Aspiring to Realism

realistic oil painting of llyn y fan fach

I’m now in the final stages of my Llyn y Fan Fach panorama painting. I took it off the wall after a couple of weeks’ it drying and worked on the details. Original time estimates for completion went out the window, but I just felt the more detail I put in, the happier I was with it.

I think I’ve always aspired to realism as my painting style, but with this piece, I feel I’ve got closer than ever to achieving that. My earlier paintings from 2017-2018 have a somewhat looser style mainly brought about by my inexperience with the actual media, using painting mediums, colour mixing, values – and not to mention time.

But the hours I’ve put in painting since the start of the year have taught me so much – mainly through trial and error. I feel I’ve come a long way towards being where I want to be with my style. Painting in oils also suits me immensely, especially as I squeeze my painting into relatively short sessions around a full-time day job. Working like this with acrylics would be extremely challenging.

My plans for how I’m going to approach future paintings are now a lot clearer in my mind. I’m more knowledgeable about which colours to use where, and how they’ll work with each other. I’m detecting patterns in the painting process – becoming familiar with phenomenons such as the ‘ugly stage’ and knowing to accept it as part of the process rather than to lose heart. I seem to be developing a process!

There are several scenes I’ve desperately wanted to paint over the last few years. Each time I retreated in fear. I knew I just wasn’t ready. Well, now I do feel ready. This doesn’t mean I’ve fallen into a false sense of security – I know full well those pieces are going to be a challenge not only in their complexity but also the sheer amount of time I will need to put into them. Those paintings are going to take me even closer to the realism I aspire to and it’s a challenge I’m ready to accept.

Published by Chris

Chris Richards is a landscape artist based in the upper Swansea Valley village of Ystradgynlais.

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