The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fields of Gold... (and pink and blue and red and green)...

Hola Amigos!!

I am back from my trip to Spain, where I was lucky enough to spend my fortieth birthday.

I have had so many people asking me whether becoming forty bothers me.
It's an odd question really because what's the alternative? That doesn't bear thinking about, right?
Besides - it's just a number, and when I checked, on the morning of my birthday, everything appeared to be in the same place as was the day before. Phew!

The only thing that bothers me is that time is passing by so quickly and I want it to slow down! 

We had a lovely time in Spain. Aside from giving us the break we needed, it also gave me new inspiration!

As you know, landscapes are not my thing. Actually, I don't enjoy painting them at all.
That said - the landscapes in Spain were so different than what I see daily at home, that it gave me that little spark of inspiration that I needed.

The light in the Mediterranean is different somehow and as a result of this, the colours are pure and the shadows strong.

We stayed with friends who live amongst acres of farmland and there was a particular route cutting through the fields of wheat, straw, barley and such like, along which Paul and I walked everyday.

It was during one of these walks that it struck me just how many colours there where in what appeared at first glance to be simply gold.
In fact, as the hot, summer breeze swept through the golden fields I noticed that each stem revealed an abundance of colours; pinks, reds, greens, blues and golds.
Suddenly I could see just why Monet had depicted fields of straw in the many colours that he did.

Unfortunately, I only had a pencil with me...

© Sandra Busby. Graphite pencil

But still, because of the strong contrasts, it works nicely just as it is :0)


  1. Hi Sandra! Nice to hear you had a good time in Spain and that it gave you inspiration. I think you are right about making the trees dark as you see them. I love the composition and I am looking forward to see the painting!

  2. I think this is absolutely gorgeous. I really like the swaying movement in the grass and the light/dark contrasts of the buildings and trees is perfect. I think you're right to draw what you saw - whatever they tell us :)

  3. hii..Sanda

    Let me first give you loads of best wishes for your birthday.i am glad you take birthdays as 'just a no'.
    Now coming to your sketch,
    1)believe me you are a fabulous artist,because i have seen my self not working so hard on sketching a landscape which i am going to paint. i have just noted down the hard work.***** five stars for that.
    2) and about drawing what you see , i believe it implies to detail study works like still lives,portraits but when it comes to landscape the rules of paining which says to show distance you need to lower down the details and pale the color implies. it gives more natural look in landscapes..
    Anyways its my personal opinion,just give it a try.i am waiting eagerly to see the of luck

  4. I think this drawing is fantastic, I can't wait to see the painting. I like to use different medias to get the effect I want so I would use coloured pencil over the watercolour to detail all the grass at the front.

  5. I think you made well to paint what you see, rules are here to help us, not to oblige us! and your drawing is wonderful, Sandra! I usually make the meadows and grasses wet in wet, with more that one colour, eg a yellow, a blue and the merging of these two wet in wet... sometimes I use also burnt sienna, or quinacridone gold...
    What a marvellous way to spend your birthday: in Spain! Best wishes for your fortieth birthday, you are in our club finally! (you are right, time goes too fast for us, sigh...). Kisses! xx

  6. Welcome back Sandra, your sketch is simply fantastic, a very good preparation for the watercolor you have in mind. Ciao!

  7. This is a great drawing in its own right.

    Re - perspective/know/see why not do a series of small paintings - same pic different techniques?

  8. wow you are so good sandra! this is just amazing! welcome back, so glad you had a nice time! follow your instinct! whatever works for the eye and the first gut reaction is the rule i follow. for me personally, directions, rules and applied systems seem to get in the way of natural instinct of which you obviously have a great deal of. i say don't follow the rules, follow your heart!

  9. This is a fabulous sketch Sandra and I love the movement in that Barley. I agree about the tones. Great job.

  10. Wow, amazing!
    Dear Sandra, I liked this design, very good!
    The claroescuro's high point, not to mention the flawless finish. Amei!

  11. I say rules be danged. Art rules annoy me. I understand that they are there for a starting point, but they only take you so far and that's when you need to bend or break them. I LOVE the sketch with those dark pointy trees in the background. :) It's going to be so beautiful Sandra! I really love that large space of the barley field. Good move. :)

    My suggestion for the grasses is to first paint the warm colors you see, leaving space for the cool colors in the next layer. (I do this a lot with the skin tones in my portraits when I want a lovely shot of blue to show unadulterated with yellows or pinks) You can do this wet in to wet or dry whatever, as long as you've left some white space for the cools. Then when that's dry go back in with your cool colors. You probably already thought of this but just thought I'd throw my two cents in as I just did the exact same thing on a painting I'm going to be posting this Tuesday.

    I hope you had a fantastic Birthday! It sounds like it was a blast! And people asked me the same thing this year on my birthday because I turned 30. It's just a number right? No need to fuss! You are a gorgeous vibrant YOUNG woman. :):) *hugs*

  12. You've captured the Spanish light so greatly! Good sunday, Arianna

  13. So glad you had a great time :)
    Forget the number, it is just that - and not who you are.
    Lovely the movement in your sketch - and you can use both wet in wet and wet on dry without making mud. That's what I did with my "after Monet" and you get the gorgeous flow too :) Have fun trying!

  14. This is a smashing drawing. You already have lots of comments here but I thought I would add my 2p worth.

    Firstly I totally relate to your experience with the colours in nature, I too have experienced this recently (on the landscape part of my drawing course).

    I think a dark tree is going to be darker than lighter foliage nearby, but not as dark as the same tree close up because of the atmosphere in between...if that makes sense... Limiting the detail and simplifying the tones as you have done in the drawing has worked very well so i would go with that.

    As for the grass, I read once that the impressionists would lay in the dominant note of colour and then break this up by placing the other colours next to it in single strokes, without mixing to maintain vitality, and also that scanning across the grass is best for catching that colour rather than staring at it.

    Either way, trying to paint like the impressionists is a big ask. I personally would start with the mid tones until you have something, and then add the darkest and lightest notes to finish it.

    I would limit the palette and paint Alla Prima to get the same vitality you have in your drawing. That said, mud is usually the result of not getting the tonal relationships right, not from how you put the paint down. But I still think Alla Prima is best for vitality.

    Ok enough ranting from me...

    Good luck, and look forward to seeing it.


  15. Judy - Thank you! And I'm glad you agree about the trees remaining dark too :0)

    Michael - Thank you! I was hoping that I had managed to describe the breeze rushing throught the grass effectively, so I'm glad you noticed :0)

    U. Kalyani - Thank you so much for such a thoughtful comment! I am taking everything on board! I am really glad you like it :0)

    Cathy - What a good idea! Thank you very much! :0)

    Cristina - This is also very helpful advice! Thank you so much :0)

    BrandNewStudio - Thank you so much for visiting! I really appreciate your comment :0)

    Tito - Thank you so much! I am really glad you like it :0)

    Sue - Thank you! I'm glad you like it too! I was thinking of doing a watercolour and acrylic to see how different they come out :0)

  16. Suzanne - Thank you! And I agree that gut instict should play a bg part in art because if we all followed every rule it would get a tad boring and we would all be painting in the same way. I'm really glad you like the sketch :0)

    John - Thank you very much :0)

    Taio - Thank you very much for your comment :0)

    Antonio - Thgank you so much! I am very happy that you like it :0)

    Crystal - Thank you so much! I really appreciate your advice - it will be a big help I am sure!
    I get bored of rules to be honest and sometimes it feels good to just stick to what I want to do and rebel a little, lol! :0)

    Arianna - Thank you very much! :0)

    Pat - Thank you! Yes I remember your painting well! I think I will look at some of my books of the works of old masters to get some ideas too :0)

    James - I really appreciate such a thought provoking and wise comment. I really will take it all in, so thank you very much! Let's hope I can pull it off with out spoiling it :0)

  17. Your welcome! If you don't mind me saying, I think you could do with ''spoiling'' a few, you are a very careful worker but its good to throw caution to the wind sometimes and not be too precious... you'll be surprised, when you free it up a bit, at how well your subconscious manages to recall what you have learnt from your more careful studies.

    If it all goes wrong, you will still learn plenty.

    disclaimer: I reserve the right to not be blamed if it all goes wrong :D

    Have fun!

  18. sandra it's an excellent drawing in it's own right and reference to work from ... we have lots of cypress trees here they are so striking ...glad had a good time and found lots of inspiration .

    I'll be 37 in July and I too am noticing the time going by faster and faster.

    so, you spent some time in spain! how marvelous..especially as an artist. It's so true that getting away and seeing new things really adds that certain spark to our creativity. I would some day like to go to Italy...and do the visit family I've never even met yet.

    your sketch looks so inspiring. it makes me want to paint it too! I've been thinking of doing a piece for the feature wall in my livingroom...and I don't know whether to go Tuscan Landscape or closeup floral....time will tell. Maybe I'll wait to see how your colours emerge and go from there. so hurry up already!

    thanks for visiting with me....
    see you soon.

    ciao bella

    or should I say Hasta luego!

    Creative CArmelinA

  20. Hello Sandra

    It's very beautiful but needs some colour.

    Love William

  21. James - Guilty as charged, lol! Thank you, you are absolutely right :0)

  22. Jane - Thank you! I love those Cyprus Trees. They are one of the reasons why I chese this scene :0)

    Carmelina - Ooh, I'd go for a Tuscan landscape! Now I must get around to painting it, lol! I've been busy varnishing and framing my oil! :0)

  23. William - I will be painting it very soon my little Jam Roly-Poly with Custard :0)

  24. Wonderful post and beautiful sketch. I'm looking forward to the painting. Always paint what you see....Glad you had a good time on your vacation. I would love to visit Spain someday!

  25. Hmuxo - Thank you very much! :0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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