Sheep painting in oil

Updated: 17 Aug 2016

Sheep in the Shade on the Way to Ripley

Driving from Harrogate to Ripley one day, I caught a glimpse of some sheep in a field under a very distinctive tree as the road curved round. I had to stop, right there was a sheep painting! Getting out of the car – I always carry my camera with me – I discovered a lovely quintessential picture. The serene animals were in the shade under a tree which had either suffered one or more lightening strikes or had simply got so old it's branches were breaking. It had great character. Unfortunately I couldn't stay long so was not able to do more than a quick thumbnail sketch and take a couple of photographs for reference.

Oil painting composition change

3) I'm much happier with this though there is much still to resolve. If I'd made a small painting first, I'd have already resolved most of the things I find myself unhappy with at this stage. There's no wrong or right – some painters carefully plan a canvas and some don't. It simply means they spend longer on different stages of a painting.

Sheep painting in progress

2) You can see here that I'd blocked in all the colours and then decided the composition was not quite right. The tree was far too upright and the horizon too high so I began to outline some corrections.

Oil painting in progress

1) This is another painting I've started without doing a small study first and this could spell disaster. I may regret not having done my usual preparation.

The painting above is oil on a canvas which is 40.5cm x 40.5cm (16" x 16")

Some of my finished preliminary paintings