I recently (almost) completed my first forest painting. I’ve fallen in love with the Welsh forests since I’ve been down here. Brechfa, Crychan, Irfon, and Cwm Rhaeadr forests have become regular haunts, and I’ve still many yet to explore. Given my love of the Welsh forests and the vast collection of reference photos I’ve accumulated while walking their trails, I’m surprised I haven’t done one sooner.
It’s a step away from what I’ve painted previously. I’ve tended to paint sweeping scenes with big skies, and it actually took me a couple of hours into painting it for it to sink in that this was my first scene with no sky. Instead, it’s a more intimate, atmospheric scene which seems to be a lot more about how light falls rather than a grand vista.
With painting forest scenes, whilst I may not have vast layers of clouds to contend with, it does present its own challenges: A steady hand to paint the straight lines of the trees, a lot more attention to the lighting values, building up texture in the foliage, and getting the level of detail just right.
I’m now digging through my 100+ forest photos looking for my next inspiration.