foliage to the left of the tree with varying mixes of Indanthrene Blue, Permanent Sap Green, Lemon Yellow and Jackson’s Primrose Yellow. This was all applied with a piece of sponge. Again, it was deliberately too dark at this stage.

I continued to add the foliage on and around the tree, introducing more Lemon Yellow, and Yellow Ochre into the mixes, and using both sponge and small, fairly ruined brushes which I keep for this purpose! They give a nice random mark which can imitate the random look of leaves.

In the foreground I used a dark mix of Indanthrene Blue and Burnt Sienna to put in the darker shadows in the foliage, and scratched through it while still wet to indicate thin stems catching the light. Once this was dry I added various mixes of Yellow Ochre, Titanium White, Olive Green and Nickel Azo Yellow for the rest of the jumble of foreground foliage, scratching and adding little touches of oil pastel over the top once the paint was dry. I also adjusted the tree trunk colour, with lighter mixes which included some Olive Green, and when this was dry lightly touched in some highlights with a pale green oil pastel. I lightened the foliage on the far left and also on the branches at the top of the picture.

Using a ‘sword’ brush and a dark mix of Indanthrene Blue and Burnt Sienna I painted in the thin saplings on the right, and then sponged in some sparse dark leaves on these.

At this stage I took the painting inside the house and had a good long look at it. I came up with a few things I wanted to alter: get rid of the post in the field – it draws the eye in a distracting way; add some lighter foliage to the saplings to indicate the afternoon sun catching them; lighten the foliage on the left of the tree trunk – again!; reduce the light area on the immediate left of the tree trunk and get rid of that odd dark spot on the very edge of the picture; emphasise the shadow cast on the main trunk by the small branches; clarify the post in the bottom left corner; and emphasis the branch coming out of the main trunk high on the left.

So I worked my way through these alterations, and the painting was finished. The photo of the painting below was taken in very good light, whereas the ones above were taken on the easel in my studio, usually at the end of the afternoon when I finished working, so that accounts for some of the changes!

I hope that was interesting!

And finally, the good news is that my builders are back today and are fitting the door as I write this! Things are looking up!

Hope you’re all OK and having a good week. 🙂


Essex Field: September and Snippings

By Sally Pudney on 22nd September 2020

Just finished this morning – here’s the ninth painting in my Twelve Months in an Essex Field series.

Essex Field: September

I went through the metal kissing gate in the corner of the field by the railway bridge, and walked down the edge of the neighbouring field for a few yards. I really liked the view looking through the field boundary towards my field, with this wonderful old oak tree marking the boundary.

I actually took a series of photos of this painting while I was painting it, showing the different stages as it developed. I haven’t done that for a while! I’ll post them soon in my next post when I’ve got them off my camera . . . in case you are interested.

The snippings this month were all rosehips from dog roses and field roses growing in the hedge alongside the railway cutting. This was a really nice one to do with all the shiny clusters of hips.

They are in a jam-jar from Wilkins & Sons at Tiptree – as all the snippings drawings are.  Little Scarlet this time, which seemed particularly appropriate . . . .

Someone asked the other day whether these drawings are charcoal – no, I actually do them with a propelling (mechanical) pencil with 2B leads in it, onto Bockingford watercolour paper, and they are all 18cm (7 inches) square. When I’ve finished them all in December I shall re-photograph them all in the same light, and have a set of cards printed. The images will also probably be used for a set of coasters. The original drawings – or some of them, anyway! – will be mounted and framed.

It has been a beautiful sunny day here for the Autumn Equinox. I went down to the Sentinel Gallery this afternoon to a show of wildlife art. Richard Allen, whom some of you will remember from the Lexden Arts Festival days, was exhibiting his work, and I was delighted to have the chance of buying the first in the edition of his new badger print. It will hang in my new extension – if it is ever finished . . .

Also exhibiting was Brin Edwards, who I was so pleased to meet! Brin is showing with us at our (postponed) Anglian Arts Project exhibition at the Naze centre, and although we have exchanged emails I had never actually met him. The show is on until Thursday, open 11-5, and is well worth seeing if you are in the area.

And on the subject of AAP –

Anglian Arts Project news: I have been liaising with the Naze Centre and they have agreed for us to hire their education room in September 2021, for the corresponding week to that which we would have had this year. So Saturday, 4th September to Saturday, 11th September. In the next few days I will be contacting all the artists that we had booked, and hoping they will all be able and willing to show their work with us next year.

Happy Autumn Equinoctial Wishes to you all! 🙂


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All images © Sally Pudney 2020