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Using photographs for inspiration

I often use photographs as a starting point for a painting or a reminder of detail, colour etc, but I rarely 'copy' a photograph, as there doesn't seem to be much point! Sometimes though, photographs are really inspirational, like these which I spotted online - beautiful images of ponies, wildlife and snow on the fen.

The photographer, Julie May Smart has kindly allowed me to use them.

I've spent the day playing around with colour and pattern in my sketchbook, as well as drawing details of the ponies, deer etc. I love the effect of the falling snow making fantastic shapes and spots of light in front of the trees and vegetation in these photographs and tried capturing these effects in different ways with acrylic and ink. I also experimenting with printing different textures using materials around the studio. The colours I was looking at could all be mixed with my favourite standbys - Cerulean Blue, Burnt Sienna, Titanium White and perhaps a bit of Ultramarine to mix those lovely grey tones.

All of this was in between mending the guttering on my studio and trying to channel the water well away from the walls. All that torrential rain we've had has seeped inside and soaked the brick and concrete floors. I've never seen so much water in the garden before. Thank goodness for the stove in my studio!

I'm sure my sketches will find their way into a larger painting at some point, but for now I'm having fun experimenting with techniques and combining different media.

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