French pastoral complete, and another in progress

We've had a lot of rain here this fall, and when it's not been raining, I've been trying to manage the parade of contractors who are working on the new studio . Unfortunately this means I've mostly missed the chance to capture the gorgeous fall colors en plein air. Well, it's a worthwhile tradeoff, I think. Meanwhile, I have the consolation of finally having finished a painting: 

"Pastoral, St. Germain de Bel Air",  Oil on Canvas, 20x24" (SOLD) ©Jennifer Young

"Pastoral, St. Germain de Bel Air",  Oil on Canvas, 20x24" (SOLD) ©Jennifer Young

I'm also just beginning to lay out a new composition, again of the beautiful part of Southwestern France I visited last spring. To you it may just look like a bunch of scribbles. But trust me, I'm sketching out a street view of Frayssinet, the village where I stayed. I'm attracted to the scene for the sheer beauty of the place, but also by the interesting cast shadow pattern of the afternoon light:

french village painting work in progress

WIP- Frayssinet, 24x30"

What I havedone here is just a pretty transparent wash to figure out my composition and the rhythm of the shadows. To do this I've used a mixture of Transparent Red Oxide and just a little Ultramarine Blue.  Transparent Red Oxide is the one earth color that has consistently made itself at home on my palette of late, and I'm finding it such a useful addition. For an underpainting it adds a warm glow, but unlike Cadmium Red light, it is beautifully transparent. It also lacks the high staining properties that Alizarin Crimson does so it is easier to make adjustments in the preliminary stages.